Michigan State at Northwestern 9/3/21 College Football Picks and Predictions

Michigan State at Northwestern 9/3/21 College Football Picks and Predictions Photo by Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Wildcats (0-0) vs Michigan State Spartans (0-0)

Game Info: Friday, September 3, 2021 at 9:00 pm (Ryan Field)

Betting Odds: Northwestern Wildcats -3 -- Over/Under: 46 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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Michigan State faces Northwestern on Friday, September 3rd at Ryan Field for a Week 1 college football matchup. 

Michigan State had a very disappointing season out of the Big Ten in 2020, to say the least. Michigan State finished the season with a 2-5 record both overall and in conference play. Michigan State's offense struggled from start to finish in 2020, scoring only 18.0 points per game and rushing for less than 100 yards per game as a team. Michigan State has not had a regular season record of better than 7-5 since 2017 when the Spartans went 9-3. This season, 10 returning starters on offense are coming back to Michigan State, but Michigan State will have to work with a new quarterback. Anthony Russo transferred in from Temple, and redshirt sophomore Payton Thorne is also an option. Michigan State is more than likely going to struggle again this season, as its conference schedule does the team no favors with Penn State, Indiana, and Ohio State being a part of it. 

Northwestern had one of its best seasons in recent history as it went from 3-9 in 2019 to 6-2 in the regular season in 2020. Northwestern also beat Auburn in the Citrus Bowl to cap a great year for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats. Northwestern has a lot of work ahead of it heading into the 2021 season, though, as this is a team that lost a lot from 2020. Only eight total starters return to the team, four offensive and four defensive. That is a lot to replace in one offseason but it does help that Northwestern, like every other team in FBS, was able to practice this spring unlike last year with COVID-19 protocols. It may be an uphill battle ahead for the underdogs of Northwestern, but getting a home game against a conference rival to start the season never hurts. 

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Northwestern is a 3-point favorite and the total is set at 46. I think we see both teams struggle offensively in this one, as these are two teams that are going to have to get used to their new weapons on offense. Northwestern's defense was outstanding last season and I think we see this game go well under the number. 

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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