Michigan vs. Michigan State is one of the marquee rivalries in the B1G. This year, the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy is set for a primetime kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Michigan vs. Michigan State preview

Though the 2022 version of the rivalry series doesn’t produce another top-25 matchup (the Spartans are still below .500 on the year), that will not take away from the intrigue and intensity of the game. Both sides have tried to squash any bulletin board material ahead of the contest, with Mel Tucker even trying to say there’s a level of respect involved.

While Tucker’s comments are nice, they do not do the in-state rivalry justice. These two teams do not enjoy each other, and there’s sure to be the normal edge involved on Saturday.

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The motivation factor is there on both sides of the ball with Jim Harbaugh’s squad looking to maintain an undefeated season with legitimate B1G and national championship aspirations. There’s also the tiny factor of back-to-back losses to the Spartans with the 2021 meeting proving to be the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect regular season for the Wolverines.

In East Lansing, this game presents a great opportunity for a team that is currently 3-4 after winning 11 games a year ago. The 2022 season has not gone as desired for the Spartans, and a win over Michigan would help cure some of the ills that have cropped over over the first 8 weeks of the season.

As for the matchup on the field, it’s undeniable that this showdown seriously favors the Wolverines. After facing the Spartans in East Lansing in 2021 and a lifeless Big House devoid of fans during the COVID 2020 season, Ann Arbor is likely to be unhinged — and out for blood — Saturday night.

Atmosphere aside, Michigan’s makeup just looks primed for another dominant outing. The Wolverines entered the bye week after demolishing Penn State, and the Spartans will likely face similar struggles in the matchup.

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JJ McCarthy is always a key player and could light up Michigan State’s defense if given the opportunity, but that’s not how Michigan will go about this game. The battle will be started — and decided — in the trenches, an area where the size and experience of the Wolverines have a chance to shine against a struggling Spartan defense.

Michigan vs. Michigan State prediction

It is true: no team can ever be counted out in a rivalry matchup, just ask these two teams about 2015 and see what happens. And while there are probably some bad vibes in Ann Arbor with Sean McDonough on the ABC call, those vibes will probably be gone before halftime this time around.

Prediction: Michigan 41, Michigan State 17