A weird year has made for strange circumstances and next Saturday in East Lansing will not mark the end of the trend. For just the second time in the last 40 years, the Northwestern Wildcats have been installed as football favorites over the Michigan State Spartans.

According to Circa Sports, the 5-0 Wildcats are big 9.5 point favorites on the road over the 1-3 Spartans. The last time Northwestern was favored over Michigan State was back in 2001, when the B1G Cats were favored by 7.5 points and won, 27-26, on a field goal booted home with three seconds to play. That year, the Spartans fell to 2-1 (0-1 Big Ten), while the Wildcats improved 3-0 (1-o) on the year.

While the spread for Week 6 is rare, it is not at all surprising. Mel Tucker’s debut year in East Lansing has been a mess, save for one brilliant performance against Michigan. Considering the defensive prowess of Northwestern, the Wildcats should have a field day against a struggling Spartan offense.

Just about everything will be different next week except the spread, which once more, as history circles back around, is in favor of Northwestern.