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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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College Football Saturday Ohio State at Michigan State Start Time, Odds and Free Pick

Today it's a battle of Top 25 teams in college football as the Ohio State Buckeyes travel north to take on the Michigan State Spartans in Big Ten action. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 pm EST start time and it will be televised nationally on ABC. The odds for the game currently have the Spartans favored by 2.5 points.

The 14th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes march into East Lansing today looking to move to 5-0 on the season. They're one of three teams in the Big Ten (Minnesota and Northwestern included) that haven't lost a game yet this season. However, the Buckeyes have a big target on their back as they have been ruled ineligible to play in any bowl game this season, no matter how many games they win. Ohio State has struggled against the number this season, going just 1-3 overall having been a big favorite in all four games. Michigan State enters today's game also sporting a 1-3 record against the number.

One thing worth noting is that Ohio State is 0-8 against the spread coming off a home win the past two seasons. Yet, another trend worth noting is that Ohio State has been dominant in East Lansing lately, winning six of the past seven matchups at Michigan State. Last year Michigan State won in Columbus, 10-7.

We all know what needs to happen for both teams in this game. QB Braxton Miller needs to have some help offensively while Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell seems to be the only threat the Spartans have offensively. Miller has produced 1,200 yards offensively and 14 touchdowns in the first four games this season. Last year Michigan State was able to corral him, allowing Miller to get just 29 total yards. Bell ran for 253 yards last week against Eastern Michigan, so we know who the stars are in this one. MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell is going to have to play well in this game if the Spartans are going to win.

Michigan State recorded nine sacks in last season's win, and they'll look to have the same type of pass rush in today's game. They don't have nearly the same front four they did a year ago, but there's still a returning core that will get after Miller and the Buckeyes in the backfield. The Buckeyes

Urban Meyer was an underdog just four times from 2007-10 at Florida, going 2-2 as a dog in those four games. Ohio State was out-gained by both California and UAB in back-to-back games this season and are giving up a conference-worst 395 yards per game this season. As noted earlier, Maxwell is going to have to play well for the Spartans to win. Ohio State has struggled this season as stopping the run but sports two terrific defensive linemen in John Simon and Johnathan Hankins. If they are able to stifle the Spartan rushing attack, it could be a long game for Michigan State.

The last time Michigan State beat Ohio State twice in a row was 1998-99.

Free Pick: Ohio State 17, Michigan State 13

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