Following the 2017 season, I told as many people as I could that Mark Dantonio would not be head coach of the Michigan State Spartans past the 2019 campaign. And with the Spartans currently spiraling out of control, I now believe that statement more than ever.
Dantonio is a legend at MSU and he will always be a legend at MSU. Some say his struggles over the past few years will ultimately take away from what he has accomplished, but that view cannot be farther from the truth.
That being said, if Dantonio does choose to walk away from coaching the Spartans (he will not be fired), this Saturday would be his final matchup against the University of Michigan and his final battle against Wolverines’ head coach, Jim Harbaugh.
Knotted at two games apiece
Since Harbaugh took over as Michigan’s head coach, he and Dantonio have led their teams into battle against each other on four occasions with each team coming out on top twice.
Ironically, the Spartans have won both games in Ann Arbor and the Wolverines have won both games in East Lansing.
2015 – Michigan State 27 Michigan 23 (Ann Arbor)
2016 – Michigan 32 Michigan State 23 (East Lansing)
2017 – Michigan State 14 Michigan 10 (Ann Arbor)
2018 – Michigan 21 Michigan State 7 (East Lansing)
Overall, Michigan has outscored Michigan State 86-71 over the past four games, which is much closer than it should have been based on each team’s record heading into the games.
The Final Battle
Assuming this is it for Dantonio, which I believe it is, Saturday will be the fifth battle between him and Harbaugh.
So, who wins?
For me, there is absolutely no question that Michigan has a superior team that also happens to be playing their best football of the season.
The Wolverines come into the game as 13.5 point favorites, which is high for a game that is generally a hard-nosed game from the opening kick.
That being said, Dantonio always works his motivational magic when Michigan Week comes along. In fact, since 2008, the Spartans and Wolverines have met at the Big House five times with Dantonio leading his team to 4-1 record in those games.
Though Dantonio certainly will do his best to motivate the Spartans for Saturday’s game, it won’t matter.
Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines team are like sharks in the water and Dantonio and the Spartans are bleeding.
Look for MSU to come out fired up but as the game goes on, Michigan will enforce its will upon the Spartans and when all is said and done, the game will have been a blowout.
Michigan State 10
Michigan 27 (-13.5)
Nation, what do you think will happen?