Thursday, September 27, 2007

Badgers / MSU Primer...Upset Alert?

Whoa...upset alert from

Big 10 Game of the Week

Michigan State (4-0) at Wisconsin (4-0) 3:30 PM ABC

Why to Watch: It's a month into the season, and we don't really know what this Wisconsin team is all about. The program is on a nation-leading 13-game winning streak, but it's been freightingly shaky at times, with no defense in the first half against Citadel, little offense against UNLV and Iowa, and plenty of question marks on both sides of the ball for a supposed national title contender. It's a month into the season, and we don't really know what this Michigan State team is all about. The 4-0 start is all the Spartans fans could possibly ask for, but the supposedly tough games against Pitt and Notre Dame weren't proper indicators, considering how anemic the two offenses are at the moment. A win in Madison would officially kick things up , a notch in the young regime of Mark Dantonio, and with Northwestern and Indiana ahead (before playing Ohio State), a 7-0 start, the program's first since 1966, is very possible. The Badgers go on the road to face Illinois and Penn State over the next two games.

Why Michigan State Might Win: If you like Wisconsin, then you also have to like Michigan State, because the two are virtually the same team. They both run well behind mammoth offensive lines, they both have average passing games, and they both play tough defense. The one major difference is in the pass rush; Michigan State has one, and Wisconsin doesn't. The Badgers have problems against quick, athletic lines, and it's going to be in for a whale of a nightmare against a Spartan defensive front that leads the nation in sacks and is fifth in tackles for loss. If UW is in several third and long situations, it might as well punt.

Why Wisconsin Might Win: As good as the MSU running game has been, the offense isn't exactly a well-oiled machine. It's struggled so far to close on good drives, and while the passing game has been efficient, it hasn't been explosive. The UW secondary has gotten away with several near-misses and hasn't done a great job in coverage so far, but it's been effective and is tackling better. As long as the defensive front doesn't let the Spartan ground attack control the tempo from the start, and as long as QB Brian Hoyer has to try to make big plays, the Badger defense should be able to get to him.

Who to Watch: Michigan State senior DE Jonal Saint-Dic has been a one man wrecking crew, cranking out six sacks and forcing five fumbles in the first four games, and will require double and triple teaming if the mediocre Badger pass protection struggles early. Badger QB Tyler Donovan is usually the most effective when he's getting outside the pocket and making plays on the move, but he has a fumbling issue and is almost certain to try and stay away from Saint-Dic's side of the field.

What Will Happen: Michigan State will out-Wisconsin, Wisconsin. The Spartans are a horrible matchup for the Badgers, with the active defensive front certain to wreak havoc in the backfield, and the big offensive line sure to have a few moments of domination. It's not going to be a pretty game, but if you like pounding running games, this will be for you.

CFN Prediction: Michigan State 17 ... Wisconsin 16 ... Line: Wisconsin -7


sleestak said...

I agree. This game scare me. I wouldn't be surprised to see UW lose this one. At the very least, I think MSU covers the spread.

Train said...

I wouldn't touch this spread with Chipp's 1.5" dink~ The Badgers have a 49-16 pt advantage in the 4th qtr this year. They'll need more of that this week.

TD has a fumbling problem? He lost one v. Iowa with a unblocked defender getting a free shot on him? He has a "I look at one reciever and hope to god he's open problem" but I don't think ball security is TD's downfall.

Goldys said...

Well, if this is the first loss of the season, we come that much closer to the Allen Evridge era. You can't pulla QB who is undefeated, but TD has not looked very good this season.

At the game, it looked like he missed several open guys while throwing into double coverage. After watching on tv, yikes. That was a rough outing. From all reports, Evridge is as good of a runner as TD, so the Badgers don't lose much there.

Train said...

I agree that you can't pull a QB that's yet to lose one but I hope it doesn't take a L do sit TD down. If the O looks anything like it did mid-way through the 2nd qtr last week it's time to give #4 a shot- At least for a series? It's a tough spot for Coach B and Chryst to be in but every week in CFB is a playoff game.

TD seems to be a good kid and you can't question his toughness but he's struggling to work through his progressions and find open recievers- #9 and #1 were visibly frustrated on Sat. as they both ran to open spots only to see TD throw into double coverage.

Brad said...

Yup, why wait for a loss? It's like the Brewers this year going with Graffy/Counsell at 3B because they started 24-10. Why did wait for a team offensive slump before bringing up and starting Braun at 3B? Same type of situation with AE and TD.

Train said...

You don't even need to use a Brewer analogy (although I pickin up what you're puttin down) BB's boss went through the same thing with Kavanaugh/Bollinger- that seemed to work out OK

Anonymous said...

MSU can't win...I live in MSU country, and it would be unbearable! My guess? The Badgers win by 10! I just hate MSU and all of their "fans."

matt said...

Ummm...this is still Michigan State we're talking about right?

The team that perennially teases then disappoints?

Forgive me if I take a wait-and-see attitude on the Spartans this year, as I do every year.