Game of the Week: Michigan vs. Michigan State

TicketCity’s weekly ranking of the 10 hottest games in college football is designed to identify the match-ups with the strongest ticket demand on a weekly basis. This week Michigan State vs. Michigan ranks #1 on our list. Contributor Jeff K. gives the run-down on who will win this stage-setting match-up.

Can Michigan QB Devin Gardner pull off the win in East Lansing?


Why Michigan State will win the biggest game of week one:

Rivals square off as Michigan comes to East Lansing to face a red-hot Michigan State team. The Spartans have won four in a row and rank in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Defense has been paving the way for Michigan State. The Spartans lead the country in total defense and have five defensive scores. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner will need to protect the ball against an aggressive Michigan State defense that gives up only 12 points a game. Michigan is last in the Big Ten with 17 turnovers, and Gardner has been shaky on the road. The Spartan offense is not flashy, but it may only need to play mistake-free football to beat its hated rival.

Why I could be wrong:

Sometimes you just have to throw the stats out the window in a rivalry game (see: Texas against Oklahoma). Michigan is coming off a bye week, giving the Wolverines two weeks to prepare for the pressure they will see from Michigan State’s defense. If Gardner and the offense can strike fast, it will put pressure on a very vanilla Spartan offense. Michigan State ranks 89th in the NCAA in overall offense and just 109th in passing. Don’t be surprised to see the Wolverines stack the box and force Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook to beat them with his arm.

Why you don’t want to miss this one:

The stakes are high in this heated rivalry. The winner is in the driver’s seat for the Legends Division title and the Big Ten Championship game. This game could be a defensive battle. Michigan is averaging just 14 points a game against Michigan State the last three seasons. The Spartans, meanwhile, have struggled to put points on the board against quality opponents. A lot is on the line – recruiting edge, state bragging rights and the inside track to the conference championship game. Who do you think will win the Battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy?

Jeff Kubiszyn is a long-time college football fan and joins TicketCity this season to highlight the biggest game of the week. He is by no means a college football expert, except at the dinner table. 

A Weekend of Upsets: Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin and Wake Forest Hit the Showers

Wow, what an intense weekend of college football.  I had more fun over at the local tavern this weekend watching the games with a mug of suds than I did when Texas whooped Arkansas (oh wait, that was this weekend too.)  The tides turned in the record books over the course of one long afternoon, and some top 25 teams let their true colors show.  The AP Poll is changing this week, and here’s why:

#8 Alabama defeated #3 ranked Georgia on Saturday, 41-30.  Yep, the Tide pretty much rolled all over Mark Richt and the Bulldogs in their own home stadium, making it look insanely easy.  In the first two quarters, the Tide rolled ahead by 31 points.  That’s just embarrassing – to have someone come in on your turf and lay down the smack.  Never mind my preseason predictions, Alabama is making itself the exception to the rule.  After the game, Bama Coach Nick Saban expressed true skeptic’s resolve when asked if his team is a contender for the national title: “After five games?  Let’s see when we get a full body of work at the end of the season.”

QB Jevan Snead led unranked Ole Miss over #4 Florida on Saturday, in a crucial upset win for the Rebels.  Snead threw for two touchdown passes and ran for another in Saturday’ s match up.  The Gators gave up the ball three time on turnovers during the game, and Florida QB Tim Tebow took all the blame:  “I’m Sorry, I’m extremely sorry,” said Tebow, who was hoping to lead his Florida team to an undefeated season.  The fact that Snead was a former Florida recruit (who backed out of his commitment when he found out that Florida was going after Tebow) made this game especially poignant for the Mississippi team.  Though not a blowout, the game was a nail-biter to the end, as the potentially tying extra point attempt was blocked to give Ole Miss the win.

All I remember about the Michigan – Wisconsin game this weekend was flipping the channel in the fourth quarter: I thought the game was already over.  Boy, was I wrong.  Michigan was trailing by 12, and all of a sudden the floodgates opened.  Brandon Minor ran for a 34-yard touchdown, followed by a 25-yard interception return by John Thompson to give the Wolverines the first lead of the night.  Five minutes later, Sam Mcguffie ran for 3 yards to give the Wolverines a 27-19 lead over the #9 Wisconsin team.  Wisconsin scored one final TD, but could not connect on the two-point conversion, and the upset was cast.

Navy showed Wake Forest where the end zone was located this weekend, more than once.  The Midshipmen handed a defeat to a ranked team for the first time in over 20 years, making this weekend’s game for Wake Forest an embarrassing matter.  The Midshipmen capitalized on six turnovers by the Demon Deacons, putting the ball in the end zone for three TD’s and the win.  #16 Wake Forest will be wishing it never let the ball leave its hands Saturday, as Navy celebrates an unbelievable win.

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