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MSU Potluck: A Round of Predictions at Two James Distillery

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan has a long history with alcohol, primarily due to a lot of the same German immigrants that settled and built Wisconsin’s breweries landing here (shoutout to Great-Grandma Margaret, Ellis Island Class of ‘27). Michigan’s position as the Prohibition conduit between Canada and Al Capone’s Chicago HQ left behind a bit of a legacy, too; heavy enforcement of anti-distilling laws firmly stamped out the city’s hard liquor business for nearly a century.

Well, no more. As of 2013, spirits are again crafted in the Motor City, in the shadow of the under-restoration Michigan Central Station. For a confessedly disinterested bourbon consumer, I find that Grass Widow stacks up favorably with any Kentucky product I’ve tried in the same price range. I’m sure a few hundred comments telling me the whiskey I’m from is terrible are in order, though.

It’s Prefriday, so that means it’s prediction time. Most of you did expect a good 2015 from MSU...but a notable second-place finish behind a certain red and gray squad of hosers from down south. And we know how that turned out :D

Looking to this year, the schedule has a lot of good opponents, but it lines up OK. The noncon features an FCS appetizer, a difficult early trip to Notre Dame, and a midseason visit from BYU. Cross-divisional opponents are Wisconsin and Northwestern at home and a trip to Illinois, but most critically, division heavyweights Ohio State and Michigan are both coming to Spartan Stadium.

How do you see this year playing out for MSU?

Candystripes: I think the year is going to go very well for Sparty in 2016. I don’t think you’ll run the table (but then again, I don’t think anyone in the B1G is gonna run the table in 2016), but I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Indy going green again come Championship Week. Of course, some of that feeling is still 2015 momentum, so if you somehow have a serious fall off, you might fall into the Indiana range given how the schedule sets up for you.

Brian: I wouldn’t be shocked to see Michigan State record another double-digit victory season. Yeah, the Spartans lose a ton from last year, but as Mark Dantonio pointed out during the Big Ten Media days, with all the injuries the Spartans endured last season, they return a lot of players with starting experience. How that starting experience translates into being a full-time starter is yet to be seen, but it's not like the cupboard is bare in East Lansing. Whether they reach the ten-victory plateau or fall just short, all signs point to another successful season for Dantonio and the Spartans.

MNW: Mark Dantonio is some kind of wizard, and since Michigan State is this year’s sexy sleeper, I guess I’ll just hop on board. As of right now I actually have Sparty struggling to get the offense on track and solidify the defense, and @Notre Dame followed by hosting Wisconsin is a rough go.

What really could work nicely for the Spartans, though, is the mid-season stretch of @IU, BYU, Northwestern, and @Maryland. Build up a good head of steam there, and we could see Sparty right back up in the 10-2 range. I’m sticking with 9-3 (7-2) for the time being, and a loss to Michigan means we lose half our Spartan commentariat.

Creighton: I don’t see Sparty making another trip to Indianapolis this year, but then again I didn’t last year either. I think Michigan State’s floor coming into the season is somewhere around 8 wins, though if I were a betting man I’d put them at 9-10 wins. The 3 toughest games on the schedule are at Notre Dame, and home against Ohio State and Michigan. If they can steal just one win from that group, I imagine they’ll be favored in the rest of their contests. Take care of business there, and the Spartans are sitting pretty at 10-2.

Speth: I’m feeling 9-3. I don’t think you beat Notre Dame and Wisconsin back to back weeks, and I feel like you split with Michigan and OSU. If you held a gun to my head and made me pick, I’d say you beat Michigan. I feel like 8-4 is more likely than 10-2, just because that schedule does you no favors. I can empathize with that. There’s be no shame in dropping a game to BYU or Northwestern and that puts us at 6 games I could see MSU losing. I don’t think MSU loses more than 4, but I’d be almost as surprised if they hit digit wins as if they go 7-5.