First - for actual football analysis, I answered a few questions for SBNation Purdue blog Hammer and Rails here.
Are you here for fluff? Congratulations, you're in the right place. Since KJ, LVS and I are all going to be occupied this weekend, I figured I'd start a new feature to spark conversation called The Friday Five. It'll go up every Friday for the next couple weeks on a trial basis, let me know how you feel about it.
This week on the Friday Five - the top five MSU games (read: wins) of the past five years. You get #5 in the main page, the rest can be found after the jump.
#5 - MSU v. Northwestern, 2006
The first obligatory John L. Smith mention, and the greatest comeback in NCAA Division 1 history. I'll say this during the John L. years: he made you watch the entire game, due to the possibility of improbable comeback or much more probable collapse. It's also nice to see Drew Stanton in all his accurate, drunken-sailor scrambling glory.
#4 - MSU v. Wisconsin, 2008
This game was the Brett Swenson show, and was also proof that another team's coach could self-destruct in Spartan Stadium. Say what you want about John L. (and I have), but at least he never actively sabotaged MSU with 15-yard penalties and timeouts to set up game-winning field goals.
#3 - MSU v. Notre Dame, 2005
Yup, the flag planting makes an appearance, but not for that fact. This game is at number three because no one really expected Michigan State to stun a Notre Dame team that beat Michigan the previous week in Ann Arbor, and because many thought the Spartans turned a corner for the better after this game. Which they did - they pummeled Illinois 61-14. Of course reality soon kicked in, and they lost six out of their last seven games.
#2 - MSU v. UM, 2008
Not that this game was all that thrilling (Between MSU's botched field goals and the horrible officiating, this game's score should have been something like 41-17), but when you beat your main rival away for the first time in nearly two decades, it has to makes the list.
#1 - MSU v. PSU, 2007
Big game? Check, the Spartans needed a win to secure a bowl birth for the first time in four years. Exciting game? Check, Michigan State was trailing entering the second half, and staged a great comeback from 17 down to win (aided by Anthony Morelli throwing four straight incompletions to give MSU the ball for good). Meaningful game in the big picture? Check, as this was the first point in a long time where MSU didn't crumble under pressure, and proved it had the mental toughness to win a game it absolutely needed to. For those three reasons, that's your top MSU game in the past five years.
Any ones you think I missed? Obviously with the John L. era constituting more than half of this time frame, there's not going to be a lot of choices. You could make an argument for the 2008 Iowa game, but I don't see any other candidates at this point. Feel free to add your top five list in the comments.