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TOC Staff Picks: Michigan State vs. Michigan

Can the Spartans win another one in Ann Arbor?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State will head down the road to Ann Arbor to play rival Michigan this Saturday night in a game that has been brewing for two weeks. With both teams coming off a bye week, who knows what we may see.

Both teams should be well-rested and have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. The Spartans come in around 23-point underdogs, but we’ve seen this story before. Just two years ago, MSU upset the Wolverines in the “Big House” with a similar spread on the game.

Our writers break down the upcoming rivalry game and predict whether or not Michigan State can shock the college football world once again.

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan 34, Michigan State 27

This game will be a lot closer than many people expect, and Michigan State easily covers the spread. However, Michigan has zero reason to lose this game. The Wolverines have much more talent on the roster, and while that hasn’t been an issue for Spartans in the past, I am just not sure Michigan State has the horses to upset Michigan this time around. With that said, MSU hopefully used the bye week to get healthy and should return several players on defense. The Spartans keep things close throughout, but Michigan goes up by double-digits in the fourth quarter, with MSU adding a late touchdown to make things interetsing, but ultimately falling short.

Kevin Knight

Michigan 38, Michigan State 21

All good things must come to an end, and Mel Tucker’s winning streak against scUM wasn’t meant to last. Live to win another season.

Paul Fanson

Michigan 40, Michigan State 14

On paper, this is a game that the Wolverines should win going away, right? That is certainly what my computer says, and that still might happen. But I can pretty easily plot a course for victory for the Green and White. If MSU can stop the run with a suddenly healthy defensive line, it will force Michigan to air it out. If Michigan throws a lot, J.J. McCarthy, is prone to mistakes and struggles with his deep ball. If that happens, the Spartans can stay in the game.

If the defense can hang in there, then the result might hinge on the play of MSU’s Payton Thorne and Jayden Reed. I can easily imagine a lot of instances of “throw the ball up there and let Reed make a play.” How many will connect? How many pass interference flags can Reed draw? Can Thorne avoid the costly mistakes? I am not sure it will be enough for an upset win, but my gut says this game will be a lot closer than anyone expects.

Zach Manning

Michigan 45, Michigan State 13

I won’t let one win fool me. Michigan State’s win over Wisconsin was much-needed, but it didn’t come without flaws. This MSU football team still isn’t very good, and Michigan is good at beating bad Michigan State teams.

MSU will hang around for a little bit, but the Wolverines are better at nearly every position. In the end, Michigan wins back the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

Brad LaPlante

Michigan 33, Michigan State 20

I know this is everyone’s “anything can happen” game, but every year outside of 2001, 2020’s COVID season and 2021, the winner of this game has finished higher in the Big Ten. Those MSU teams that “upset” Michigan, actually were really great MSU teams. This MSU team isn’t great. I just don’t see it happening. Michigan is the better team.

Amani Godfrey

Michigan 37, Michigan State 27

Michigan State will need to control the Michigan running game to have a chance Saturday night. I believe we’ll see a hard-fought effort from the Spartans, probably a few trick plays from offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and the offense as well. At the end of the day, Michigan is the deeper team and that will prove to be big in the later stage of Saturday’s game.

Brendan Moore

Michigan 34, Michigan State 14

Michigan is going to dominate the line of scrimmage. J.J. McCarthy won’t need to force the ball downfield in the passing game. Blake Corum will have a big day on the ground. Unlike last season, this game will be slow and methodical.

This will be one of the more uneventful Michigan-Michigan State games in recent memory. The Spartans will cover with a late touchdown, but Michigan will be in firm control for the majority of the 60 minutes.


Michigan 41, Michigan State 17

I’m encouraged by the fact Michigan State is getting healthier and is coming off its best game versus a power conference team, however, Michigan presents a team better in all phases of the game.

I think this could be a relatively close game going into the third quarter, but with repeated brute force in the running game and enough chunk plays through the air, I believe Michigan is going to impose its will and rack up more points than the Spartans can overcome.

If MSU can stifle the Wolverines’ rushing attack, cause some turnovers and maximize its scoring opportunities, there is a path to victory — but I just don’t see that happening under the lights on Halloween weekend in Ann Arbor.

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.