Final Score -- 40.25
You probably thought I'd forgotten all about the stadium countdown. Can't really blame you since the Bowl Game entry was in 2008, but any good labor of love has hurdles to clear (and I'm the Edwin Moses of procrastination). The best truly is yet to come, and I promise to finish before the BCS Selection Show. And if I don't, your website subscription will be fully reimbursed (oh wait...).
So let's pick things up in East Lansing and the home of Sparty, the stepchild program of the Auto State. Historically, there's always been plenty of talent at Michigan State with a solid pipeline to the NFL. State is always good for some big wins, but their fan base habitually avoids researching flights to Pasadena due to their penchant for late season flame-outs. The Rose has been wilting since 1987, with conference play becoming a bit of a curse for MSU fans. Want proof? The great and powerful Saban only managed one finish above 5th place in his 5 years. Too bad Notre Dame's early season Big Ten slate usually catches the Spartans at their gritty, non-dysfunctional best.
Spartan fans and players are always dialed up for the Irish, which makes road trips to East Lansing a pretty entertaining experience. The nearby lots are definitely tailgate friendly as opposed to their in-state rivals, and MSU fans/students know how to get their drink on. In fact, revelry seems to supersede tradition with fans fatalistically assuming the rug is coming out from under them at some point. Might as well enjoy the inevitable fall!
The stadium holds a handful over 75,000 and can become quite a loud and hostile environment. (Did you know: a recording of crowd noise during the 1959 ND-MSU matchup was incorporated into Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus. Not too shabby). Nothing stands out as remarkable, but the whole package delivers the big state school experience.
All WeIs contributors who've made the trip on various occasions exited with a sour taste, thanks to Herb Haygood's mad dash to victory in 2000 and 1998's deer-in-headlights 1st half (a.k.a. the greatest head coaching mismatch in the history of college football). Unfortunately, nobody was present for ND's best comeback of the 21st century, which inspired the greatest radio meltdown in the history of the world (to my knowledge, the only time football, applesauce, Teddy Ruxpin and HR Pufnstuf have been referenced in the same soliloquy). It wouldn't be a Michigan State post without mention of Mike Valenti's contribution to the world wide web.
All in all, Spartan Stadium is an underrated stadium with a solid party atmosphere.