With the season winding down, things are starting to get serious for teams that are jockeying for a spot in conference championships and the college football playoff. If Michigan State loses today and then Michigan beats Ohio State next week it is looking likely that Michigan would move into the BIG 10 Championship against Ohio State, a rematch. When they announced the divisions for the BIG 10 some years ago, the thing that struck me as off is having Ohio State and Michigan in separate divisions. At the time it didn’t speak to much because of how bad Michigan was at the time, but now that Michigan is good, there is going to come a day where Michigan and Ohio State play in the BIG 10 Championship and playing back-to-back weeks.
Maybe that appeals to some people, but I really don’t want to see one of the biggest rivalry games in sports turn into a two-game playoff, which it would most likely be. In any regard, this is a very important game for both teams. A loss will knock the Buckeyes out of the top 4 and send the race into further disarray.
The Buckeyes opened as 13-point favorites with the line jumping up to 14 thereafter. Hm, I don’t know about you, but that looks like some kind of fishy line. The public is jumping all over the Spartans, but the line is heading in the opposite direction. Even at 13 points the line looked suspicious to me. Sometimes being nervous about a line is all for nothing and it doesn’t end up having an impact, but Vegas and sportsbooks aren’t in the business of giving away free money. Ohio State is entering with a perfect 10-0 record, but haven’t looked dominant most weeks. There are people that think they don’t even belong in the top 4, which is a little extreme in my opinion. If you recall, they made it into the final 4 with 1 loss last season, so calm down pundits. The Buckeyes last loss came at home early in 2014 against Virginia Tech. Since then they haven’t seen a loss. MSU is looking to spoil that this afternoon.
Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes College Football
Michigan State +14(-110)
@Ohio State -14(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Michigan State vs. Ohio State Pick:
The key to this game for Michigan State is getting an excellent effort out of their secondary. This isn’t the same secondary featuring Trea Waynes. The Spartans usually have some playmakers back there, but there is a lot to be desired for MSU in 2015. If it weren’t for a horribly overthrown ball by Oregon earlier in the season they would have lost that one too. And for the record, they got screwed on that one play against Nebraska. Almost a similar play and situation as in the Oregon game, but Nebraska connected along the sideline. The receiver stepped out of bounds, but it was ruled that he was pushed, resulting in a no call on the play. Corner Arjen Colquhoun had a chance to intercept a pass prior to that play, but he was unable to hang onto the ball. Like I said, Spartans’ secondary.
By the numbers, they don’t look bad. MSU is allowing 243 passing yards per game. However, what team have they played this season that can pass the ball effectively? It’s been since Oregon in week 2 that they played a team that loves to throw the football. Ohio State hasn’t been doing that, but because they haven’t needed to. The Buckeyes are averaging 244.9 yards per game on the ground. I think we might see a little bit of the passing game from Ohio State today, though. Look for a big game passing from JT Barrett. The Ohio State offense is scoring 36.4 points per game despite what people perceive as a bad offense for the Buckeyes this season.
The story for Michigan State entering this game has been the status of Connor Cook. They say that his shoulder is fine coming into Columbus, but how much of that is really true? I am inclined to believe that the injury to his shoulder is worse than what the Spartans are letting on. The Buckeyes are allowing only 13.8 points per game this season. So, for all this talk that they aren’t very good this season, just look at the numbers. Scoring 36.4 points per game while allowing only 13.8 isn’t good? I think Ohio State comes out and proves a point tonight against the Spartans. The books should make a killing off this game with Michigan State backers. I see something in the ballpark of 35-14 Buckeyes.
PICK: OHIO STATE -14 (-110)