Will Oregon cover vs. Michigan State?
EUGENE, OR (The Spread) - Will Oregon cover as a double-digit favorite versus Michigan State tonight? Let's take a look at the matchup.
Michigan State @ Oregon (September 6, 6:30pm ET, FOX)
On paper this is the most anticipated non-conference match up of the college football season. Both teams have aspirations of being one of the top 4 teams at the end of the season and the loser is likely on the outside looking in. The score won't be the only impact this game has on the 4 team playoff. If Michigan State can come away with a victory all of sudden the PAC 12 takes a back seat to the Big Ten.
About Michigan State:
Michigan State had a magic year in 2013 winning the Rose Bowl and going 13-1 and as long as Mark D'Antonio is the coach this team will win games regardless of who they have to replace. Offensively this team returns 7 of their 11 starters, but 3 of them reside on the offensive line. They will get Connor Cook back at QB who really led this team down the stretch and finished with 22 passing TD's to just 6 interceptions. He's backed by two senior RB's as well. Defensively this team was arguably #1 last year and they'll have to replace 5 starters. Really they had the prefect mix of talent, experience and system a year ago and now they need to replace 3 starting linemen 2 of their primary linebackers and the best CB in the nation. They should be just fine at the end of the year, but I do believe they are just catching this Oregon team at the wrong time.
Oregon returns nine offensive starters and that's just a handful for a defense that's returning just five starters. Oregon will return Marcus Mariotta who definitely has a chip on his shoulder and he's lucky enough to be playing behind 5 returning offensive linemen who combine for 108 starts. The skill positions are never an issue for Oregon as they recruit well there and they will have an advantage at those positions.
I don't care if the Spartans defense ends up being nasty by the end of the year - it's going to be a challenge early on the road. Defenses get better by practice and coaching and it's just hard to believe they will be up to snuff in this game. Oregon really has the advantage in the trenches which is rare to say when you go up against MIchigan State, but they have five experienced offensive linemen who are udner rated going up against a rebuilt front seven, which features five new starters and they get to do it all at home. When you go back to look at the Spartans they actually were not that good in run defense when they faced rushing offenses that could run the ball so that's going to be a big key here. Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah ran for 123 yards on 5.6 ypc and Braxton MIller turned out 142 yards and 2 scores. The Spartans are not built to stop this type of offense in my opinion I see Oregon winning by double digits.
Tough game for the Spartans this early in the season. Good coaching can only go so far early in the season. I still won't be shocked if this is their only loss all year. Take Oregon -12 1* play