The last time Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans went west, they came home with a 24-20 Rose Bowl title over Stanford, a team that just happened to have its way with Oregon last November.
Nine months later, No. 8 Michigan State is an 11-point underdog to those third-ranked Ducks, according to VegasInsider.com. Sure, The transitive property does not apply to football. And, yes, styles make fights. But, still, 11 is a lot of points for a team to give to a team that doesn’t often allow very many points at all.
Michigan State opened its season Friday with a 45-7 drubbing of Jacksonville State, while Oregon began its season with a 62-13 defeat of South Dakota. Just enough work for Marcus Mariota, Shilique Calhoun and their charges to rev the engines a time or two in preparation for Saturday.
A year ago, Oregon ranked third nationally in scoring offense, ninth in rushing and second in total offense, while Michigan State placed second in total defense, second in rushing and third in scoring. In other words, this is the most intriguing inter-sectional non-conference game in some time.
It should be a barn burner, unless Vegas is to be believed.
ESPN’s CollegeGameDay will be in Eugene to hype the action, which can be seen nationally on FOX at 6:30 p.m. ET.