However, the tides have turned this year. While Michigan State now takes on the role as favorite, ranked #11 in the latest AP Top 25 poll, Michigan has vanished from the rankings.
Here is a closer look at the recent battles between the two teams.
2004: U-M 45, MSU 37
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - A shocked MSU team stared at the scoreboard after this one ended and wondered what happened. Leading 27-10 in the fourth quarter with only 8:43 left on the clock, the Spartans let this one slip away in regulation and eventually lost in triple overtime.
"Of course we thought it was over," MSU senior bandit Tyrell Dortch said in the Lansing State Journal. "I don't care if you're playing Oklahoma if you're up 17 (that late) in the game you think you've got it won."
Braylon Edwards was the hero in this game with two touchdown catches in the fourth quarter and the game winning touchdown catch in the third overtime session to shock the Spartans.
2003: U-M 27, MSU 20
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan dominated this one from the beginning. Michigan running back, Chris Perry, ran the ball a team-record 51 times for 219 yards while quarterback John Navarre threw three touchdown passes. The balanced Michigan attack rolled over the Spartans at Spartan Stadium and there was no comeback this time for MSU quarterback, Jeff Smoker.
2002: U-M 49, MSU 3
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - This one wasn't much of a heated rivalry game to say the least. Michigan nearly doubled MSU in total offense, 441-237 and scored seven touchdowns to the Spartans' zero. With Jeff Smoker suspended, Damon Dowdell started the game and was sacked four times. Michigan was clearly the better team in this one and they got revenge after the Spartans come from behind victory in 2001.
2001:MSU 26, U-M 24
EAST LANSING, Mich. – With one second left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Jeff Smoker scrambled to his right and seconds before he is about to be put on his back by a Michigan defender he throws a floater across the field that skimmed the hands of two defenders, to a lonely T.J. Duckett standing all by himself in the center of the end zone. Spartan Stadium hosted a classic battle as MSU came from behind on their final drive to beat No. 6 ranked Michigan.
T.J. Duckett not only caught the winning touchdown pass but rushed for 211 yards on 27 carries against a U-M team ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run.
MSU middle linebacker, Josh Thornhill told the Lansing State Journal, "There's no better feeling in the world than this. We said all week it was just another game. It's not just another game now."
2000: U-M 14, MSU 0
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The victory kept Michigan tied for the Big Ten lead with Purdue, but it wasn't the decisive victory they were looking for. It was a valiant effort by the MSU defense on Saturday, holding Michigan to just 14 points but it was the offense that couldn't find a break. T.J. Duckett fumbled after a 70-yard gain on a controversial call, and also went out after the play with a reoccurring shoulder injury. The Wolverines' running back, Anthony Thomas carried the offensive load; he rushed for 175 yards and scored the only two touchdowns in yet another victory at Michigan Stadium.
1999: MSU 34, U-M 31
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The unstoppable combination of Bill Burke and Plaxico Burress helped the No. 11 Spartans roll past the No. 6 Wolverines and remain unbeaten at 6-0. Burke completed 21 of 36 passes and threw for a MSU-record 400 yards and threw three touchdown passes. Burress hauled in 10 catches for an MSU-record 255 yards and one touchdown. Michigan with Tom Brady taking snaps under center was unable to come from behind to beat the Spartans. Brady completed 30 of 41 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.