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SB Nation Reacts: Does Notre Dame value the Michigan State series?

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Michigan State v Notre Dame Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Michigan State Spartan fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.


National Voting Results

The start of every new season brings with it an often long list of new hires at head coach. Even with pandemic stricken athletic department budgets, the insane buyout circus was in full swing for all to see following the 2020 season (and during it for that matter). With all of the new hires, it begs the question for fans of which will succeed? Which will flop? And which will be the first one to get fired by the athletic director who was just singing his praises not long ago at his hiring?

So first up for fans in this week’s polling zeroed in on exactly that topic, asking:

Which new coach will make the biggest positive difference?

Take a bow Texas. Your decision to fire Tom Herman and hire Steve Sarkisian is much like the Michigan September quarterback Heisman race. You won the offseason. Now good luck winning on the actual football field, especially as it looks like Oklahoma actually remembered for this year that you need to play defense and it helps to have good players to do that when you get to the playoffs.

The full breakdown is:

  1. Steve Sarkisian 26%
  2. Gus Malzahn 15%
  3. Brent Bielema 14%
  4. Josh Heupel 12%
  5. Clark Lea 8%
  6. Lance Leipold 7%
  7. Shane Beamer 6%
  8. Bryan Harsin 5%
  9. Jedd Fisch 4%
  10. Andy Avalos 3%

What about one of the common metrics of measuring success: big time bowl games? Well the next question for fans focused in on that.

Which new coach will reach a New Year’s Six game first?

Again, Texas wins the day. I guess the talent Tom Herman stacked must have been the deciding factor, though Gus Malzahn at UCF seems intriguing and it’s not like Auburn is lacking the location for recruiting talent or the financial resources for quick success for Malzahn’s replacement, Bryan Harsin.

The full breakdown is:

  1. Sarkisian 46%
  2. Harsin 22%
  3. Malzahn 15%
  4. Avalos 5%
  5. Heupel 5%
  6. Bielema 2%
  7. Beamer 2%
  8. Fisch 1%
  9. Leipold 1%
  10. Lea .6%

Finally, the last question asked who is going to get canned first and enjoy those cushy buyout bucks while vying for the Nick Saban school for lost head coaches camp. There are probably a few candidates that may stand out in a normal year, but when Tennessee Volunteers fans gets a new head coach this offseason, is anyone surprised to see them make the list?

Who will be fired first?

Take a bow Vol Nation. You really are one of a kind out there.

The full breakdown is:

  1. Heupel 21%
  2. Bielema 15%
  3. Sarkisian 15%
  4. Harsin 14%
  5. Leipold 11%
  6. Beamer 9%
  7. Fisch 5%
  8. Lea 5%
  9. Malzahn 4%
  10. Avalos 1%

Bonus Notre Dame Section

Technically these results were from Notre Dame fans, but one question in particular is highly relevant for Michigan Sate fans. Asked which Big Ten program the Fighting Irish should play every year, the majority of fans did not pick what is arguably the most significant series among the options. Nor did they pick their nearest in-state rival. Instead they picked the Michigan Wolverines because, well, I haven’t a clue given I cannot name a single significant game in the series history.

Whereas against Michigan State, Notre Dame helped put the Spartans on the map in college football, helped get MSU into the Big Ten, played legendary games like the 10-10 game of the century tie in 1966, and even more recently had plenty of on the field controversies like planting flags during the John L. Smith years and absurd pass interference calls in 2013 that kept the Spartans out of the BCS title game in the end. But hey, good for the Fighting Irish for not caring about their historically significant rivals I guess.

Of course, it is all rather irrelevant given the nine game conference schedule makes it impossible for a Big Ten team to realistically schedule an annual game against a Power Five opponent like Notre Dame. Still, what do you think? Should Notre Dame fans better value the historical significance of the Michigan State series, or is the author just ignorant of the Michigan-Notre Dame series prior to the late 1990s? Do we as MSU fans even value the series anymore, or has Brian Kelly killed off any remaining ounce of warmth you once held for the Fighting Irish program?


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