Michigan, Michigan State Key Games And Predictions: Rose Bowl Bound?

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Rose Bowl

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

By Price Burton

Both in-state teams head into the upcoming season with high hopes and one thing in mind … the Rose Bowl. Michigan is coming off a remarkable season in which they won 11 games and a BCS game for the first time in 12 years. Michigan State has had back-to-back 11-win seasons and won their first bowl game under Mark Dantonio. Both programs are poised for a conference championship and to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. The matchup between the in-state rivals on October 20 will likely determine the Legends Division as they are both favorites.

Both in-state teams head into the upcoming season with high hopes and one thing in mind … the Rose Bowl. Michigan is coming off a remarkable season in which they won 11 games and a BCS game for the first time in 12 years. Michigan State has had back-to-back 11-win seasons and won their first bowl game under Mark Dantonio. Both programs are poised for a conference championship and to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. The matchup between the in-state rivals on October 20 will likely determine the Legends Division as they are both favorites.

Key Games

Both programs have marquee games that will determine the fate of their season. Michigan has four difficult road contests that will make or break their season. They open with Alabama in Dallas, a home game of sorts for the crimson tide. Arguably three of their hardest games are on the road with Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State. Michigan State has the meat of their schedule at home. They open with Boise State under the lights on Labor Day weekend, and then play Notre Dame and Ohio State all in the month of September. Luckily all of those games will be in Spartan Stadium which should make for a festive atmosphere. Key division games vs. Iowa and Nebraska are also at home, but their most difficult test will come in Ann Arbor vs. their in-state rivals on October 20th.

Predictions

Since injuries are a huge factor in these kinds of predictions, Michigan State has a distinct advantage. The Spartys have more depth in their roster and can afford to have a few injuries along the way. With the continuity of players and how coach Dantonio and his staff have recruited, they have a complete roster.

Coach Hoke and Michigan are still a few recruiting classes away from the level of depth and talent a program like Michigan is accustomed to. Last year they were fortunate to have few injuries. They were the beneficiaries of some friendly bounces. Their schedule was favorable considering the majority of their difficult games were at home. They didn’t have to play Penn State or Wisconsin from the leaders division. If Michigan can manage to have another season where they win 10 games in the regular season — I have a very hard time not seeing them in Indianapolis playing for the Big Ten Championship Game. Ultimately the Legends Division will be settled on October 20 when the two in-state rivals square off. This game will one for the ages and will likely determine who will represent the conference in the Rose Bowl.

Price Burton is currently a student at Northern Michigan University and will graduate in December with a degree in Media Production and New Technology with a minor in Marketing. Burton is currently an intern at CBS 62/ CW50. Burton played football at NMU until a career ending knee injury in the fall 2011 season.

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