Even the honey badger don’t want to go to East Lansing, but the Big Ten schedule makers don’t give a sh**. For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin Badgers travel to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans in showdown between the 2010 Big Ten Co-Champions.
For the Wisconsin Badgers, East Lansing has been where dreams go to die. The Badgers, rated fourth in both major polls, have lost three in a row in East Lansing to the Spartans. Each defeat happened when Wisconsin was rated higher than Michigan State in the polls. In 2004, the Badgers were 9-0, rated fourth, and had already had huge road wins at Arizona, Ohio State, and fifth-rated Purdue. Michigan State won 49-14, a beating the Badgers didn’t recover from that year, losing to Iowa and Georgia to finish 9-3. In 2008, the Badgers had an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter and seemed to have the game in hand. It ended in a Spartan victory, on a last-second field goal. Last year, Michigan State and Wisconsin tied with 11-1 records. The Badgers only loss came at the hands of the Spartans in East Lansing.
Wisconsin is undefeated, ranked fourth in the country, and in need of a victory in East Lansing Saturday night to continue pursuing the Big Ten Conference title, and a potential opportunity to play for a national championship. Wisconsin brings an outstanding running game to East Lansing, along with a passing attack led by senior quarterback Russell Wilson.
“He’s special,” MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said of Wilson in an USA Today article. Wilson, a transfer from N.C. State, is the current front-runner in the Heisman Trophy race.
Michigan State counters with the nation’s second highest rated defense, an experienced senior quarterback, and outstanding special teams play. The Spartans, rated numbers 13 and 15 in two major polls, hope to pull the upset in front of a national audience. East Lansing will be playing host to ESPN Gameday on Saturday morning, and the game will be televised nationally.
The back-to-back trips are happening because conference games had were rescheduled when Nebraska joined the Big Ten. After Saturday night, the Badgers shouldn’t have to travel back to East Lansing until at least 2015, allowing the honey badger to rest easy wherever he may roam.