User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Spartans have Legends lead on line vs. Michigan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - As if there weren't already enough riding on the outcome - bragging rights, an upper hand in recruiting, national rankings and just a general dislike of the opponent - Saturday's Michigan at Michigan State game also could decide who plays in the Big Ten championship game.

However, don't count on Wolverines coach Brady Hoke to even mention that.

''If you get ahead of yourself, you're really going to make a mistake,'' he said Tuesday during the conference's coaches' call. ''Our thoughts and everything that we're focusing on is going up to East Lansing and competing like hell with Michigan State.''

Heading into the final month of the regular season, there's a strong competition taking shape for supremacy in the Big Ten's Legends Division.

No. 24 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0) currently leads the way, with hated rival 23rd-ranked Michigan (6-1, 2-1) right behind.

Nebraska (5-2, 2-1) is also in the mix, but probably cannot afford another slip the rest of the way.

Iowa and Minnesota, both with two losses, are hoping chaos reigns down the stretch and everybody loses.

Over in the Leaders Division, No. 4 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) is on a 20-game winning streak and appears to be almost a lock to play in its first Big Ten championship game on Dec. 7 at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.

''That's a big part of what we do: Our goal is to play for championships in November. And, obviously, to win our side of the Big Ten is what we're talking about,'' coach Urban Meyer said. ''You do that, you get to go play in the Big Ten championship. That's very realistic and a goal that we do discuss.''

The Buckeyes hold a one-game edge over No. 22 Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1), but already own the tiebreaker thanks to having already beaten the Badgers.

Everybody else in the Leaders has at least two losses.

The Spartans' Mark Dantonio said his team is just like the other 11 in the Big Ten.

''We have our goals, just like everybody else,'' he said. ''And among our goals is to be in that championship game and then to win it.''

Michigan State made it to the inaugural title game in 2011 before losing to Wisconsin. The Spartans then regrouped to beat Georgia in a bowl game.

It's not as if anyone will clinch the Legends Division title this weekend.

After a bye next week, Michigan State plays at Nebraska and at Northwestern before closing out the regular season at home against Minnesota.

The Wolverines have an even bigger set of hurdles: Nebraska at home, at Northwestern, at Iowa and then No. 4 Ohio State at The Big House on Nov. 30.

Should Michigan win this weekend while Nebraska holds off Northwestern at home, then the Cornhuskers have a good shot at a return trip to the title game if they win out. Their schedule includes games at Michigan and home against Michigan State.

''We're really in the same position we were in a year ago,'' said coach Bo Pelini, whose team lost 70-31 to Wisconsin in last year's Big Ten title game. ''You still have the opportunity to control your own destiny and do what you have to do and the only way you stay in that position is to win football games.''

Few coaches consider it a successful season if their team doesn't make it to the conference title game.

''As a competitor, there's no question that the goals are always high, the expectations are high,'' Hoke said. ''So when you don't achieve those aspirations - which everyone in this conference has which is to win the conference - then it obviously hasn't been the kind of year that you want.''

For what it's worth, this is also the final year for the Leaders and Legends names atop the Big Ten's divisions. Since they were unveiled a few years back by Commissioner Jim Delany with the help of a marketing firm, many have considered those names pretentious.

Next year, with Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference, the divisions will be based on geography. They'll simply be called the East and the West.

Meyer, for one, is sorry to see Legends and Leaders fall by the wayside.

''I love that,'' he said. ''I heard a lot of people criticize it but I thought it was very well done.''

No matter what they engrave on the trophy at the end, there are a lot of teams that would love to claim it.


Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

DiNitto: Opening Line Report - Week 9
Dobish: Betting Recap - Week 8
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 8
News: Heisman Odds Update
Indiana stick with QB Lagow despite skid
'Cuse disciplines staffer for role in fight
Wisconsin LB Cichy out for season
Tennessee won't have Kamara for SC
'The sun came up' for Buckeyes after loss
Why Buy Picks From
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
30-9 Totals, 37-15 L5 Sat., +1,265
17-9 L26 G-Plays, 60% +911 TY
10-5 CFB Record This Month
3-0 Friday, 14-7 Run, +2,089 Totals
5 Wins in a Row, 7-3 L10 Totals
9-3 Record Saturday
5-2 Saturday, 7-2 Week 8
13-6 Saturday, 12-6 L18 Totals
5-2 CFB Picks Saturday
7-4 Saturday, 18-8 L26 Totals
4-1 Last 5 CFB G-Plays
9-2 L11 CFB Guarantees
5-1 L6 Guaranteed Plays
2-0 Record Last Thursday
4-2 Saturday, 5-1 L6 Guarantees
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1265
Scott Rickenbach + 911
Pat Hawkins + 550
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 825
Paul Bovi + 675
Jimmy Boyd + 485
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Rickenbach 60 %
Kyle Hunter 59 %
Michael Black 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 620
The Gold Sheet + 570
Marc Lawrence + 340
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2089
Kyle Hunter + 1470
Joe Williams + 817
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 661
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Andy Iskoe + 156
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership