Washington (Sept. 16)
Predicted Spread: Washington -7.5
This matchup was quite eye-opening for Spartan fans last season, sparking the “Fire Scotty Hazelton” movement. Michael Penix Jr. carved up the MSU secondary. It wasn’t even men vs. boys. It looked like NFL vs. a middle school team.
Then to add insult to injury, once the receiver caught the ball, there was no one within 10 yards of him. It was a joke, and it showed the blueprint to beat MSU which Minnesota promptly followed. The offense wasn’t much better, getting their first first down with 7:20 left in the second quarter. The game was over from the first MSU three-and-out and only got uglier from there.
Yes, I do think the game will be closer this year. Yes, I do think the Spartans are a better team than last year. Yes, I do think Penix Jr. will get invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation this year.
Washington has all the pieces to win the Pac-12 and get into the College Football Playoff for a second time. But they also have to fly across the country, which seems to spell disaster for most West Coast teams. For all these reasons, I still think Washington wins a close one, but what we see out of the Spartans will be encouraging instead of what happened last year.
Prediction: Washington 38, Michigan State 35