The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans have both won their first three games of the season. While the Buckeyes are still the top team in both national polls, the Spartans have grabbed a few first-place votes in each.
Naturally, the Buckeyes are big favorites as they are the reigning national champions. However, a narrow 20-13 victory over Northern Illinois and concerns over who should really be the team’s quarterback have made it harder for the Buckeyes to be treated as a true favorite.
The Buckeyes are still +175 favorites to win the national for the 2015 season. Meanwhile, the Spartans are back at +800 in the gambling odds.
The Spartans have more certainty at the quarterback position as Connor Cook is looking to go after the Heisman Trophy and to potentially big a top pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Cook already has eight touchdowns and only one interception, a big improvement over the two touchdowns and three interceptions Cardale Jones has thrown for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes do still have a talented running back. Ezekiel Elliott has one of the top rankings in the game and has gotten more than a hundred yards of rushing in each game so far this year, thus making him one of the top running backs in the game so far this year. His talent has been heralded as top-rate and has helped him become a real Heisman candidate and a possible top NFL pick.
However, the out-of-conference schedules for the teams are vastly differently. The Buckeyes did shut out Hawaii and beat Virginia Tech but the Spartans already have a huge quality win to their resume. The Spartans beat Oregon earlier in the season, thus giving the team one win against a Top 10-ranked team this year. This goes alongside the victories over Western Michigan and Air Force that the team has gotten this year.
Regardless of which team people would consider to be the better team between the two, only one of them can win the Big Ten and be a potential candidate for the playoffs. The teams will be heading out to face each other in Columbus on November 21 in what might as well be the most important game of the season depending on what happens between the two teams from here on. The Spartans will be traveling to Michigan and Nebraska while the Buckeyes will be taking on Maryland and Penn State before this huge matchup takes place.