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Big Ten Championship: Rose Bowl Awaits Michigan State-Wisconsin Winner
The Michigan State Spartans have already beaten Wisconsin once this season and are the only team in the Big Ten with only one conference loss. Yet Sparty is getting no respect from oddsmaker as they are 10-point underdogs on Bodog’s NCAA football odds for Saturday night’s inaugural Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.
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The No. 13 Spartans (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) beat the Badgers in East Lansing 37-31 n the ending of the season back on Oct. 29, with MSU receiver Keith Nichol catching a Hail Mary pass from Kirk Cousins as time expired – it took a booth instant replay review to rule the touchdown good. Cousins had one of his best games of the season with 290 yards and three TDs. The Spartans blocked two kicks, one a punt that was returned for a touchdown. Both teams were down 14 points during the game.
Michigan State played that game without its best pass rusher, defensive lineman William Gholston, who was suspended. The Spartans still managed to sack Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson three times. In addition, MSU wasn't flagged for a single penalty against Wisconsin. Sparty was dominated the following week at Nebraska but hasn’t lost since. For the first time in school history, Michigan State has put together back-to-back 10-win seasons.
No. 15 Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2) has crushed four opponents since following that MSU loss with another last-second loss, at Ohio State. The Badgers beat Penn State 45-7 for the Big Ten Leaders Division title last week. Montee Ball rushed for 156 yards and scored four touchdowns against PSU. He has 34 TDs this season, five short of the NCAA record of 39 set by Barry Sanders in 1988. Ball has scored at least two TDs in every game this year and has at least three in seven games. He had 115 yards rushing with a TD and receiving TD in the first meeting with Sparty but missed part of the game with an injury.
The winner of this game will likely play Oregon in the Rose Bowl. MSU hasn’t played in the Rose Bowl since the 1998 season, while UW lost to TCU in the game last year. The loser here probably gets squeezed out of the BCS bowls in favor of Michigan.
MSU is 0-4 ATS in its past four neutral-site games. Wisconsin is 6-2 ATS in its past eight neutral-site games. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings in this series.
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