Staff Picks: Michigan State Predictions

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Now that Minnesota lost to Maryland last night, the Wolverines' victory over the Gophers last weekend is viewed in a different light. Though it is not established just how strong Minnesota is, Michigan is still highly favored in today's contest against Michigan State.

Over the last 10 years, MSU holds a 6-4 edge over U-M, but the 2020 meeting is expected to play out in Michigan's favor. The opening line was comfortably over a 20 point spread with U-M as the favorite, so today's matchup is not predicted to be a close, drag-it-out type of battle. Here is how the Wolverine Digest staff sees the game playing out:

Eric Rutter: Last week, Michigan State fell to the defeat of Rutgers, so that provides a bit of insight as to how much MSU struggled last weekend. The Spartans turned the football over seven times, and that simply will not get the job done against Michigan-- or any Big Ten team for that matter. By all accounts, it does not seem like Michigan will have a difficult time dispatching the Spartans on paper, but games like these are exactly when a team can be caught off guard by a bitter rival.

However, Michigan is taking this game just as seriously as it did the Minnesota contest according to fullback Ben Mason, so do not expect a letdown in this one. Michigan's offense has too many weapons for Michigan State to clamp down on, and the Wolverines truly run a two-dimensional spread system for the first time in years. Given the defense's dominance against the Gophers, it is difficult to imagine MSU scoring many points, so I'm on record predicting a 48-10 victory for the Wolverines on Saturday.

Michael Spath: There is no way Michigan State will turn the ball over seven times against Michigan like it did versus Rutgers (or at leas the law of averages would say so), but the talent gap between the two in-state rivals creates a mismatch that no amount of inclement weather, no lightening strikes from Zeus or unexpected earthquakes in Ann Arbor can overcome. 

Michigan beat the Spartans by 34 last year. That should be the floor for this year's edition. 

Steve Deace: There's no way Sparty is going to turn it over seven times again this week, just based on the odds alone. Also, Rocky Lombardi did throw for well over 300 yards and Michigan State has some decent pass catchers. Sparty also held Rutgers to barely three yards-per-play. So although that was a horribly embarrassing debut for the Mel Tucker era, the numbers from that game indicate the 25-point spread for this game seems inflated. Don't get me wrong, thought, there is a talent chasm between the two programs right now that is probably going to grow a little more in the next recruiting cycle of two before it closes -- and eventually Jimmy Joes usually beat Xs and Os. There's just too much speed and athleticism on both sides of the ball for the Wolverines, and eventually that will have its day. After a sluggish start as Sparty comes out prideful and tries to slow the game down, Michigan's talent prevails, 38-17

Jake Sage: These teams could not be coming into this game in more different directions. The Wolverines just got a win on the road against a top 25 team for the second time since 2006, while the Spartans just lost to Rutgers who had not won a Big Ten game since 2017. Michigan looked superb on offense last week while the Spartans turned it over seven times.

The Wolverines are simply way better than Michigan State on both sides of the ball. It should be another outstanding week for Joe Milton and the Wolverines offense, as the Michigan defense will look even better than it did last week.

This game should look very similar to last year’s contest against Michigan State when Michigan embarrassed the Spartans 44-10. The Wolverines should be in control throughout the contest, and hopefully, we will get to see some reps from Michigan’s backup QB Cade McNamara in a blowout. The Wolverines will welcome Mel Tucker to the rivalry in style this weekend, and it will be a scary sight for him.

Michigan 45, Michigan State 10

Do you agree with these predictions? What is your thought on how the game plays out? Let us know!