College Football: Can Michigan State Win The Big 10?



  • Michigan State hasn’t won the Big 10 East Division title since 2015.
  • Junior quarterback Noah Kim is expected to be the starter for the Spartans and supported by strong offensive line.
  • The schedule may be the toughest of any other Big 10 East program including a battle with No. 10 Washington.

Count out Michigan State at your own peril.

When the Spartans aren’t highly regarded in the preseason, that’s usually when they have their best years. It happened in 2013 when State was unranked in the preseason and went on to win the Rose Bowl and finish 12-1. It happened in 2017 when they were also overlooked by sportsbooks and reporters and won the Holiday Bowl.

It also happened in 2021 when Michigan State started unranked, finished 11-2 and won the Peach Bowl.

Here we are again. Coach Mel Tucker’s group is in the shadow of both No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State entering Friday’s season opener against Central Michigan. This is usually when Michigan State does its best work.

What Do the Oddsmakers Say?

Among Michigan online sportsbooks, BetRivers has the Spartans +10000 to win the Big Ten, and +25000 to win the national championship. PointsBet has the Spartans at +30000.

Michigan State is favored by 15 points at the Golden Nugget over Central Michigan.

After two winnable games to open the season, Michigan State plays a big out-of-conference game against No. 10 Washington at home. Last year the Huskies took apart Michigan State starting a season-defining four-game losing streak. Michigan State finished 5-7.

Reasons To Go Green

Football fans love to focus on the playmakers, the running backs and wide receivers, but Michigan State’s strength will be up front. The offensive line is experienced led by Nick Samac, the defensive line is deep and talented led by All-Big Ten candidate Cal Haladay.

It may not be glamorous, but if you can run the ball and stop the run you’ll win a lot of college football games.

The State running game will get a boost from U.Conn transfer Nathan Carter. He will join standout Jalen Berger to create a strong 1-2 combination.

Former starting quarterback Payton Thorne transferred to Auburn, open the door for Noah Kim to step in. Kim fits the exact mold of a lot of successful State quarterbacks, not flashy, but competitive and a leader.

The State Road

Of course, the biggest reason why Michigan State won’t win the Big 10 is because the Big 10 East includes college football superpowers Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, all ranked in the preseason Top 10.

But this one of those years where State gets both Michigan (Oct. 21) and Penn State (Nov. 24) at Spartan Stadium. East Lansing has not been a fun place for the Wolverines to play. Michigan State has won five of the last seven meetings in East Lansing but Michigan State hasn’t beaten the Buckeyes – anywhere – since 2015.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.