Vegas Big Ten Predictions Week 9: Every Game Matters

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Saturday Blitz Vegas Big Ten Predictions Week 9

Game of the Week

Michigan Wolverines at No. 8 Michigan State Spartans

Line: Michigan State by 17

It probably sounds a little crazy to chalk this up as a game of the week, but it is at least a rivalry game that has some playoff implications. If we went by the most evenly matched good teams, we would pick Maryland-Wisconsin as the game of the week. But the lure of Michigan State playing in the game, plus the fact that Michigan still has talents, is enough for us to make this our top game.

It’s very clear now that Brady Hoke is in serious trouble, but at least his Wolverines found something against Penn State. The defense hasn’t been terrible this year, and perhaps it can cause problems with Michigan State’s offense. Even if it does, though, it’s up to the Michigan offense and Devin Gardner to make plays for this team to have a shot at pulling off the upset. The Wolverines have got to get a passing game going for a more balanced attack because Michigan State is going to beat you straight up and not beat themselves by getting cute. That’s especially true on defense. So the game rests in the hands of Gardner and the offense. Maybe a few trick and spread plays could be enough, though, to still fool a young Michigan State linebacker group.

Michigan State, meanwhile, is still developing on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker despite the amount of loaded talent, but they’ve gotten much better. The Spartans now get to be put to another test against an athletic Michigan quarterback. Yes, the offense has been terrible, but they have to be aware of it all of a sudden flipping a switch because the talent could be there for them to do that. On offense, the Spartans need to play their game with long drives, great running, and very efficient passing by Connor Cook. They need to score touchdowns on a few drives to keep this game comfortable, and the most important thing is to avoid turning the ball over at all costs.


Michigan may have flipped a bit of a switch, even if Hoke deserves to be fired, so it’ll give Michigan State all it can handle for three quarters. But the Spartans will finally pull away in the fourth as they settle down. This is obviously the opposite of what Michigan State has done throughout this year, dominating for three quarters and collapsing in the fourth, but the team is getting more experienced and will be able to turn it on in the fourth this Saturday. Michigan State wins.

Michigan State: 31 Michigan: 21

Next: Minnesota-Illinois