The Spartans enter the Mel Tucker era as a double-digit favorite over the Scarlet Knights, providing a perfect opportunity for the new staff to begin the year with a win.
Take a look at our staff picks for the game and all of the other Big Ten action in Week 1.
Michigan State 28, Rutgers 17
The first game after the strangest offseason of all-time probably isn’t going to be pretty. Luckily for MSU and a first-year coaching staff, Rutgers is as good as a draw for opening week as the Spartans could have hoped for. I expect a slow start on both sides, with MSU finding its footing in the second half and eventually breaking away. I won’t be as worried about putting up 50 points on Rutgers as I will be looking for improvement as the game rolls on.
Michigan State 24, Rutgers 14
I am going to be completely honest and say that I have no idea what to expect when MSU takes the field on Saturday. It will be the first game since November 18th, 2006 that Mark Dantonio was not the head coach of Michigan State, and there are so many additional unknowns because of how weird this off-season has been. However, I refuse to believe that the Spartans will not be able to take care of business against Rutgers. The Mel Tucker era starts with a win, and for at least one week, we can all enjoy the return of Spartan football. Welcome back and Go Green.
Michigan State, 27, Rutgers 21
Rutgers has an influx of enough Big Ten transfer players and an energized new coaching staff that I think they will be a bad, but pesky out for teams this season. While they haven’t for sure named him the starter, I think Noah Vedral will be the starter and bring a needed upgrade to the QB position. Given the rust and new coaching staff among both teams, I’m betting this game is ugly. The added time for reviewing the playbook and hitting the weight room should be a bonus for the Spartans, and MSU keep the undefeated streak alive against the Scarlet Knights in Big Ten play.
Michigan State 24, Rutgers 17
It’s hard to predict what Michigan State will look like under a new staff. I think the Spartans are a better team than Rutgers, but there are too many unknowns to predict a blowout victory. I think we’ll see all three quarterbacks in some capacity, but Rocky Lombardi will be the first used. I expect the running game to find some success, which will help ease the quarterbacks into the game. Elijah Collins will put the Spartans ahead late in the fourth quarter, and the defense will slam the door on the Scarlet Knights.
Michigan State 35, Rutgers 20
I am going to do what I always do, and that is to let my computer decide this (and every) week’s winner. After all, who am I to doubt our future electronic overlords? In this case, the data from the preseason magazine did not predict that MSU was going to be great (maybe Top 50) but they certainly did not think much of Rutgers (maybe Top 90), as a result, “I” like MSU by a shade over two touchdowns. Let’s make it happen, gentlemen.
Michigan State 31, Rutgers 20
I’d be lying if I told you I was 100 percent confident about this game. While, yes, MSU was given the best possible scenario to kick off this weird season, it also comes with a huge downside if the Spartans stumble. In the end, though, I think MSU avoids joining the list of Big Ten teams who’ve lost to the Scarlet Knights since they rejoined the Big Ten: Maryland, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan.
Michigan State 20, Rutgers 7
Rutgers is bad, like, real bad. The score is going to look fine at the end, but Michigan State fans aren’t going to enjoy this game. Expect plenty of stalled drives that have nothing to do with the Rutgers defense that turn touchdowns into field goals. The defense will be fun to watch, and the quarterback battle will be interesting. But this is going to be one of those “Oh, the B1G is back” in the worst way possible.
Michigan State 27, Rutgers 16
I have no idea who is starting in the defensive backfield or even at quarterback for Michigan State. Do you know what else I don’t know? Literally a single player on Rutgers. MSU gets three rushing touchdowns, Rutgers scores a touchdown, a two point conversion, a safety and two field goals.
Some of The Only Colors staff will participate weekly in full conference picks, using Tallysight. You can keep up to date with our staff’s selections here.