BIG TEN OPENING WEEK END THOUGHTS

     Michigan State now is a 4 1/2 point underdog to California Saturday night.  The Spartans will be forced to fly from Grand Rapids at 11:30am Friday instead out of Lansing.  The Lansing runways are being renovated and a longer runway is needed.  The MSU plane is heavier because equipment will be aboard that normally makes the trip for road games in an MSU truck.  No real surprises on the depth chart released Tuesday but congratulations to Mike Bacon, listed as the starting offensive left guard.  He's a former walk on from Lansing Catholic High School.

     MSU is one of two Big Ten teams with underdog status-- Illinois is an eight point underdog to Missouri when the play Saturday at St. Louis.  Every other Big Ten team is favored.  Purdue is idle.  Ohio State should breeze over Youngstown State, a joke of a game.  So should Penn State over Coastal Carolina.  Penn State has just named Darryl Chalmers its starting quarterback.  He was the back up to Anthony Morelli last season.  Morelli has graduated.

     I still like Michigan to cover 3 1/2 points and beat Utah.  Michigan could have as many as ten freshmen playing prominent roles in the opening game which kicks off at 3:38pm Saturday.  Indiana has named Kellen Lewis to start at quarterback for the home opener against Western Kentucky-- he was suspended in the spring.  Minnesota's stellar freshman QB Mar-quease Gray is ineligible for the moment according to the NCAA.  Whether he becomes eligible anytime soon remains to be seen.  The Gophers, 1-11 last season, open at home Saturday night against Northern Illinois.  Wisconsin should clobber Akron and Iowa should do the same to Maine.  Northwestern is an 11-point favorite at home over sorry Syracuse.

     California has plenty of speed-- that could make it tough for the Spartans who may have to score plenty of points to win the game.  Regardleses, MSU should roll by Eastern Michigan and Florida Atlantic before the September 20th home game against Notre Dame which could go either way-- at least that's the way things appear to me at the moment.

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