Score predictions for Ohio State-Michigan State, other key matchups
Originally Published: November 6, 2014
By Phil Steele | ESPN Insider
Each week during the 2014 college football season, I will offer up my picks and scores for the biggest games of the week, in addition to a handful of other key matchups.
Last week, my picks went 8-2 straight up and 5-5 against the spread. My overall record stands at 77-23 straight up and 50-49-1 against the spread.
While the playoff picture remains murky — with 12 one-loss teams still left — this week’s slate of games involving several marquee matchups should bring further clarity to what has been one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory.
No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 8 Michigan State Spartans (minus-3.5)
Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, ABC
“College Gameday” will be on site for this important Big Ten matchup that will not only decide the East Division but also serve as a playoff elimination game. Ohio State has won their past four trips to East Lansing and has not lost here since 1999.
The Buckeyes will be playing with revenge in mind after the Spartans ended their 24-game win streak and BCS title hopes in last year’s Big Ten championship game. OSU tied a Big Ten record last week by winning their 20th straight regular-season conference game, dispatching Illinois 55-14.
The key matchup to watch will be how Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett fares against the No. 5 defense in the country, as he did struggle on the road two weeks ago against a formidable Penn State defense, totaling just 74 passing yards.
On the other side, the Spartans come in off a bye and could use another marquee win to bolster their playoff résumé. This will be the first November night game in Spartan Stadium history, as head coach Mark Dantonio is 7-2 in home night games. However, they are just 4-8 ATS as a Big Ten home favorite while Urban Meyer is 2-0 as a road underdog, including an upset over Michigan State two years ago. I look for this one to go down to the wire.
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