We’re back for more game previews for the 2023 Michigan State football season and we’ll just get right into it with the Michigan game on Oct. 21.
vs. Michigan (Oct. 21)
There will rarely be a circumstance where I will pick Michigan to win a game against Michigan State. State could be going into this game 0-6, Michigan favored by 32.5, and I’ll tell you all the reasons why the Spartans have a shot at winning. Mainly because we’ve already seen Michigan embarrass themselves as the heavy favorite multiple times.
So instead of the usual statistics I use for my game previews, I am just going to bring up some facts with the sole purpose of upsetting Michigan fans. Enjoy.
The old saying is to “throw out the record books when these two play” but that’s not necessarily the case. Michigan typically wins this this game when they are having an exceptional year, and Michigan State is awful. When Michigan State is ranked in the AP, meaning its record is pretty good, it’s 6-3 against Michigan since 2003. When Michigan is ranked and Michigan State is not ranked, Michigan has the advantage 5-4, which doesn’t seem very good when you are the outright favorite, right?
You would think Michigan being ranked while having a down year would mean they would dominate those games, but I guess arrogance can get in the way of toughness sometimes.
Mel Tucker, who I’m told is stealing money from the university, wins 66.667 percent of his games against the Wolverines, but that’s nothing compared to Jim Harbaugh’s record against the Spartans. There’s so much talk on social media that he must have an insane win percentage against MSU, probably like 98 percent according to the fanbase. Let me just check some notes and, hm, that can’t be right… only .500? So, in any given year, no matter the records, no matter the MSU coach, this rivalry is dead even since Harbaugh was hired.
Now, Michigan fans are thinking that there is no way a new quarterback can come in and beat the big bad Wolverines but again, they would be wrong.
Quarterbacks who are making their first start against Michigan are 5-3 since 2001. Jeff Smoker, Kirk Cousins, Connor Cook, Rocky Lombardi, and Payton Thorne all won their first games as a starting quarterback against Michigan. Whether it’s Noah Kim or Katin Houser that’s starting for MSU this year, they have a 62.5 percent chance of winning, historically speaking.
A healthy offensive line from the Spartans should be able to wear down the Michigan defense that lost three starters to the draft and a starting safety to the transfer portal.
Defensively, the Spartans bring back a ton of experience, especially in the linebacker group and have added more pieces to the secondary. Couple that with Michigan losing their two best offensive linemen, tight end, and three wide receivers (including their top wideout being seven picks away from being Mr. Irrelevant). Seems like too much attrition for the Wolverines. With all these numbers thrown around, it sure looks like Michigan State can win this game at home.
Prediction: Michigan State 31, Michigan 28