Michigan State vs. Iowa: Last-Minute Spread, Line, BCS Impact and Predictions

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIINovember 10, 2011

IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 30- Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans throws under pressure from Defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn #94 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes during the first half of play at Kinnick Stadium on October 30, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 37-6 over Michigan State. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
David Purdy/Getty Images

It may not get the hype that Ohio State and Michigan does, but the Michigan State Spartans and Iowa Hawkeyes are starting to develop a pretty big rivalry in the Big Ten.

Nobody really knows what makes a rivalry, but it goes without saying that both of these teams seem to hit a little harder and run a bit quicker whenever they play each other; perhaps it's the Spartans' gradual rise to the top of the Big Ten and the Hawkeyes' resistance to giving up a big win to the growing program.

Or, maybe it's Michigan State's inability to win at Kinnick Stadium, where they haven't won a game since 1989.

Either way, whenever these two teams meet up, it seems to make for great football, and that's exactly what you can expect this time around.

 

Where: Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa

 

When: Saturday Nov. 12., Noon EST

 

Watch: ESPN2, ESPN3

 

Spread (Bodog.com): Michigan State -3

This will be a closely-contested game, and the Spartans have trouble at Kinnick. If they win, it will be a close game.

 

Over/Under (thespread.com): 47

These two teams play tough, grind-it-out football. I'd go under on this bet.

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 5: Detail view of special American flag decal worn on the Iowa Hawkeyes helmets before the game against the at Michigan Wolverines at Kinnick Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 24-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Ge
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Key Injuries:

Michigan State: CB Darqueze Dennard, probable (undisclosed); C Travis Jackson, probable (leg); LB Chris Norman, questionable (shoulder); RB Larry Caper, questionable (concussion). 

Iowa: LB Anthony Hitchens, questionable (knee); OL Nolan MacMillan, questionable (hernia); RB Maka'il McCall, questionable (ankle); DL Dominic Davis, doubtful (knee).

BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications:

At 6-3 Iowa may still have a shot at getting in the BCS, especially if they beat the No. 17 Spartans. Michigan State could find themselves with an easy road to the Big Ten title game with a win.

Keys to a Michigan State Win:

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 05:  Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans hands the football off to Le'Veon Bell #24 on a fourth quarter play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Spartan Stadium on November 5, 2011 in East Lansing, Michigan. The
Mark A. Cunningham/Getty Images

The Spartans need to run the ball and control the possession if they want to win this game, so running back Le'Veon Bell is going to have to play a huge role in the offense.

As of late, Michigan State has had a tendency to move away from the run game, but it is a must on the road in this situation.

 

Keys to an Iowa Win:

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 5: James Vandenberg #16 of the Iowa Hawkeyes looks to pass against the Michigan Wolverines at Kinnick Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa won 24-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Spartans seem to be susceptible to giving up big plays. This is the perfect opportunity for junior quarterback James Vandenberg to step up and continue the tradition of beating Michigan State. 

He will have to have a big game through the air to do so.

 

Prediction: Michigan State 24, Iowa 16

Michigan State needs this game too much, and they are the far better team—especially in experience.

 

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