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TOC Staff Picks: Tulsa

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In the opening game of the season, can the Spartans knock off Tulsa? See what our writers think.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State football is finally back, as the Spartans will take on Tulsa tonight. Our writers have a few predictions for the game and this weekend’s Big Ten action.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 34, Tulsa 10

The Spartans have historically looked sluggish in season openers under Mark Dantonio, so I expect a slower start. With the offense still a big question mark and the defense expected to dominate once again, I see a low-scoring first half before Brian Lewerke finds his footing in the second half and the Spartans go an offensive onslaught (if that’s even possible with this team). The defense doesn’t allow Tulsa to score until deep into the third quarter and allows just 10 points total.

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

Paul Fanson

Since I am a data guy, I am just going to let my spreadsheet make the picks. It says (with rounding to the nearest reasonable football score):

MSU 45, Tulsa 10

I am not sure my spreadsheet watched the Redbox Bowl, but who am I to question our future machine over-lords?

Other spreadsheet picks (it likes all the favorites this week):

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

Nevada over Purdue would be the most likely upset, and although a Middle Tennessee State upset over Michigan has a probability of only 1.7%, if it were come to pass, it would be a sure sign that God exists and that he does, in fact, love us very much.

Matt Sheehan

Michigan State 27, Tulsa 17

I know better than to pick MSU to cover its 23-point spread on opening night. When you go to opening night at Spartan Stadium, it’s now a comfortable feeling to leave underwhelmed. That’s what Im expecting on Friday, but hey, A WIN IS A WIN BABY. Offense looks fine, defense look good and a 1-0 start to the season looks great.

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

Zach Manning

Michigan State 24, Tulsa 10

Like Matt, I don’t expect MSU to cover the point spread. It’s hard to know what to expect from the offense, and after last year I don’t want to set my expectations too high. I think Lewerke has a solid game with two passing touchdowns, while the defense adds a touchdown as well. The Spartans will be in a tight game for three quarters but pull away in the fourth.

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs.Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

Matt Hoeppner

MSU 35, Tulsa 10

The Spartans get off and running with a fairly easy win over Tulsa. The defense does its job and holds the opponents down for the majority of the game, while the offense eventually gets things in gear and puts some points on the board to help MSU pull away in the second half. It won’t be a pretty performance, but it will be an encouraging one.

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

Kyle Thele

Michigan State 34, Tulsa 20

This will be a standard MSU opener. The Spartans offense will start slow before finally taking advantage of great field position and running away to a huge lead. Then, right on time, the offense will turn the ball over a few times and the defensive backups will let up one long drive of their own, allowing a couple of late Tulsa scores. Just enough to make everyone feel a little weird.

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa

David Harns

MSU 27, Tulsa 9

Wisconsin vs. South Florida

UMass vs. Rutgers

Purdue vs. Nevada

Middle Tennessee vs. Michigan

Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio State

South Alabama vs. Nebraska

Howard vs. Maryland

Akron vs. Illinois

Indiana vs. Ball State

Idaho vs. Penn State

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Miami (OH) vs. Iowa