By Dan Leach

No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No 5 Michigan State Spartans
December 5 at 8:17 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

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Line: Michigan State -3.5


The winner of this one gets in the College Football Playoff and the loser is out. The Hawkeyes just finished their first-ever 12-0 regular season and first undefeated regular season since 1922 and yet seem to still be flying under the radar.

Michigan State with the use of a miracle finish and win at Michigan earlier this year and an epic road win at Ohio State (without one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in Connor Cook) are primed to get to territory they haven’t been in since the 1960s.

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This Iowa team is legit and has a defense that can slow even the most potent of offenses in their tracks. The Hawkeye offense leaves a little to be desired at times, but quarterback C.J. Beathard has answered every call all season long and led the team to big road wins in conference over Wisconsin and Northwestern.

The Hawks also have one of the conference’s best running backs in Jordan Canzeri. MSU has one of the best signal callers in Cook, but it has been the overall coaching brilliance of Mark Dantonio that has really lifted the once laughable program to new and amazing heights the past few years.

The Spartans have had opportunities in the past to win a huge game like this and bring their program to the next level that it has sorely lacked for generations, but have failed in the majority of these big games. There is no game bigger in recent Spartan history than this one with a win giving them a chance to play for a National Title.

While I feel MSU will be ready for the moment and Cook is clearly the best player on the field for either team, Iowa is going to show the nation that not only are they a good team, but they are a championship caliber team with a stunning upset of the Spartans on Saturday night in Indy.

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Pick: Hawkeyes +3.5 (7.4 on the DTM Bagels and Lock of the Week Meter)