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Michigan vs. Michigan State 2016: Start time, live stream, TV schedule, and 3 things to know

The Wolverines and Spartans are in just *slightly* different places right now.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last year's Michigan State-Michigan game in Ann Arbor was one of the college football season's cornerstone moments. The Spartans won on a last-second flubbed-punt runback, shocking the Wolverines and setting themselves up for an eventual Big Ten title and College Football Playoff berth.

That's not going to happen this year. The No. 2 Wolverines, in all likelihood, will smash the 2-5 Spartans in a rematch at Spartan Stadium. Michigan should win the Paul Bunyan Trophy without much trouble, and the only question should be how many points Jim Harbaugh decides to drop on his team's in-state rival.

What's happened to Michigan State is fairly stunning. The Spartans have gone from a Playoff participant to a team that's lost five games in a row this year, and they haven't even played Ohio State and Michigan yet. This has already gotten ugly, and it's a virtual certainty that more ugliness is on the horizon. Saturday should bring a heavy dosage of it.

How to watch, stream, and listen

TV: Noon ET, ESPN. The broadcasters are Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, and Allison Williams.

Radio: Michigan and MSU

Online streaming: WatchESPN

Spread: The Wolverines are more than three-touchdown favorites.

Make friends: Get to SB Nation's team blog chats for this game at Maize n Brew (for UM fans) and The Only Colors (for MSU fans).

Three big things to know

1. Michigan's defense might be historically good, and the Spartans probably can't score much against it. The Wolverines have an elite front, an elite secondary, and elite defensive coordinator in Don Brown. They are pretty nearly impenetrable. Michigan State just scored 17 points in a game against Maryland, doesn't run the ball well, and is just so-so through the air. Given that there's no way Michigan State can run on Michigan, the Spartans probably won't be able to pass, either.

2. The Wolverines only need a few points to win, probably. But they'll do better than that. The Wolverines have a deep backfield, and quarterback Wilton Speight has settled in nicely. He doesn't blow defenses away, but he's efficient and seems to work well his primary receivers. More than half of Michigan's targets go to Amara Darboh, Jake Butt, and Jehu Chesson. Butt's the most efficient of the bunch and one of the country's best tight ends.

3. There is no clear path to victory for Michigan State. That's not to say it's impossible for the Spartans to pull off an upset here, but it's pretty darned close to that. Michigan would need to turn the ball over a bunch and make a handful of special teams mistakes, without having returner Jabrill Peppers make up for offensive or defensive mistakes. Michigan's committed five turnovers all year. This is not going to be a thing, and it's stunning how quickly the Wolverines have pulled away from a bitter rival.


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