Trying to pick the winner of the Michigan vs. Michigan State game this year once again is a challenge-- I've had no concrete feeling about this one all week long. I think Michigan is a better team, player to player, pure and simple. But there are always other intangibles in this game and the Spartans obviously want to end their five game losing streak against their arch rival and have people feel good about them again. Their season has been one of four missed opportunities, but they can make amends with many of their fans if they can beat Michigan.
I don't think this is Lloyd Carr's best Wolverines team of his 13. And I'm not sure if Chad Henne is going to play all day at quarterback, if at all. Rumors abound that his shoulder isn't ready and he may not be able to play, even though he is listed as the starter on the U-M depth chart. If freshman Ryan Mallett is pressed into action, I'm just not sure he can handle the pressure of the moment. If he can, more power to him and it will help in years to come when he gets into tight spots as Henne's replacement. But a healthy Chad Henne would sure make it easier for me to pick Michigan.
So I pick Michigan State to win a game in the fourth quarter when the breaks finally go the Spartans' way. Michigan will turn the ball over or miss a kick or commit a key penalty and the Spartans will finally take advantage and win a game late. Who knows how they'll fare in the final two games against Purdue and Penn State, but somehow, some way I see Saturday being their day. Make it 24-22, Spartans and it's a party night in East Lansing into the wee hours of the morning. Michigan won't have Henne and that will be a post game issue. Michael Hart is probably healthy and he'll be tough as usual-- but without Michigan's quarterback at top strength I think that will give MSU just enough oomph to get over the top. We'll see.