Michigan State is coming into the 2014 season as the defending Big Ten Champions with a 10-game winning streak. They have not lost at home since November 2012. With a win in the 100th Rose Bowl and a preseason ranking in the top 10, the ceiling for MSU football is a National Championship, but where is the floor?
If the Spartans lose their first game, it will be the biggest disaster a Big Ten team has experienced in non-conference play since No. 5 Michigan lost to unranked Appalachian State in 2007.
The nothing-to-lose Jacksonville State Gamecocks get to christen the newly renovated Spartan Stadium with high hopes of shocking the world just like Appalachian State did in Ann Arbor, Mich. seven years ago. Head coach John Grass will be making his coaching debut for the Gamecocks, and Eli Jenkins will likely be leading the JSU offense at quarterback.
On the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, the stadium will be packed with fans anticipating the best season ever for Michigan State football and the atmosphere is sure to be electric. The 2014 season may very well be the season that Mark Dantonio takes the throne from Tom Izzo, completing the transition from a basketball school to football school for Michigan State, but if they choke in their cupcake game, that certainly will not happen.
Expect some chemistry issues, penalties, turnovers and other mistakes. But by the time the second quarter starts Connor Cook and the Spartans will have found their groove, they will roll to a convincing win.
Coincidentally, after the 2007 loss to Appalachian State, Michigan went on to lose to Oregon in their next game starting out 0-2. If Michigan State wants to have any chance to beat the Ducks in Eugene, Ore., they will first need to handle the Gamecocks in East Lansing.
The day after the Spartans take on Jacksonville State, the Wolverines will finally get another shot at Appalachian State. Michigan has much more to worry about in their opening game than Michigan State does.
Spartan Redzone: Bradley: 38-10 MSU | Dan: 48-13 MSU
The Pact: Fino: 31-7 MSU | Faith: | Austin: 34-10 MSU | Yales: 35-14 MSU
Lions Den: Higer: 42-6 MSU | Louis: 33-10 MSU
Bradley Allen is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports