Know your B1G foe - Counting down Maryland's move to the Big Ten: Michigan State

Harry How

As Maryland counts down the days until the school’s official move to the B1G, we’re getting to know our future conference foes one school at a time. Today, we preview Michigan State.

School name: Michigan State

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Mascot/nickname: Sparty, Spartans

School colors: Green and White

Distance from College Park: 588 miles

Enrollment: 49, 300 total students (37,988 undergrads)

B1G Member since: 1950

Notable achievements: Some famous alumni of Michigan State include Chris Hansen, Jemele Hill, James Caan and Tom Sizemore. Michigan State basketball has achieved two championships (1979, 2000), eight Final Fours and 13 conference championships. Spartan football has won one AP national championship (1952), four Rose Bowls and eight Big Ten championships.

We've been in the ACC since forever. Tell us which ACC school this is most similar to and why.

North Carolina State. Both Michigan State and NC State are important in their respective states and certainly have a strong presence, but they're often looked upon as second (or in NC State's case, third) fiddle. They're both basketball-first schools, they've each won two championships, they're comparable academically and don't always receive the respect they believe they deserve. Other than the difference in football prestige and success, it seems like these two schools are very similar in almost every way.

Let me phone a friend on this one.

We ask our friend Pete Rossman at The Only Colors to tell us more about the current state of Spartan athletic.s

Football: What else needs to be said. After trudging through the losing season desert under the leadership of Bobby Williams and John L. Smith, the pieces that Mark Dantonio laid for several years led the way to the promised land last season. After the offense looked putrid for the first three games (defensive end Shilique Calhoun was the team's leading scorer at that point), Mark Dantonio gave the reins of the offense to quarterback Connor Cook. Cook struggled at first, but rapidly improved through the season, giving much-needed balance to the defense. The season ended in a crescendo, when MSU won the Legends Division (RIP), the Big Ten title game over an OSU team that won 24 games straight, and won its first Rose Bowl since 1988 over Stanford. Although MSU loses a few pieces on defense, it's shown that it can reload. While the offense will miss three of its starting offensive linemen, all the other key pieces, including the aforementioned Cook and 1,000+ yard running back Jeremy Langford will return. In all, MSU looks to maintain the momentum it's formed the last few seasons and looks to push for not only a Big Ten title, but a spot in the first College Football tournament.

Basketball: With the losses of Gary Harris, Adreian Payne, and Keith Appling, MSU will most likely take a step back this season. However, the seasons where the bulk of expectations have been removed can be the most fun ones. The Spartans still have the uber-athletic forward Branden Dawson, multi-faceted guard Denzel Valentine, hot-shooting point guard Travis Trice, Jon Diebler 2.0 in Kenny Kaminski, and powerful big man Matt Costello. They'll form the core of a group that adds a freshmen in point guard Lourawls Nairn, guard Javon Bess, and forward Marvin Clark that may not be blue-chip recruits, but should be able to be coached up by Tom Izzo. With big-time transfer Eron Harris and the rapidly rising recruit Deyonta Davis able to play next year, this season is one that finds the Spartans very much in transition. Much like their offense, hopefully MSU should be able to excel in that phase.

Athletic Facilities:

Spartan Stadium is home to Michigan State football. It opened in 1923 and holds 75,005. The Big Ten has some of the biggest stadiums in the country, and because of this, Spartan Stadium doesn't get the attention it deserves. The atmosphere is lively, the seats are full and the student section is loud. It's one of the more underrated places to watch a football game in the Big Ten and worth the trip.

Michigan State basketball is played at the Breslin Student Events Center. The arena seats 15,000 and was built in 1989. Unlike Spartan Stadium, Breslin is not overlooked at all. It is one of the toughest places to play in the entire country, let alone the Big Ten. The student section is something special and the arena as a whole comes alive for their Spartans. Without a doubt, this is somewhere Maryland fans will want to go to watch their Terps play.

Non-revenue athletics: Hockey is very popular at Michigan State. They have three NCAA Tournament Championships (1966, 1986, 2007), have gone to the Frozen Four 11 times and are eight-times conference champions. In 2001, they were involved in what was at the time the most-attended hockey game ever against arch-rival Michigan in Spartan Stadium. In 2010, they played in another game against Michigan that broke that record that was played in Michigan Stadium.

Cross country is one of Michigan State's other very successful programs. The men's program alone has produced 51 individual national champions and eight team national championships. The women's team has taken home titles, too, with five individual national champions. Wrestling at MSU has eight Big Ten titles, 57 individual Big Ten championships and 24 individual NCAA Champions since 1936. None of these sports are any of Maryland's biggest, but since 2004, Michigan State's men's soccer team have been Big Ten Conference Tournament Champions three times, made seven NCAA Tournament appearances and made the quarterfinals in 2013, so they might provide some competition for the Terps.

Food, beer, & Town:

Once again, Pete Rossman at The Only Colors:

Food: While East Lansing may not have the food options of bigger Big Ten towns, there are still places where you can get a great bite to eat. The eternal debate in this town is which place has the better burger: Crunchy's or The Peanut Barrel, so why not try both?  If late night eats are more your thing, you can pick up a burrito at Panchero's, or you can have a "dub" (chicken tenders with your choice of sauce or dressing wrapped up in a tortilla like a burrito) at Menna's Joint.


Beer: Starting off, if beer isn't your thing, you can get one of the best Long Island Iced Teas at the Peanut Barrel (limit 2, because you want to live, right?). For beer, Crunchy's rotates 27 craft beers on tap. If that's not enough for you, Hopcat has 100 beers and ciders on tap (that's not a typo - 100), along with delicious fries. If you want to visit a brewery, you're in luck, as Michigan has some great ones. You can drive an hour to Kalamazoo to visit Bell's, or drive an hour to visit Grand Rapids, where they not only have Founders, but several other small breweries.

How likely is Maryland to develop a rivalry with this school?

It will happen, at least to a certain extent. Michigan State isn't particularly close by, but compared to many Big Ten schools, they relatively are. We will play each other annually in football, but more importantly, the basketball games will be intense. Both of these schools value basketball the most, both have a history of winning and both have some nasty and intimidating atmospheres. Also, I don't need to remind Maryland fans of the game these two teams played in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. That game alone left a bad taste in Maryland's mouth. Michigan State probably won't be Maryland's biggest rival, but there will be some animosity there.

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