I'm feeling the usual jitters and adrenaline rush I feel before every big MSU game. In fact, the mix of adrenaline and jitters set in as early as last Sunday, when the Spartans' bye week officially ended and the build-up for this game started in earnest.
I've been mulling this game over in my head all week, and though I certainly believe Ohio State can win, I just don't see it happening. Sure, the Buckeyes may still be smarting over their Big Ten Championship loss last year, but Michigan State hasn't lost the "chip on our shoulder/us against the world" mentality that has carried them the last few years.
Though J.T. Barrett has improved throughout the season, this is the biggest test he has faced in his college career. MSU's defense should be able to put enough pressure on Barrett to at least make a few mistakes. I just can't see a redshirt freshman coming to Spartan Stadium and pulling out a victory.
The Spartans know what's at stake here, and they will be prepared. Most of these players delivered last year in big games, and they've done so also this season in a similar high-stakes game against Nebraska.
Now, I'm not saying this game will be a blowout. The Buckeyes have a defense better than last year's, and Joey Bosa--who was so impressive in last year's Big Ten title game--is a beastly player. I expect him to have at least one or two sacks in tonight's game, or at least invite double-teams all night which will free some of his defensive teammates to make plays.
Like every other MSU fan, I'm concerned with the kicking game. It's not all Michael Geiger's fault either. From what I've witnessed, the snaps and holds have also been inconsistent. I just hope with two weeks to work on it, the kicking will improve. However, if this game comes down to a last second field goal attempt, I don't know if I can watch.
So, in the final analysis, MSU's defense, the Cook/Lippett/Langford triumvirate, and the home crowd should be enough to get the Spartans over the hump. Call it MSU 24, OSU 20.