The good news for Michigan State football is that it survived against Nebraska, and after all the chaos that happened in college football last week, the Spartans have renewed College Football Playoff hopes. The even better news is that the Spartans take on Purdue this week. While the Boilermakers have already shown that they are better than last year's 1-11 squad, Purdue still has a way to go before it competes with a team the caliber of Michigan State.
Of course, it's always possible that the Spartans come in a bit flat after last week's emotional and hard-fought win, the Boilermakers come out extra motivated because it wants to take down a top-10 team at home, and Purdue wins. That's just not likely to happen.
Date: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium (West Lafayette, IN)
Betting Line: Michigan State -21 (via 5Dimes)
Prediction: This game should be a cakewalk for Michigan State. The Spartans have not allowed an unranked team to score more than 14 points in a game this season, and while Purdue's offense isn't terrible, it would be shocking if it had the firepower to put up more than 14 points against one of the best defenses in the country.
The guy to keep an eye on is Spartans QB Connor Cook. The junior struggled against Nebraska last week, going 11-for-29 with 234 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. While Michigan State usually prefers to establish the run, it may be more important that the team gets Cook back on track against one of the worst passing defenses in the conference.
In the end, gives us Sparty to win and cover. Purdue is improving, but it's still among the worst teams in the Big Ten. Michigan State, meanwhile, is fighting to win the conference and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Boilermakers will give it their all, but anything less than a dominating performance by Mark Dantonio's squad would be a surprise.