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The Big Picture

October 26, 2003|Elliott Teaford

Forget Miami-Virginia Tech.

It's Michigan-Michigan State next week at East Lansing that shapes up as the game of the season so far.

Virginia Tech went to West Virginia at midweek and torpedoed its national championship hopes with a lackluster loss to the Mountaineers, who also gave Miami a battle earlier in the season.

Naturally, Miami-Virginia Tech still has the makings of a very good game. But instead of watching two unbeaten teams playing for the right to face No. 1 Oklahoma (maybe) in the bowl championship series title game Jan. 4 at the Sugar Bowl at New Orleans, you'll have to look elsewhere for the game of the year.

To the winner of Michigan-Michigan State goes (maybe) the Big Ten championship. Of course, the winner also must defeat Ohio State (for Michigan the game is Nov. 22; for Michigan State, Nov. 8) to keep alive hopes of a Rose Bowl berth.

No. 13 Michigan tuned up for its matchup against Michigan State with a comprehensive 31-3 victory Saturday over No. 10 Purdue, keeping the Boilermakers winless in Ann Arbor since 1966. Michigan State had an off week and no doubt studied the game as they would for a midterm exam.

Michigan (7-2, 4-1 in conference play), cannot afford another loss. No. 11 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0) is the only Big Ten team without a conference loss.

-- Elliott Teaford

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