Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Little Brother Scale After Week 5

It seems like with each passing week, Michigan State and Michigan are losing their appeal in the national football picture.
The impression of Denard Robinson’s performance against Notre Dame still lingered on in the bye week and Michigan State once again looked flat in a loss to Ohio State.
With both teams now sitting outside the top 25 rankings, the season already feels like a disappointment.
But, due to the struggles of the Big Ten, both the Spartans and the Wolverines have the ability to win the conference title.
It is going to take some work and a lot of improvement, but the possibility is still there.
MSU is making some changes to its offense in hopes to create a spark. The Spartans are currently last in the Big Ten in scoring at just 20 points per game.
The MSU defense does lead the Big Ten in scoring (12.8 ppg) and yards (266.4 ypg), but the Spartans have been susceptible to the big play and it has cost them in both of their losses.
For Michigan, the defense started slow but has been showing improvement. The Wolverines actually have the top passing defense in the Big Ten, but have the second-worst rushing defense in the conference.
Offensively, Michigan has the ability to score and score often. It also has the ability to turn the ball over often. Denard Robinson has been hit-or-miss, as he has eight interceptions this year, which sits third in the nation for most INTs.
This week, both teams have what would be considered “easier” games on their Big Ten schedule.
Michigan State goes to woeful Indiana and Michigan heads to Purdue.
The Spartans should have no difficulty in this game, but stranger things have happened. If this game in any way resembles MSU’s recent performances, it is going to be a very long year in East Lansing.
Michigan has a tougher opponent, as the Boilermakers look like a possible contender. Winning on the road isn’t always easy, but if Michigan expects to contend for the Big Ten title, this one is a must.
The Wolverines have had two weeks to prepare for this game and Denard Robinson said he would be “re-focused” following his performance at Notre Dame. This game is a statement game for Michigan, but it is yet to be seen what that statement will be.
When it comes to the weekly scale, I still feel like Michigan is gaining on the Spartans. Michigan has lost to tougher opponents and lost both games on the road. MSU has been in a three-week funk and their issues keep piling up, as the Spartans lost center Travis Jackson for the season.
I don’t know that MSU can do anything to improve its offensive line going forward. Michigan can correct its issues on offense by limiting turnovers and the defense should keep getting better.
MSU still has the edge in the scale due to their four-year hold on the rivalry, but things are shaping up for a change in power if the Spartans don’t get their act together.
Little Brother Scale: MSU 16 ½, Michigan 15 ½

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