Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene.
Does MSU or U-M have a better chance of making a New Year’s 6 bowl game?
There were obviously several storylines to come out of Michigan State’s 37-33 win over Michigan on Saturday, namely, the seriousness of Kenneth Walker’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, the rising stock of both MSU head coach Mel Tucker and U-M quarterback Cade McNamara, and what might once again be increasing heat on U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh.
But going forward, a big issue will now be what the possibilities are for a College Football Playoff berth, a Rose Bowl appearance, or an appearance in another New Year’s Six bowl game for each team.
MSU obviously will be higher in the first College Football Playoff rankings when they are released on Tuesday, but as always, U-M will have the advantage in TV and ticket appeal for representing the big bowls.
For U-M, there’s still hope for a playoff berth, but the team must win out to be considered. That would include wins at Penn State, over Ohio State and in a potential Big 10 championship game trip.
But if the Wolverines can’t win out, finishing at 10-2 or even 9-3 could still have them high enough in the CFP rankings to warrant a trip to the Rose Bowl or a New Year’s Six game, especially if they can somehow beat Ohio State.
For MSU, despite what should be a lofty place in the initial CFP rankings, there won’t be a playoff berth or appearance in the Big 10 championship game unless the Spartans can beat Ohio State in Columbus on Nov. 20. Given MSU struggled in wins against Nebraska and Indiana, it’s hard to envision MSU stopping the Buckeyes.
In terms of a Rose Bowl or New Year’s Six bowl appearance, MSU first has to take care of its own business and get in position for one by finishing preferably at 11-1, but at bare minimum 10-2.
That’s no given, especially with a road game at a much-improved Purdue squad on Saturday and home games against Maryland and Penn State still on the schedule, as well.
Even if MSU made the Big Ten championship, it would HAVE to win that against the Big Ten West division winner to make the Rose Bowl, since the West winner would head to Pasadena as the overall conference champion by winning the title game.
Assuming MSU doesn’t beat Ohio State, the best thing for MSU fans to do would be to root for Ohio State to win out, capture another Big 10 title and earn a playoff spot.
If that happens, the Rose Bowl would select the next-highest Big 10 team in the CFP rankings, so MSU could be in great shape to be selected if the Spartans continue to win.
While the team won’t have the same TV appeal of a Michigan or Penn State, 2014 proved that ticket sales won’t be an issue since MSU fans traveled to Pasadena in droves.
If Ohio State slips up somewhere yet still wins the Big 10, the Buckeyes’ best option will be the Rose Bowl.
These are just some early scenarios, but of course, there’s still plenty of season left for things to shake out.
A record day for a Wayne State running back
It was quite a performance on Saturday for Wayne State running back and Clinton Township Chippewa Valley alum Myren Harris, who rushed for a school-record 327 yards for the Warriors in a rout of Northwood.
Harris also had four touchdowns on 20 carries, running for scores of 52, 63, 77 and 45 yards.
Some great matchups for the second round of prep playoffs
The high school state playoffs opened up last week, and the second round should even better with some titanic matchups. Some of them locally include:
- Novi Detroit Catholic Central (8-2) at West Bloomfield (9-1), 7 p.m. Friday
- Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (7-3) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (8-2), 7 p.m. Friday
- Canton (7-3) at Belleville (9-1), 7 p.m. Friday
- Woodhaven (9-1) at Dearborn Fordson (8-2), 7 p.m. Friday
- River Rouge (7-2) at Detroit Martin Luther King (9-1), 7 p.m. Friday
- Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (6-4) vs. Birmingham Brother Rice (7-3) at Lawrence Tech, 7 p.m. Friday