Spartans-Buckeyes filled with College Football Playoff, Big Ten intrigue – The Athletic


No. 4 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State meet Saturday afternoon in Ohio Stadium in a game dripping with College Football Playoff and Big Ten title race intrigue, a couple of Heisman Trophy contenders and no margin for error for either team.

The Buckeyes have won eight in a row since losing to Oregon in Week 2. The Spartans suffered their first loss two weeks ago against Purdue but bounced back with a comfortable win against Maryland. The two teams are 9-1 with everything left to play for, setting the stage for one of the biggest games of the college football season — despite what Ohio State being an 18.5-point favorite might tell you.

A big game deserves some extra breakdown. Beat writers Bill Landis (Ohio State) and Colton Pouncy (Michigan State) discuss:

Landis: Colton, this is a huge game. Top-10 matchup. “GameDay” is in town. Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff implications hover over all of it. And then I look at the spread and see that it’s nearly three touchdowns, which is about what it was when Ohio State played Purdue last week. Somehow, it’s a bigger spread than what Ohio State was favored by against Rutgers earlier in the year.

Am I missing something here? Michigan State looks like a very solid, well-coached team that plays with a bit of an edge and should be game to give the Buckeyes all they can handle this week. Is it that I’m just overlooking the obvious: Michigan State has the worst pass defense in the country. Ohio State can throw it all over the yard. Is that all anyone really needs to take into account when analyzing this game?

Pouncy: That certainly factors into the spread. Michigan State is one of the worst pass defenses in the country. Granted, the defense has faced the most pass attempts per game of any FBS team in the country (47.



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