The contest couldn't come at a worse time for MSU who is reeling after suffering their third straight loss and second in conference play. The Spartans should never have been in this predicament in the first place.
Had they simply played three-and-out football in the last six minutes against Notre Dame and just shown up against Illinois, the Spartans would have been 4-0 heading to Ann Arbor and even a loss would have likely made them a top-25 team with a 4-1 record.
But that isn't how Michigan State's disfunctional football team operates. The Spartans are for all intents and purposes out of the Big Ten conference race after just two Big Ten contest and have very little hope of pulling off the upset against the powerful Buckeyes.
Coach Jim Tressels's team appears headed for a showdown with the Wolverines after slapping a 35-7 beatdown on Bowling Green to finish up non-conference play.
The hope for Michigan State and coach John L. Smith is for the Spartans to hang tough and try to pull the upset late against the Bucks. Barring that, MSU wants to survive the game without substantial injuries and set it sights on running the table following their matchup with Ohio State.
Adding insult to injury, Indiana beat Illinois on Saturday dropping the Spartans into ninth place in the conference. Illinois beat MSU a week ago for their first ever conference win under Ron Zook.
Winning four of the remaining five game to become bowl eligible won't be easy for Michigan State. The Spartans head to Evanston(Northwestern) and then Bloomington (Indiana) before hosting Purdue and Minnesota before and finishing the season at Penn State.
If the team really has Coach Smith's back as they say, they'll show up over the next six weeks and play the way they did in Pittsburgh and in the first three quarters in East Lansing against Notre Dame.
But if the Spartans season spirals out of control like last season, expect Smith to be in the unemployment line for the holidays.