The time is finally upon us.
The #7 Michigan State Spartans (6-0) travel to Ann Arbor to take on #12 Michigan (5-1) in the first rivalry showdown of the Jim Harbaugh era.
Mark Dantonio's program has dominated the series of late, winning six of the last seven meetings between the two teams en route to developing one of the superpowers in college football today.
There is much more on the line than just bragging rights on Saturday. With two of the best teams in the Big Ten taking the field, conference title -- and perhaps even college football playoff -- implications are on the line.
A month or so ago, Michigan fans were hoping this would be a game where they maybe could pull off an upset or at least have a good showing. Now, the Wolverines have emerged as a better team than all of us gave them credit for and Harbaugh has them playing excellent football. Talk of a rebuilding year is out the door.
Michigan State has battled injuries and inconsistencies so far this season, but these are the types of games they get up for, especially against the rival Wolverines. Dantonio has placed a huge emphasis on this game, and rightfully so, since he arrived in East Lansing.
The Spartans and Wolverines, at least on paper, are back to being equals and both are contenders this year. For the first time in awhile, both sides of the rivalry will be prepared and expect a great game on Saturday afternoon.
As far as predictions go, I have Michigan winning 24-16. The home crowd and continued great play from the defense should be able to get the Wolverines their first win in the series since 2012.
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- Michigan leads the all-time series over MSU by a 68-34-5 advantage.
- Since MSU's inception in the Big Ten back in 1953, Michigan leads 35-25-2.
- These two programs have met for 70 straight seasons.
- Michigan has won 11 of the last 14 meetings at home.
- Michigan is 6-9-1 in this matchup when both teams are ranked.
- With a win Saturday, Jim Harbaugh will tie Brady Hoke for wins against AP Top 25 teams with three.
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