Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines have completely revamped their team into a national contender in just a few short weeks. U of M started the season out with a hard loss against the Utah Utes, but look and behold, Utah is a really good team. Also, since that game Michigan has ran over opponents with little resistance. The turnaround has been quite magnificent for Michigan, who was a team lost in the water without a paddle under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke. Keep in mind that Harbaugh doesn’t have his recruits in Ann Arbor, he is doing this all with Hoke recruits. When Harbaugh does get some of his talent in there, I imagine the Wolverines will frequently be in the top 5, similar to how they were when Lloyd Carr was head coach. However, Michigan doesn’t seem to be waiting for the new recruits to come rolling in. Harbaugh is doing it without his talent. It’s still early to say if Michigan can maintain this as their BIG 10 schedule gets more difficult. We’re going to see this weekend, as the Wolverines host the Michigan State Spartans in Ann Arbor Saturday afternoon.
It should be a chilly one in Michigan, with temperatures reaching the mid-40s, but that shouldn’t hamper the mood too much as it’s going to be all about the football game. The Spartans, who are ranked 4th in the polls, will have to beat the Wolverines this afternoon to stay in the top 10. It’s simple as that. For Michigan, a win would bump them from 14 all the way into the top 10. A lot is at stake here, it’s more than a rivalry game. It’s a rivalry game with plenty on the line on the conference. Michigan State and Ohio State haven’t been winning without their issues. Both teams have escaped against inferior opponents, looking ripe for an upset in the coming weeks. Before I go any further though, note that Michigan beating MSU would not be an upset. To a casual observer yes it would be because Michigan is ranked 14th and the Spartans are at 4. However, the odds makers have this one in Michigan’s favor. 7.5 points in their favor actually. When I looked at this game last week I figured -2 to Michigan, but not an 8 point favorite. The line opened around 6.5 and has steadily risen since then. Are the Wolverines really 7.5 points better than their instate rival?
Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines College Football Pick
Michigan State +7.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Michigan State vs. Michigan Pick:
If you told somebody you think that Michigan was going to be more than a touchdown favorite over Michigan State they’d ask if you are off your meds. Wait a couple years then maybe that’ll be the case, but it is 2015, the first year of the Harbaugh era, and Michigan is already favorites against MSU. Is it justified we are all asking ourselves. If you believe it is then take Michigan, if not Michigan State. I noted earlier how big of a game this is for many reasons. Another I can add to the equation is a Connor Cook NFL audition. Michigan hasn’t allowed a point since the UNLV game, and that came in garbage time. The Wolverines have outscored their opponents 97-0 the last three weeks. Since losing to Utah in week 1, Michigan has gone 160-14. Jaw dropping numbers if you look at it that way. Since giving up a touchdown to Oregon State early in the game, the Wolverines have been unmovable.
Michigan has allowed 6.3 points per game, we haven’t seen this type of stuff from them in a very long time. Bo Schembechler would be proud of this type of football from Michigan. In these rivalry games you need to look at the game through a different lens than just statistics, though. Northwestern looked horrible unprepared last week against Michigan. I think head coach Dan Dantonio is going to have the Spartans prepared and ready to play this game against the Wolverines. Cook should be able to make enough plays to keep this game close. With a low total of only 41.5 I like the game to go OVER. I’m not confident in the MSU defense. They are averaging 21.3 points against while scoring 31.3 points. We see it happen all the time in these games that are supposed to end low scoring, a kick/punt return or pick-6 totally changes everything. There is no room for error taking a total that low, as we seen in the Michigan game last week. Something along the lines of 24-21 appears to be a realistic final. With that said, I have a lean on the Spartans with a play on the OVER 41.5.
PICK: OVER 41.5 POINTS (-110)