This is an under-rated huge game this week, with a pair of 3-0 teams that have gotten better from last year, trying to assert themselves in the national conversation.
Here's how our staff sees Saturday's game playing out:
RUTGERS at MICHIGAN – Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Spread: Michigan (-20.5)
O/U Total: 50
Brendan Gulick: Michigan 27, Rutgers 24
Michigan looks like a completely different team so far in 2021, with competent play at quarterback. They lead the country in rushing offense and are third in scoring offense. That said, they've also not played a particularly stiff schedule yet and this Saturday should be their best test to date.
Rutgers continues to look like they are moving in the right direction. They are incredibly disciplined - they've committed fewer penalties than any team in America - their third down defense has been great, they've flipped the field as well as anyone with great special teams and their turnover margin is outstanding. Similar to Michigan though, they haven't played against a particularly high quality opponent quite yet.
I'm actually looking forward to this game and think it may be more competitive than some folks expect. I think Michigan wins a close game at home, but Rutgers easily covers a huge spread.
Andrew Lind: Michigan 28, Rutgers 24
The Scarlet Knights and Wolverines haven’t played anybody of note so far this season, so this game will tell us which team’s 3-0 record is legitimate. And if it’s anywhere as fun as last year’s triple-overtime game, we’re in for a treat.
Both teams are improved from last year, particularly Michigan on offense and Rutgers on defense. This game will come down to which team can hold onto the ball, though, as the Scarlet Knights are second in the nation in turnover margin (+8) and have yet to cough it up themselves.
That said, expect the Wolverines to force a key fumble to set up the game-winning touchdown.
Eddie Marotta: Michigan 38, Rutgers 17
For those Buckeye fans who haven't had the heart to sit down and watch (X)ichigan's offense this season, let's hope Saturday's 63-point performance wasn't the first time this year you saw them. Rutgers will throw everything and the kitchen sink at the Wolverines to try and mitigate the talent gap, but ultimately, it won't matter. Michigan is the better team, and won't fall victim to a trap against the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has their moments in this game, but it won't be enough to come out on top.
Caleb Spinner: Michigan 56, Rutgers 18
Behold the third mismatch of this week. Michigan proved to the nation they can play down Ronnie Bell, and possess one of the better offenses in college football. Rutgers in the past has been the welcome mat of the Big Ten: a team on which everyone stomps. This year, and against this team, will be no different. Michigan massacres Rutgers, 56-18.
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