I don't want to be a strawman but I feel pretty confident saying the general narrative between both fanbases, talks show hosts and national talking heads is this: Dantonio puts extra prep and so much focus on the Michigan game that his teams are more prepared and that leads to him dominating the rivalry.
I decided to look back at the games to see if this is true. My thinking is that if MSU has special plays and schemes saved for Michigan and added preparation and more intensity for the rivalry you would see that play out in the beginning of games and their performance would exceed expectations.
Please chime in with additional game or situation details as I just don't see it. MSU loses in Dantonios 1st year is called Little Brother and the narrative begins.
2008 35-21 MSU-RR 1st year. Michigan is dreadful. MSU finishes a solid 9-4. They come in with hatred from the previous year and Michigan is a joke. With 5 minutes left to go in half it's 7-7 and Threet has just thrown his 2nd pick. Don't see any Dantonio magic here. Game went right to script.
2009 26-20 MSU- At MSU Michigan scores 1st and trails at half 10-6. Not exactly a master motivational job by Dantonio. Both teams ended up pretty medicore.
2010 34-17 MSU- Michigan had an actual team this year so at home hopes were high. Michigan came right down the field to start and Denard got picked in end zone. MSU did nothing on offense until the 2nd qtr and lead 17-10 at half. MSU ended up 11-2 that year so they had the better team and things again ended up pretty much as you would expect looking back.
2011 28-14 MSU- Trash tornado game. 2 evenly matched teams. 7-7 at half. Borges incompetence is not Dantonio genius.
2012 12-10 Michigan- Both teams are down from 2011. Ugly game. Michigan wins so no magic.
2013 29-6 MSU- One of best teams in MSU history at home vs end of Hoke regime. Blowout as expected.
2014 35-11 MSU- Ditto..
2015 27-23 MSU- Michigan leads at half 10-7. Miracle saves MSU
2016 32-23 Michigan- MSU has their scripted jumbo drive everyone raves about the reality is this was a blowout ...27-10 Michigan at half. Game over.
2017- 14-10 MSU- Michigan scores 1st in this game. More than anything MSU does Michigan commits 5 turnovers to hand this game over. Props I guess for accepting the gifts.
Credit to Dantonio for winning the games we handed him, but I don't see any games here where he took the inferior team and defeated Michigan because of the chips on his shoulder.
He has actually performed much better from an expectation standpoint against Penn St and Ohio St where he has engineered big wins and upsets. We have just basically sucked and handed him games over the last decade and he has taken them.
If he has prepped for Michigan so well and his team is so focused you would expect great starts from MSU where they dominate early and put the game away but I would say they have actually under performed early in most of these games. Maybe Dantonio is really good at halftime adjustments to pull these games out, but that's not the narrative.
What do you think?