NCAA College Football Picks: Michigan State at California

August 27, 2008

In what might be the best matchup of Week 1 of the 2008 NCAA College Football season, the California Golden Bears host the Michigan State Spartans in a clash of Big Ten and Pac-10 conference teams on Saturday.

California is a 4½-point favorite at, a London, England-based and publicly-traded online sportsbook.

This is just the fourth time these teams have met – and the first two were in 1957 and ’58. Michigan State won the first two matchups back in the ‘50s, while the Golden Bears won 46-22 win in the most recent meeting in 2002.

The Spartans are coming off their first winning season since 2003, when they went 8-5 SU. But they lost in the postseason last year, falling 24-21 to the Boston College Eagles in the Champs Sports Bowl.

California posted its sixth-straight winning season last year, finishing 7-6 SU. Coach Jeff Tedford’s team won its third-consecutive bowl, beating Air Force 42-36 in the Armed Forces Bowl. California is an impressive 69-39-4 in season-opening matchups, including 4-2 in the past six seasons.

The Spartans will welcome back RB Javon Ringer this season but will miss RB Jehuu Caulcrick, who finished last year with 872 yards and 21 touchdowns. Brian Hoyer returns at QB.

California will rely heavily this season on a defense that returns eight players. The strength of Cal’s defense will be at linebacker, as three starters are back. Anthony Felder and Worrell Williams both collected over 100 tackles last season, while Zack Follett finished with 5.5 sacks.

Public Betting information shows California is getting 55 per cent of the wagers on this game.

Pick: California

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