Western Michigan vs. Michigan State, Friday, 9/2, 7:00 ET
Michigan State isn’t a team that I typically think about for football. Normally, I’m picturing Tom Izzo and the basketball team. Still, the Spartans are the #15 team in the country coming into the first week of football. This week they take on Western Michigan at home.
There’s nothing wrong with Western Michigan. They are a fine team that went 8-5 last year. They were just 4-4 in their MAC conference games. Last year they opened their season against Michigan – they were blown out by 33 points. Michigan went on to play in the College Football Playoffs, Western Michigan ended up in the Quick Lane Bowl. This was probably 30 words to explain that while they are a fine team, they clearly are not competition for the bigger schools. They have a new starting quarterback, so maybe it will make a difference, but I think it will be a struggle to play against the intimidating Spartans defense – especially on the road.
Michigan State is looking to replicate their start from last year where they went 8-0. That was before they dropped two of their last four non-bowl games. They are returning their starting quarterback Payton Thorne so the offensive side of the ball should be well under control in this game. This will be a game that I think they try and get Jalen Berger, their new running back, into the mix as much as possible. I think they will try to rely on him quite a bit so that they can see comfort. That may mean that the scoring won’t be as high as they might have more running plays than they would normally opt for in a game that is closer or more contested.
Overall, this game still is too close on the spread in my opinion. I think that Michigan State should be able to win this game by 30 or more points. Yes, the game could be slower, the backdoor cover could be in play, but the talent levels on the team and the questions for both are vastly different. Western Michigan is figuring out a new quarterback, Michigan State is returning their quarterback. Things like that make a difference. I’m going to take the Spartans -21 at -110.
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