Posted 10/02/2009 at 05:21 AM
This week’s college opinion is on one of the bigger games on the Saturday slate, as Michigan and Michigan State renew hostilities at East Lansing.
Michigan’s (4-0 SU/2-2 ATS) second season under Rich Rodriguez is certainly working out better than his first in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines have been a very exciting team, and QB Tate Forcier is establishing himself as one of the best young QB’s in the game. Last week’s win was another thriller, a 36-33 comeback against Indiana, although Michigan did appear to benefit from a very controversial call late in the game that preserved the victory. The Wolverines brought in veteran coach Greg Robinson to run the defense, and the early returns are not so hot. They allowed 490 yards to Notre Dame and 179 yards rushing to Eastern Michigan. Michigan followed that up by relinquishing 467 yards, including 197 on the ground to the Hoosiers last week, so there is still loads of work to do on the stop unit. Injury note: Michigan starting center David Molk will miss three to five more weeks after breaking a bone in his foot.
Poor Michigan State (1-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) can’t catch a break. Coach Mark Dantonio has gotten good production out of sophomore QB Kirk Cousins (7 TDs, 2 INTs), but continues to also use sophomore QB Keith Nichol (4 TDs, 2 INTs) in a 2-headed rotation. Offense hasn’t been the problem, averaging 31 ppg. The defense has been poor, and the Spartans were run over last week, dropping a 38-30 decision at Wisconsin. That game was nowhere near that close, as MSU scored two very late TD’s to make the final tally respectable. In a wild 33-30 loss at Notre Dame, the offense had 459 yards, but the defense gave up 437 (304 passing). The previous week Central Michigan stunned MSU in a come-from-behind 29-27 upset, but the Chippewas were absolutely the better team on the field in that contest. This pass defense is bad and faces another tough test here.
Michigan is a little bit phony at 4-0, but they’re finding ways to win and have loads of confidence. Michigan State is going the other way, and is finding ways to lose. The Wolverines are motivated by revenge from last year’s loss at Ann Arbor, and I think they’re simply the better team at this juncture, so it’s Michigan plus the points for me.