Saturday, December 7, 2013

Big Ten Championship Game Prediction

This game is a contrast of many things.
Ohio State and Michigan State couldn’t be much more different when it comes to their football programs.
Ohio State is the flashy, brand new, high-priced car. Michigan State is the weathered, rusted-out, used mid-90s Chevy Nova that takes a few tries to start.
Even this season, Ohio State was expected to be where it is. The Buckeyes were the preseason No. 2 team and many were handing them (including myself) the Big Ten Championship before the season even began. They were, and are, considered the jewel of the Big Ten conference.
Michigan State, on the other hand, wasn’t expected to be quite so successful. While there was some potential, the Spartans weren’t expected to go unbeaten in the Big Ten this year, largely due to their less-than-impressive offense.
Still, despite their differences, both teams have found their way to Indianapolis tonight.
However, the Spartans have taken the road less traveled to get there.
Ohio State may look better and perform better, but in my eyes, Michigan State is the team that will win this game.
The Spartans have been scratching and clawing their way up the hill to respect in the Big Ten. The numbers are there, but the final piece to the puzzle is still missing. That piece is an outright title and an appearance in the Rose Bowl.
Michigan State knows adversity and it knows what grinding out a win is all about.
Ohio State has won with flash and fireworks. The Buckeyes are all about style and winning with flare. They looked unbeatable against a light schedule and seemed well on their way to their destiny of an unbeaten season, until last week.
Perhaps I am putting too much stock into one game, but Ohio State exposed itself last week against a wounded Michigan team. The Wolverines actually took the fight to the Buckeyes, especially the OSU defense, and the Buckeyes didn’t respond too well.
Sure, the offense put up 42 points, but did so on a defense that can’t match what Michigan State has in any area. Conversely, the Buckeyes allowed 41 points to an offense that couldn’t post positive rushing yards against the Spartans.
Make no mistake, Michigan State is going to punch Ohio State right in the face today. The question is, how will the Buckeyes respond? This will be the first time this season Ohio State may not be able to push around its opponent. The bullies may find themselves getting bullied, and most bullies don’t respond well to that.
Ohio State has the talent to win this game, but I truly think Michigan State has the right team at the right time to win this game. This is the Super Bowl for MSU, while Ohio State still has its sights set on a BCS Championship Game.
I think Michigan State established the physical tone early and let
Ohio State know they are in for a fight. The offense will put up some early points and the defense will post some early stops. I expect Ohio State to adjust, as Urban Meyer is a great coach, but ultimately, he can’t make his players tougher over 48 minutes of football.
It will be the toughness and grit that will carry Michigan State to this win tonight. It won’t be pretty all the time – it never is – but that is the way the Spartans like it.

Michigan State 27, Ohio State 20

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