I’m fading Michigan State this season.
After posting an 11-2 season in 2021, the Spartans slid to 5-7 last year, and coach Mel Tucker’s team should continue to disappoint.
The Spartans are weak at quarterback after Payton Thorne hit the portal, and I don’t love their receiving corps after losing Keon Coleman and Jayden Reed.
Meanwhile, Central Michigan has some interesting upside.
Michigan State vs. Central Michigan pick
The Chippewas have a dangerous defense that returns nine starters, including three of four on the defensive line (thereby neutralizing Sparty’s biggest strength).
The Chips played better than their 4-8 record last season, getting hamstrung by a -18 turnover differential.
The offense is hard to project, but I’m hopeful for two reasons: The offensive line should improve in the second year of offensive coordinator Paul Petrino’s system.
And QB Bert Emanuel has tremendous upside.
He’s a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who rushed for 466 yards at 7.6 yards per carry across three starts last year.
If Emanuel capitalizes on his rushing potential while showing competency as a passer, the sky’s the limit.
Betting on College Football?
I’m banking on that upside while fading a Sparty team that I’m low on.
Central Michigan should keep this game within two scores — our Action Network Power Ratings make Sparty only a five-point favorite.
For what it’s worth, Michigan and Michigan State have only three combined losses against the direction Michigan MAC schools since 1920, and all three were Central Michigan upsetting Michigan State in East Lansing (1991, 1992, 2009).
The pick: Central Michigan +14.5
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