Michigan State over Washington State by 6
At press time, Washington State remains a 2-point choice, even though the Cougars will be without two of their top three wide receivers. While head coach Mike Leach has a reputation as a mad scientist, we don’t think he can take a suddenly troubled passing game, coupled with the lack of a running game (71 YPG), and somehow create a winning formula against the starving-for-redemption Spartans. Yet another ‘mission team’ this season after an inexplicable 3-9 SU effort in 2016, Michigan State’s last bowl appearance saw them whitewashed by Alabama in the 2015 Cotton Bowl, 38-0. Before that debacle, HC Mike Dantonio had steered his Spartans to four straight wins-and-covers in bowl games, all as an underdog. And after burning 2016’s game film, Dantonio’s defense reclaimed its mojo by holding 7 foes to season low – or 2nd low – yardage this year. The Spartans and Cougars may show up with identical 9-3 records but MSU’s three defeats came against Notre Dame, Northwestern and Ohio State (29-8 SU combined), as opposed to Wazzu’s three lopsided losses to Cal, Arizona and Washington (average margin of defeat a head-scratching 27 PPG). Meanwhile, not only is Michigan State an impressive 11-1-1 ATS in its last 13 games as a single-digit dog, the green-andwhite also rank No. 2 nationally in time of possession. In addition, favorites in this bowl game are 5-14 ATS, including 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS the last five. The last piece of the puzzle comes courtesy of coach Leach’s 1-6 ATS failure in his last seven bowl games. Too many bad numbers for a favorite missing too many key components.