Michigan State Spartans vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
January 2, 2010, 8pm Central
San Antonio, Texas
Network: ESPN/ESPN Radio
Fourteen Michigan State players suspended. One Texas Tech head coach fired. Two programs in turmoil. The winner will be the one that can pull things together to field a cohesive team.
The challenge to Michigan State is straight forward, but significant. On the other hand, they’ve had a month to prepare replacements for those lost.
For Texas Tech, however, this is brand new, and there are lots of unknowns. Some players have indicated that things will be better without Mike Leach, and there were certainly signs earlier this season that he had lost the team. They very well could be better without the pirate on the sidelines.
Or they could fall to pieces.
Michigan State’s defense was suspect before the suspensions. Now they’re just bad. Assuming there’s anyone left at Texas Tech who can call plays for the circus offense, Taylor Potts will have his way with the Spartans.
The receivers at Michigan State were decimated by the suspensions. They’re going to have to go deep into the roster to find an offense. Keshawn Martin is a gamer, but is sure to see a lot of double coverage. The two true freshman running back Edwin Baker and Larry Caper must have a good game to keep the pressure off quarterback Kirk Cousins and to keep Tech’s defense honest.
That Tech defense has gotten much better over the last few years. Defensive ends Brandon Sharpe and Daniel Howard get great pressure off the edge, and the entire defense is extremely aggressive, recording a school record tying 45 sacks this season.
I think Texas Tech pulls together for acting head coach Ruffin McNeill and wins big, 42-14.