By: Jamie Samuelsen
We spent most of the summer doing two things when it came to sports – complaining about Jim Leyland and hyping up the Michigan-Michigan State game.
Well here we are with the game about 24 hours away, and it’s like it snuck up on us. There’s no hype. There’s no preview. There’s no trash-talking. There’s not even any bulletin board materials (which raises the question – do people even keep bulletin boards anymore?)
Two things have causes this game to go from World War Five to a nice little 3:30 kickoff on the Big Ten Network.
1) The Tigers insist on continuing to play and their opponents insist on lying down and allowing it.
2) Michigan State decided that all the glory and attention that went along with being a Rose Bowl contender was too stifling and decided that they’d just as soon recede to the bottom of the division and hope for an invite to the Alamo Bowl (assuming it still exists).
MSU hasn’t laid down the same way the Yankees have, but we have learned that their offensive game plan is totally lacking in creativity. Most view Saturday as a referendum game for the Spartans. Those people would be wrong.
MICHIGAN STATE (+10) AT MICHIGAN – Everyone knows the history between these two teams. And everyone knows Denard Robinson’s personal history against the Spartans as well. Robinson has rushed for 128 yards total in the last two games against MSU. That would count as a good half for him against someone like Purdue or Indiana. Michigan State is a very depressing 4-3 heading into the rivalry game Saturday. But here’s the thing, their defense hasn’t been bad at all. MSU is #1 in the Big Ten in total defense. They’re #1 against the run. And they’re #3 against the pass. Robinson excels when he goes against creampuffs. But when he goes up against top flight defenses (see Alabama and Notre Dame), it’s a total different Michigan offense. Both Bama and ND tried to force him to throw the ball by taking away the run. MSU will look to do the same. And seeing as they did that multiple times already, why would we think that they couldn’t do it again – particularly when it’s such a massive point spread. Michigan is better. But don’t be deceived by easy wins over Purdue and Illinois. This is a test for MSU. But this is a referendum on just how much better Michigan has gotten over the past few weeks. PICK – MICHIGAN STATE
WOJO – MICHIGAN
WOOLEY – MSU
SOUTH CAROLINA (+3) AT FLORIDA – The ol’ ball coach returns to his ol’ haunts as Steve Spurrier (aka Steve Superior) leads the ‘Cocks against the Gators in the Swamp. Both these teams have good defenses. Both these teams have good quarterbacks. And both these teams will vie for the chance to get hammered by Alabama in the SEC title game in December. South Carolina has Marcus Lattimore is suffering from a bad hip and Spurrier said it was unclear whether or not he’d be able to start against the Gators. Oh yeah, we’re buying that completely Coach. Lattimore will play and coming off a disappointing game against Vanderbilt, he’ll have a big afternoon against the Gators. But it won’t be enough. This is basically a pick ‘em game. And I’m going with the home team. PICK – FLORIDA
WOJO – FLORIDA
WOOLEY – FLORIDA
LIONS (+6) AT BEARS – Here’s a freaky stat for you. The Bears are the second highest scoring team in the NFL. And their offense has scored seven total touchdowns in five games. Think about that. Well, I’ll think about that for you. It means that the Bears defense is scoring at a nearly ridiculous level. FIVE defensive touchdowns in five games. And believe it or not, none of those scores involved Lions special teams coach Danny Crossman. The Lions have an amazing ability to fall behind early and then furiously catch up in the second half. That works against the Titans or the Eagles. That doesn’t work so well against the Bears – especially when they’re coming off a bye week. PICK – BEARS
WOJO – LIONS
WOOLEY – LIONS