I don't ever remember the week leading up to the Michigan State/Michigan football game lacking as much sizzle. One may have to go back to the 2006 season, when the roles of the two programs were completely reversed. Michigan was on its way to a #1 versus #2 collision with Ohio State, while MSU's season had spiraled out of control after giving away the Notre Dame game in a September monsoon at Spartan Stadium. John L. Smith was living up to his middle initial and facing the probability of losing his job. Nobody, outside of some Michigan fans, cared about the game.
The indifference was further exacerbated by the Detroit Tigers' great '06 baseball season. The day the Tigers defeated the Yankees to advance to the ALCS was the same day as the MSU/Michigan game. Michigan won a rather humdrum 31-13 game and I barely paid attention. I was too focused on the Tigers, and I have to thank the Tigers for giving me respite from that dreadful MSU football season.
I can't say I've minded the relative lack of angst and trash talk this week, but now on the eve of the game I'm a bit more nervous and restless than I was earlier this week. The 17 point spread is unnerving, as is the fact that hardly anyone is giving Michigan a chance. A team with nothing to lose is a dangerous team, and I imagine that the Wolverines are also tired of hearing how bad they are. To top off my slight feeling of trepidation, for the first time that I can remember in this rivalry, MSU has a lot to lose. Get beat by Michigan, and the next game with Ohio State loses a lot of luster, and a shot at the four team national championship playoff is shot.
So, I'm not quite ready to be talked off a ledge--I still think MSU finds a way to win this--but I am feeling some pre-game jitters.