Michigan 7-0, Michigan St. 7-0. Both teams ranked in the top 10 in all of college football. College Gameday will be there. Fox Big Game crew will be there. All the eyes of the nation and world of college football fans will be staring at East Lansing and Spartan Stadium this Saturday. These two teams haven't been this good when they play each other since The Beatles landed in America. I think I was born that year. That is if it was in 1965. Duffy Daugherty, Bo Schembechler, George Perles, Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio, Jim Harbaugh. Coaches that have come and gone. Kirk Gibson, Desmond Howard, Kirk Cousins, Tom Brady. Just some of the players that have been through this epic rivalry.
I talked with Jack Ebling, author of "The Perfect Ten," on my show, The Captain Lou Extravaganza, this past Tuesday. I asked if this rivalry has taken a more fiercer turn in the last 20 years. He admitted that things have ratcheted up, especially after the "Little Brother" comment from ex-wolverine, Mike Hart in 2007. Mark Dantonio, with his intensity, helped take the rivalry to another level. Michigan State won 7 out of the 10 that Dantonio was involved in. Jim Harbuagh is 3-3 in his 6 games at the helm Of Michigan. But the stakes this Saturday take this game to an entirely new level.
Both teams are currently tied atop the B1G Ten East along with Ohio St. With a win, either team could crop up to the Top 5, and with the first poll of the college football playoff this coming Tuesday, the timing could not be more right. Michigan State was picked last in the division this year. Michigan was picked fourth. Indiana was the sexy pick, as was Penn St. Both are underachieving and in danger of falling towards the bottom with Rutgers. This is keeping both fan bases on the edge of their seats, and to be honest, a little more quiet than usual.
While I was also talking with Ebling on my show Tuesday night, we both wondered aloud if there will be another big play or legendary play to add the the folklore that is Michigan-Michigan St. Will there be another Spartan Bob incident with the extra long second of play as in 1999? Will there be another trip in the end zone that isn't called, like in 1990 in Spartan Stadium. How about another Perfect Ten? Blocked Punt? That would be fun! Or will it just be a knock down drag out 1975 style game.
Michigan as a great two headed monster in their running game. Michigan State has a Heisman trophy candidate in Kenneth Walker. Michigan State has some big play threats in Naylor and Reed. Michigan's defense has been above average this year. Michigan State's defense has been impressive, as well. In my humble opinion, Michigan should contain Walker, but I am not sure if they will be able to contain QB Payton Thorne and his weapons. I do not think they will stray too far from their running attack. If they can sustain the drives, they keep that Spartan offense off the field, which is a great defensive strategy.
Michigan-Michigan St. The best in state football rivalry in the country. 60 miles different. Both teams relevant for the B1g Ten championship and who knows from there. Again, I haven't seen the fan bases so cautiously optimistic for this game is some time. It is usually one team a lot better than the other. Never both teams undefeated and the top 8. This is a huge game, did I say that to you already?
So ok, who is going to win this game? Wow, i knew you were going to ask me that. Michigan has a bad taste in its mouth. They got throttled last year in Ann Arbor. They have such an improved defense. Michigan State has such a potent offense. Did I mention both teams are 7-0? Top 8? Mel has the Woodshed ready! Ok, Ok, ok..........Michigan 28, Michigan State 23. Paul Bunyan goes back to Ann Arbor!
The Captain Lou Extravaganza
Tuesday nights 8-10pmET
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