In-State Big 10 Rivalry College Football Picks: MSU vs. Michigan

Joe Catalano

Friday, October 16, 2015 3:32 PM GMT

Michigan State Spartans give Coach Harbaugh his first major test as the #12 Michigan Wolverines have exceeded expectations. See who we like as our college football pick.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, October 16th at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to 5Dimes, the Wolverines are a 7 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 41.5 points. I bet the San Francisco 49'ers are missing Jim Harbaugh now. Although his first season at his alma mater has been a complete success, this is when the schedule gets tough and Harbaugh has is in the perfect setting to have his first tough test.

Unbreakable
That's stating a fact where Michigan is concerned as they're defense is 1st in the nation, allowing a mere 6.3 points per game while averaging 30 points offensively. They don't have an overewhelming offense, but it's well-balanced and when a team allows less than a TD per game, they'e going to come out on the winning end almost all of the time. This is actually a similar type of team that Jim Harbaugh had in the pros. Their defense was top-notch, the offense was average with a quarterback that was mistake-prone, but the offense was also well balanced.

In this case, Jake Rudock is running the ship. Most of Michigan's scoring comes off of the run game. Rudock has thrown for just under 200 yards per game, but must eliminate the interceptions as he has 5 TD passes, but has been picked off 6 times this season,

As a senior, he shoud be better than that and no matter how good their defense is, this type of production isn't good enough to be an elite team away from home.

 

De'veon Smith
He's listed as questionable, but I have no doubt that the junior running back out of Warren, Ohio won't miss a game such as this. Smith leads the team in rushing with 390 yards and 4 TD's but is coming off of a frustrating week last week. I expect him to come out full strength and put up some big numbers for Michigan. 

This is a rushing attack that's spread out. Ty Isaac, who is a massive 6 foot 3, 240 pounds, is responsible for 200 yards rushing, but has only carried the ball 28 times. This keeps the players fresh and quite frankly, Michigan is a work in progress that wins off of their defense.

 

Battle-Tested
This is a Michigan State Spartans  who have a win over Oregon on their resume and are perfect on the season. Being a 7 point underdog on the college football odds might be a bit high, but being on the road and facing the Michigan defense are the two issues to deal with where MSU is concerned.

 

Cook to Burbridge
It will be mighty interesting to see how this top 1-2 punch deals with the opposition. Out of Cook's 12 TD passes on the season, 4 of them have went to Aaron Burbridge and Burbridge is definitely the main target in this offense as he leads the team with 34 receptions for 560 yards. We could see him be used as a decoy or he might still get his catches. This will be a huge question in this game.

Michigan State isn't a one trick pony as they have two legitimate running threats in LJ Scott and Madre London. Collectively, they've accounted for over 800 yards rushing and 9 TD's. Cook is also not one to make mistakes and the element of surprise should help the Spartans. 

I love Michigan State in my college football picks, as Michigan hasn't faced a team of this caliber before.

College Football Pick: Michigan State +7 at 5Dimes

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