After a long day of championship football, the BIG 10 will declare a champion tonight between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan State Spartans. This is classic smash mouth BIG 10 type football. If you are a fan of old school football this will be the game for you. Put on North Carolina and Clemson if you are a fan of the new breed college football. Iowa will run the ball, Michigan State will run the ball. Iowa will throw from under center, and Michigan State will throw from under center. It has become a dying breed watching college football games where both teams are operating behind the center instead of the shotgun. Reason being why Connor Cook is being looked at by NFL teams. It is a good day to be a pro-style quarterback in college football. After a flurry of a few option quarterbacks who had success in the NFL, it is becoming less prevalent as defenses zero in on their tendencies.
In many ways, Iowa and Michigan State are similar teams. Didn’t expect to see Iowa here did you? Ohio State isn’t in this game, which comes as one of the bigger surprises in all of college football. The Buckeyes were the undisputed favorites to repeat for the National Championship, after all, they were stacked and had three quarterbacks that could play good football. As it was, Cardale Jones and T.J. Barrett could never really get it going. We now have a Iowa and Michigan State BIG 10 Championship.
Iowa is another big time storyline this season in college football. Iowa, along with Clemson, are the only undefeated teams left. Iowa and Clemson with wins will have an automatic ticket to the college football playoff. Seriously, who handicapped Iowa being in the final 4? Anybody? If you told me that you had Iowa in the college football playoff I’d tell you that you’re bsing. Maybe there is an Iowa fan out there who had a good inclination of it occurring? They escaped the letdown spot last week against Nebraska and now have a date with the Spartans for all the marbles in the BIG 10. A win in the BIG 10 Championship might lead to a lot more for Iowa. Conversely, if Michigan State takes it then there will be a great case for them going into the playoff as well. In other words, this is a play-in game. A sort of extra round in the college football playoff.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds:
vs. Michigan State -3.5(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Iowa vs. Michigan State Pick:
Iowa were the beneficiaries of playing against one awful quarterback last week. If Iowa had to play a real QB that game may have been a different result. The Hawkeyes game plan is to wear out the opposition and when the 4th quarter comes around the opposing defenses is just beaten down. The Spartans look to do the same thing. But I don’t think many teams are able to wear down the MSU defense. They are a stout bunch who are allowing 118.2 yards on the ground and 231 yards through the air with 21 points surrendered per game. Likewise, Iowa is very similar on defense. Consider the fact that Iowa is allowing 110 yards on the ground and 221.7 yards against the pass. The Hawkeyes allow 18.7 points per game. I don’t see either team being able to get the passing game going with Connor Cook and C.J. Beathard. All he had to do is throw for 97 yards to pick up the 28-20 win.
I see this game playing out with both teams trying to feed their running back often and early. I expect a lot of handoffs, but I expect a strong effort from both defensive lines as well. Jordan Canzeri won’t be able to run wild in this game like he did against Nebraska last week. Maybe if they can open the passing game up and find a fine balance. I however don’t feel like either passing games are going to be effective tonight. This game is going to shape up to be a low-scoring game that may come down to a field goal or 4 points. Consequently, the spread could go either way in my opinion. The defenses are going to come to play tonight, which lends itself to a play on the UNDER 51.5
PICK: UNDER 51.5 POINTS (-110)