Former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio made the Michigan game important for the Spartans.
New Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker is adding to the rivalry in his own way. Tuesday at his press conference, Tucker only referred to Michigan as 'the school down the road.'
"I don't think there is any question from anyone who we are playing this week," Tucker said when asked if he was intentionally refraining from saying Michigan. "It's the school down the road and I think we all know who that is so I think it is pretty obvious."
Michigan will host Michigan State on Saturday at noon and the game can be seen on FOX 17.
The Wolverines have won the last two matchups and would love to keep Paul Bunyan in Ann Arbor for another year.
"It is a rivalry game and we are going to flip that switch," sophomore tight end Erick All said. "There is a little bit more force that is going to be coming behind these hits and what is going to be said out there on the field.
"The red blood is pumping and it will be really pumping for both sides in this game no question about that," Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh added.
Michigan, which is coming off a 49-24 win over Minnesota, is an early 24.5 point favorite.
"24 points seems like a bit of a stretch to me," Michigan State junior quarterback Rocky Lombardi said. "But I don't even look at that stuff honestly. For us it's all about if we can execute each play the way that we are supposed to we'll go out there and we'll have a productive day and hopefully we will win the game."
Michigan is being careful not to overlook Michigan State which lost at home to Rutgers in the opener last Saturday.
"We can't underestimate them," Michigan junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson said. "It is a rivalry game it doesn't matter who they lost to or who we beat, it is about who shows up on Saturday."
The game will be played a Michigan Stadium for the second straight season, but this time there will not be 110,000 fans in attendance.
"The rivalry should amplify the game itself," Michigan State senior linebacker Antjuan Simmons said. "Crowd or not you are going to be able to see what this game means to both programs. It is going to be easier to tell. You are not going to have all the fans, media and bands, it is just going to be us and them."