College Football – (14) Ohio St. (Buck)eyes Revenge at (8) Michigan State
John BensonNo comments
(14) Ohio State Buckeyes at (8) Michigan State Spartans (-3.5, 58.5 o/u)
At this point, the Big Ten will need some help if it is going to have a team in the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff. The winner of this week’s game between No. 14 Ohio State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) and the No. 8 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) will have the best chance at a playoff berth, and will be carrying the banner for a conference which currently lacks respect in the college football landscape.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said, “I’ve said since I’ve been here the coaching that goes on in this league is outstanding. You see different ways people are running the football, different ways they’re passing the football. [There’s v]ery innovative, cutting-edge offensive football being played in this conference on a week-to-week basis. I think you see the same thing defensively.”
This season, Big Ten teams are averaging 30.2 PPG, which is still behind the Big 12 and the Pac-12. However, Ohio State has scored 50 points or more in five of its last six games. Leading the Buckeyes is quarterback J.T. Barrett, who has completed 65 percent of his passes with 23 touchdowns and seven picks. The freshman QB has salvaged a season that many fans wrote off once senior QB Braxton Miller went down. But he will face his toughest test of the season this weekend against a Michigan State defense that gives up just 279 yards per game (fifth best in the nation).
This game is personal to Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, whose only Big Ten loss came against Michigan State in last year’s championship game.
Spartans quarterback Connor Cook, who has thrown for 39 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his last 22 games, knows the Buckeyes will have revenge on their mind.
Cook said, “Any time you have offenses that are averaging those kind of points and are capable of doing what they have shown in the past, it’s going to call for a good game. I think we’re looking forward to it. Ohio State’s looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
Statisically, the Buckeyes’ defense is almost on par with the Spartans’. Ohio State is allowing only 300 total yards per game. With two stingy defenses, the under looks appealing. However, you have to keep in mind that the majority of Ohio State and Michigan State’s games this season have come against offensively challenged Big Ten teams, and the defenses may not be as good as the numbers suggest. Case in point: in a week 2 game against the high-flying Ducks from the Pac-12, Michigan State surrendered 46 points.
With all the firepower on the offensive side of the ball in this game, the over (58.5 points) is the right play.