ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It's an absolutely beautiful day in southeast Michigan, and hopefully the quality of the game can match the unseasonably warm conditions.
I've got a feeling it will.
Michigan hosts in-state rival Michigan State in about an hour to determine who claims the Paul Bunyan Trophy, state bragging rights for the year and an undefeated record heading into Week 7. Both teams are ranked heading into the matchup for the first time since 2003, and both are undefeated for the first time since 1999. Michigan State aims for its first three-game win streak against the Wolverines since 1965-67.
The two major subplots today are Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, considered by many to be the Heisman Trophy front-runner, and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who will be in the coaches' booth less than three weeks after suffering a mild heart attack Sept. 19 and undergoing surgery.
As expected, there's a great atmosphere around the Big House today, and even heading to the stadium on I-94, as fans of both teams waved flags and taunted each other between lanes. There was a lot of blue and green on my lengthy walk through the grounds of Pioneer High School (just southwest of Michigan Stadium), but I didn't see any fan-on-fan violence.
A lot of folks are trying to figure out who needs a win more today. My gut reaction is Michigan, which needs quality wins in Big Ten play to validate its start. But Michigan State also brings some momentum after a convincing win against Wisconsin, and the Spartans can make another statement by slowing down Robinson.
Michigan's injury report can be found here, while MSU expects D-linemen Kevin Pickelman and Colin Neely to play.
Check in with the blog throughout the afternoon as I'll have much more from the Big House.