In the immortal words of Keith Jackson, whoa nelly.
This year’s Michigan vs. Michigan State matchup — the highlight of any year — takes on so much more significance this time around, as both teams enter the game with identical 7-0 records. It’s the first time that’s happened in the 113-year history of the rivalry.
Even more crazy? It’s the first time both teams — Michigan at No. 6 and Michigan State at No. 8 — have faced off against each other with both teams sitting comfortably in the top 10 since … 1964.
That’s right. The last time the Wolverines and Spartans faced each other as top 10 teams, Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman” topped the charts, My Fair Lady was boffo at the box office, and Bonanza was the most-watched show in the country.
It’s been a while. To help set the stage, how about this gem from 1979 …
This is how Bob Ufer intro’d the 1979 M-MSU Game and also seems appropriate for this week as well… pic.twitter.com/QfXg47CkFE
— Dr. Sap (@DrSap4UM) October 25, 2021
History aside, this is basically a playoff game for these two squads, with the loser dropping out of the current three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten East, and more importantly, almost certainly dropping out of any chance for a national championship.
Not that the winner is guaranteed anything here, either. After Saturday, Michigan still has games against 20th-ranked Penn State in Happy Valley and a season-ending home tilt with Ohio State, along with Indiana and Maryland sandwiched in.
As for Michigan State? At Purdue, home against Maryland, at Ohio State, and home against Penn State.
But while the future is uncertain, one thing is for sure: This is setting up as a game to remember.
Michigan/Michigan State week consists of 6 Monday's and a Saturday.
— Chris Castellani (@Castellani2014) October 28, 2021
And the sportsbooks agree.
Point spread-wise … well, talk about a moving target. Things are unsettled at the time of this writing, with the spread bouncing between 3.5 and 4.5 points, with Michigan favored on the road.
Finally, at -4.5, backers of the Wolverines can get even money at FOX Bet, while Spartan fans can get the points at -115 across all the books.
Thinking about totals? Right now, it’s vacillating between 50 and 50.5. Under 50 can be had for -107 at Barstool, BetRivers, and Twinspires, while over 50 is at -110 at DraftKings and FOX Bet. Creep up that half-point, and under 50.5 is sitting at -110 across the board, and over 50.5 is at -105 at DraftKings.
FOX Bet, incidentally, is also offering an interception promo Saturday, paying +400 odds if both quarterbacks throw a pick.
5x your money if both Michigan & Michigan St. have interceptions in Saturday's #BigNoonKickoff game.
— FOX Bet Sportsbook (@FOXBet) October 25, 2021
FOX Bet is also offering a dream scenario for fans of extended action — odds on overtime, with +1400 for “yes” and -3300 for “no.” Not exactly what one might call a tight spread, but such is life.
The FOX-televised game kicks off at noon at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Buckle up, because this one is going to be something.
PHOTO: Raj Mehta/USA Today