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Pick up game: TOC makes Week 6 predictions

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The Only Colors staff makes picks ahead of MSU’s game against Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten

NCAA Football: Iowa at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Michigan week – the week families, friends and couples get pushed to opposite corners, the smart ones in green the obnoxious ones in yellow. The Spartans are heading to Ann Arbor to take on the undefeated Michigan Wolverines Saturday night.

While it may seem like this is a must-win for MSU fans, the team is in a different situation. A loss to Michigan wouldn’t be a surprise nationally, and wouldn’t do much to change the Spartans’ season outlook – but a win over the Wolverines could be a season changer. If MSU pulls the upset, they will move a step closer to the top of the Big Ten East, not to mention the help it would give to recruiting.

Coming into the game as double-digit underdogs, picking Michigan State here isn’t easy. Check out how confident The Only Colors staff is in the Spartans. Along with their picks for the rest of the Big Ten slate.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 17, Michigan 14

This just feels like a game where Michigan State plays with that chip on its shoulder and shows it is not that far apart from Michigan as a program. Both of these defenses rank in the top-five of total defense in the country, with Michigan at No. 1 and Michigan State at No. 5. Both defensive units also rank in the top-five of passing defense efficiency and in the top-10 of passing yards allowed. Plus, the hate is real in this game.

This will be a hard-hitting slugfest. Both offenses have question marks, but I think Michigan State has a much better offense than the Wolverines have seen thus far. MSU also has the best defense that the struggling Michigan offense will face in this young season. I don't want to discount what the Michigan defense has done, it has been very impressive, but I think Brian Lewerke's feet and ability to throw on the run is the x-factor in this game. If Michigan State doesn't turn the ball over or commit unnecessary penalties, I believe the Spartans can control the clock.

I see this game coming down to the final minute once again. With Michigan up 14-10 with a few seconds on the clock, they'll attempt a punt, have trouble with the snap and Jalen Watts-Jackson will snatch the ball...oh sorry, I was just reliving a good dream. MSU takes it with a game-winning field goal by Matt Coghlin.

Illinois vs. Iowa

Penn State vs. Northwestern

Charleston Southern vs. Indiana

Minnesota vs. Purdue

Maryland vs. Ohio State

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Matt Sheehan

Michigan State 13, Michigan 20

I can't see this being anything else than a low-scoring game. I also can't see MSU getting a run game going against their front seven, but I know we'll still call way too many runs up the middle. Luckily, our front seven has also been solid this year and UM's offensive line has been questionable. While this will be a tough game to sit through, I think the ending will be even worse. I see this coming down to a late field goal to ice, giving national media their chance to once again romanticize the idea of a grown man sleeping in a high school kid's bedroom for the sake of recruiting.

Penn State vs. Northwestern

Illinois vs. Iowa

Minnesota vs. Purdue

Ohio State vs. Maryland

Wisconsin vs. Nebraska

Austin Smith

I'm not picking a score but I will say that Mark Dantonio, as MSU Head Coach, is 9-0 against the spread when he takes on Michigan. I expect a close ugly game.

Penn St @ Northwestern

Illinois @ Iowa

Minnesota @ Purdue

Charleston Southern @ Indiana

Maryland @ Ohio State

Wisconsin @ Nebraska

Matt Hoeppner

Michigan State 17, Michigan 23

As much as I would love to pick the Spartans, I just can't do it. I certainly believe they have a chance, but at the end of the day I just haven't seen enough from the offense to convince me that they can score enough against a defense as tough as Michigan's. And while the Spartan defense has been pretty good themselves, Michigan has a tendency to wear teams down as the game goes on before pulling away late. That is as much a product of their defense keeping the other team's offense off the field as anything else, but it works.

The Spartans will hang in there, but I just don't think Brian Lewerke is going to be able to do it all himself, and the inability to run the ball will come back to haunt them. The Wolverines win, but it isn't the blowout some people think it will be.

Penn State vs. Northwestern

Iowa vs. Illinois

Purdue vs. Minnesota

Indiana vs. Charleston Southern

Ohio State vs. Maryland

Wisconsin vs. Nebraska

Kyle Thele

Michigan State 23, Michigan 21

Sure, why not. The Spartans defense will keep them in this game and then a couple of big plays from the offense late will be the turning point. There is something about playing Michigan on the road that tends to bring out the best in Michigan State, and I expect it to happen again.

Michigan is a really good team, no doubt about that. But they aren’t elite, and definitely susceptible to attacks. This win will change the outlook on the season, and could change the outlook on the Spartans for the next three years.

Illinois vs. Iowa

Penn State vs. Northwestern

Charleston Southern vs. Indiana

Minnesota vs. Purdue

Maryland vs. Ohio State

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota