Week 2 – Michigan State at Central Michigan

Posted Sep 4, 2012

Week 2 CFN Fearless Prediction – Michigan State at Central Michigan

Michigan State (1-0) at Central Michigan (1-0) Sept. 8, 3:30, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: Michigan State was better than it looked in a 17-13 win over Boise State last Friday. Le'Veon Bell carried the offense, the defense stuffed the Bronco attack, and the team got a win against a program that lives off of taking down BCS programs. Is that game a springboard to a special season for Bell and the Spartans? First they have to avoid a letdown and can't look ahead to the spotlight game against Notre Dame up next.

Central Michigan might seem like nothing more than a speed bump – the Chippewas lost 45-7 last year – but it pulled off a shocking upset in East Lansing in 2009. There were a few problems last week against SE Missouri State, but the rushing attack was terrific and the offense worked. With three road games to follow including make-or-break MAC dates at Northern Illinois and Toledo, this is going to be a tough stretch. However, this should be the hardest opponent the Chips will face all year.

Why Michigan State Might Win: Can CMU be stingier with the ball? The SE Missouri State game was a bit closer than it should've been because of three turnovers and no takeaways. The Chippewas have no chance of making this interesting unless they turnover margin is +3 their way, and even then it probably won't be enough. Boise State's running game went nowhere against one of the nation's best run defenses gaining a mere 37 yards, and CMU needs to run to win. Last week the ground attack cranked out 324 yards and four touchdowns, but it didn't have to deal with the Michigan State defensive front that's way too good at linebacker and way too dominant on the line. The Chippewa line won't generate any sort of a push.

Why Central Michigan Might Win: Will the Michigan State passing game struggle again? Andrew Maxwell wasn't awful, but he wasn't sharp with too many misfires completing 22-of-38 passes with three picks. The CMU defense isn't expected to be a rock, but the secondary is the strength with Jahleel Addae one of the nation's best safeties and good enough to come up with a few big plays if Maxwell makes a few misreads. No, CMU's run defense isn't anywhere near as strong as Michigan State's, but Justin Cherocci is a good-tackling playmaker who came up with 15 tackles last week as the main man on a D that came up with 12 tackles for loss. Bell will get his yards, but CMU will put up a fight.

What To Watch Out For: If Le'Veon Bell really and truly plans on being a factor in the Heisman race, this is the type of game to pad the stats a bit. He pounded away and flew over Boise State for 210 yards and two scores and caught six passes for 55 yards. With some big games coming up against Notre Dame and Ohio State before the month is out, it would be really, really nice if he was able to keep the workload to a minimum. For CMU, the running backs have to find a way to get going for a second straight week. Zurlon Tipton ripped off 180 yards and three touchdowns and Anthony Garland ran for 102 yards and a score. They're not going to find the same holes against the Spartans, but they're going to have to try.

What Will Happen: Michigan State's defense will shut the CMU offense down cold. Maxwell will be more effective and careful with the balanced attack easily getting the job done.

CFN Prediction: Michigan State 41 … Central Michigan 10
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Michigan State -22 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – Phineas & Ferb, 1 – Steve Harvey): 2