If Michigan State is the 300 Spartans, Ohio State is Persia.
The Spartans have embraced that movie since it came out 14 years ago, which is hilarious, as our David Regimbal points out, because all but one of those 300 Spartans was brutally slain in combat by a far superior military that simply overwhelmed them.
So unintentionally, they were actually pretty spot on!
Michigan State is going to get absolutely slaughtered today. I know there are folks with trepidations about being shorthanded against a team that's seemed to have black magic on its side for the past couple of decades, and I get it. But as long as Ohio State is able to field a team today, we're headed towards a bloodbath.
You see, for Michigan State to threaten the Buckeyes even a little bit in this game, it would have to be able to score points. And that's going to be a problem, as my pal Dan Hope kindly eloquently points out.
By multiple statistical measures, Michigan State’s offense has been the worst in the Big Ten this season. The Spartans rank last in the conference in points scored per game (18.0) and first downs per game (15.8), rank second-to-last in the conference ahead of only Northwestern in yards per play (4.78) and yards per game (331.4) and have the most lost turnovers (15) of any Big Ten team.
Michigan State’s rushing offense has been particularly bad, averaging just 98 yards per game on 2.72 yards per carry with just one rushing touchdown, all lowest in the conference. The Spartans had their best running performance of the season to date against Northwestern, gaining 195 yards on 47 carries, but their 4.15 yards per carry in that game is still lower than eight other Big Ten teams’ averages for the season.
The defense is fine and average, but if your gameplan to beat this Ohio State team is to simply rely on your mediocre defense to keep things close in hopes that your inept offense can outduel one of the best offenses in the country...
*Extremely Liam Neeson voice*
I don't care that Ryan Day is out today. I don't care that the Buckeyes could be missing a few starters. I don't care that Ohio State's only played a single game in the span of a month.
Everything I needed to see to feel confident about this game boarded a plane to East Lansing at about 9 p.m. last night.
May his arrows block out the sun.
Word of the Day: Slaughter.
SATURDAY SLATE. I'm not going to pretend this is a terribly fascinating slate, but at least we get that glorious BYU vs. Coastal Carolina showdown in prime time.
|Memphis at Tulane||12:00pm||ESPN+|
|Toledo at NIU||12:00pm||ESPN3|
|Arkansas at Missouri||12:00pm||SECN|
|Western Carolina at #17 North Carolina||12:00pm||ACCN|
|Rice at #21 Marshall||12:00pm||ESPN+|
|Kansas at Texas Tech||12:00pm||FS2|
|#15 Oklahoma State at TCU||12:00pm||ESPN2|
|Texas at Kansas State||12:00pm||FOX|
|#5 Texas A&M at Auburn||12:00pm||ESPN|
|Nebraska at Purdue||12:00pm||BTN|
|#4 Ohio State at Michigan State||12:00pm||ABC|
|Penn State at Rutgers||12:00pm||FS1|
|Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan||2:00pm||ESPN+|
|Bowling Green at Akron||2:00pm||ESPN3|
|Ball State at Central Michigan||2:00pm||ESPNU|
|Troy at South Alabama||2:00pm||ESPN3|
|Syracuse at #2 Notre Dame||2:30pm||NBC|
|ULM at Arkansas State||3:00pm||ESPN3|
|Boston College at Virginia||3:30pm||RSN/ESPN3|
|#6 Florida at Tennessee||3:30pm||CBS|
|#24 Tulsa at Navy||3:30pm||ESPN2|
|#19 Iowa at Illinois||3:30pm||FS1|
|#12 Indiana at #16 Wisconsin||3:30pm||ABC|
|West Virginia at #9 Iowa State||3:30pm||ESPN|
|Stanford at #22 Washington||4:00pm||FOX|
|Georgia Tech at NC State||4:00pm||ACCN|
|#13 BYU at #18 Coastal Carolina||5:30pm||ESPNU|
|Florida Atlantic at Georgia Southern||6:00pm||ESPN+|
|San Jose State at Hawaii||6:00pm||Spectrum/Team1|
|Colorado State at San Diego State||7:00pm||CBSSN|
|Colorado at Arizona||7:00pm||FS1|
|#23 Oregon at California||7:00pm||ESPN|
|#3 Clemson at Virginia Tech||7:30pm||ABC|
|South Carolina at Kentucky||7:30pm||SECN|
|#10 Miami (FL) at Duke||8:00pm||ACCN|
|#1 Alabama at LSU||8:00pm||CBS|
|Baylor at #11 Oklahoma||8:00pm||FOX|
|Fresno State at Nevada||9:00pm||FS2|
|UCLA at Arizona State||10:30pm||FS1|
|Oregon State at Utah||10:30pm||ESPN|
|Wyoming at New Mexico||10:30pm||CBSSN|
BOUNCE-BACK GAME. The last time Justin Fields stepped out on the field for the Buckeyes, he doubled his career interception total in a single game.
Today, he's got a chance to bounce back.
.@justnfields and @RyanDayTime both stepped into new, high-profile roles for @OhioStateFB in 2019.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 4, 2020
No pressure. @BTNJourney chronicles the relationship between head coach and QB. pic.twitter.com/JwjpTKTFG4
"I believe my teammates still believe in me."
I don't know, man. If we aren't throwing more touchdowns than incompletions on the season, what are we even doing?
LET'S PICK SOME GAMES! I'm going to be honest, it's been so long since my last set of picks I have no idea what my record even is, but I know that for the first time since I've started going this it was positive.
So let's keep going!
- Ohio State -23.5 against Michigan State. Ohio State's potential missing players is the only reason this line is as low as it is. But folks, there aren't enough players the Buckeyes could possibly lose that would convince me they aren't winning by at least four touchdowns. Michigan State's defense is resoundingly fine, but that offense is bad bad bad. Unless you think Ohio State is going to score less than 35 points in this game, this is an easy cover.
- Auburn +6 against Texas A&M. I don't think Auburn is very good this season, but here's the secret – I also think Texas A&M is massively overrated. This team doesn't blow anybody out, beating Mississippi State and LSU by 13 points each. Auburn may not be awesome, but the Tigers are significantly better than both of those teams. I wouldn't be shocked to see Auburn win this one straight up.
- Indiana vs. Wisconsin Under 45. Indiana's without Michael Penix Jr. for the rest of the season and has one of the worst running attacks in the Big Ten going against a Wisconsin defense that hasn't given up more than 47 yards on the ground the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Indiana's defense gave Justin Fields fits, so forgive me if I'm not bullish on the Badgers here, either. I don't think we're going to see a lot of points in this one.
- West Virginia +7 against Iowa State. West Virginia is a lot better at football than most people think, and Iowa State is not as good as that No. 9 ranking next to its name. The Mountaineers have a strong run defense going against an offense that makes its living running the ball. I'm not sure West Virginia will win this game, but I think they'll shut down Iowa State on the ground and keep it close.
- BYU -10 against Coastal Carolina. It's truly a shame that one of my adopted sons has to lose this game, but being real, it's going to be Coastal Carolina. I think BYU is legit good with one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and they're going to be looking for style points in the one ranked matchup they have this season. That's not to say Coastal Carolina is bad, but I think BYU is far better than the No. 13 team in the country.
SONG OF THE DAY. "Run This Town" by Jay Z.
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