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Michigan State vs. Ohio State Football Pick with Analysis

10/1/11

Ohio State hosts Michigan State Saturday in what will be the Big 10 opener for both teams. Ohio State opened as a -3 point favorite at betonline which is where the number still sits as of this writing. Both teams are 3-1 on the year and both achieved those marks in similar ways. They both beat up on 3 weak teams and they both lost by wide margins to the only legitimate teams they faced.

If you're Ohio State, you expected problems, what with all of the off season turmoil, losing the coach, the QB, and so on. Sure, you still have talent, but those types of shake ups are hard to overcome. Michigan State on the other hand, had some high hopes coming into this year, off an 11-2 season a year ago. In fact, they were breaking the huddle by saying "national champs". After the loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago, they've had to find a new huddle break phrase.

Ohio State has won 7 straight games in this series. They don't play every year, but the last time they did, 2008, saw the Buckeyes come away with 45-7 win at Michigan State. The last time Michigan State won was 1998. If you're the Spartans, you've got take advantage of the troubles at Ohio State. Kick a man when he's down, if you will.

The Spartans have the top ranked defense in the nation in terms of yards allowed and are #9 in points allowed at 11 points per game. But, yeah, okay, that's getting a bit carried away. Let's face it, they played Florida Atlantic, Youngstown State and Central Michigan. The only time they stepped up in class, and it wasn't too far up, if at all, was against Notre Dame, a 31-13 loss.

But Ohio State was exposed big time in their loss to Miami a couple of weeks ago. Without Terrelle Pryor this offense is as one dimensional as it gets. To make matters worse, after the worst passing performance in school history against the Hurricanes, the Buckeyes have now made the switch at QB to freshman Braxton Miller. He had just 13 pass attempts, completing 5 for 83 yards against Colorado.

There's plenty to like about the Spartans in this game, starting with a huge edge at QB with Kirk Cousins, who guided Michigan State to an 11-2 season last year. He's still got some weapons from that 11-2 year to get the ball to, as well as some new ones. The Spartans fell behind to Notre Dame early which forced them to play catch up. Cousins made some mistakes and looked off at times as a result, but at one point he connected on 11 in a row. That's almost as many passes as Braxton attempted last week. Big mismatch at QB this week though there is some concern on the Michigan State offensive line, which has some injuries.

You might say it's a now or never situation for the Spartans as far as beating Ohio State. If not now, when? They look to be the better team and there's no mystery to what Ohio State is going to do. While the Spartan defense may not be as good as the numbers say, it should be good enough to stop a one dimensional attack with a freshman QB and, as mentioned, offensively speaking, the two teams can't compare. Michigan State +3

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