Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is Michigan State the Stanford of the Big Ten?

Thanks to the College Football Playoff, Saturday's early season showdown between Michigan State and Oregon could be the closet thing the Big Ten and Pac-12 get to a traditional Rose Bowl game this season. The B1G's chances of making the inaugural CFP are considered shaky by some pundits, and there are only four spots being fought over by five conferences.

The good news for Michigan St.? If just got favored comparably to Oregon's main Pac-12 North Division rival and reigning conference champion, Stanford. This coming from The Detroit Free Press columnist Joe Rexrode.

"MSU plays physical, blitz-heavy defense and physical, run-heavy offense. That brings to mind Stanford, which lost, 24-20, to MSU in last season’s Rose Bowl and has slowed Oregon’s offense and beaten the Ducks the past two years — 26-20 in 2013 and 17-14 in 2012 — though Mariota was slowed by a knee injury in last season’s meeting."

FOX Sports college football analyst Charles Davis also brings up the Michigan St./Stanford comparison in the context of Oregon's own path to a potential CFP berth.

“Their nemesis, their kryptonite in recent years has been Stanford,” Davis said of Oregon, bringing Superman into the discussion. “What’s Stanford’s style of play? Heavy-duty running the ball on offense, being extremely physical, excellent tackling team on defense, which makes you run more plays. All those yards after catch, yards after contact, open-field plays that Oregon’s used to getting, that hidden yardage, they weren’t getting against Stanford.

“So for Oregon to win the Pac-12, they have to beat Stanford. They know that, they have to get past that hump. For Oregon to clearly get into that playoff consideration and have the chance to be an undefeated team, they have to beat Stanford twice this year. And what I mean by that is, Michigan State is Stanford.”

Michigan St. and Oregon have played four times previous to this coming Saturday's game. The schools are tied at two wins apiece.

(via The Detroit Free Press)

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