As interconference matchups go, Michigan State traveling to Eugene, Oregon, to take on the Ducks is one of the most appealing of the season. It’s a rare season that you have a scheduled week two matchup that has national championship implications.
As it stands, each team is favored to win its respective Power Five conference and punch a ticket to the first college football playoff.
Michigan State brings a highly touted defense to Oregon along with up and coming QB Connor Cook. The 6-4, 220-pound Cook, a junior, has played tough on the West Coast before, defeating favorite Stanford in last year’s Rose Bowl. If he is as efficient in leading Michigan State this Saturday, he may gain another victory over the Pac-12.
Heisman favorite Marcus Mariota is the dual threat headliner here. He led the most explosive offense in the country last season, but he was hobbled at the end of it. America will see him at his best on Saturday evening.
After a disappointing end of season, losing to Stanford and Arizona, Mariota has had all offseason to work on improving his game in hopes of making it to this year’s playoff.
But he hasn’t faced a defense as strong as the one he meets Saturday. End Shilique Calhoun received preseason All-America notice.
In order to get past a tough Michigan State defense, the Ducks will have to score early and to set the tone for this game. If they don’t, it will spell disaster for Oregon.
In the eyes of many college football fans, the West is perceived as ascending – Stanford, Oregon, USC, UCLA leading the Pac – while the stodgy Midwest descends. This is Michigan State’s opportunity to be important somewhere west of the state of Michigan.
Click here for Mark Roberson’s week 2 college football picks