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Michigan State football favored over Washington, per ESPN FPI

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© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State football is heading into the 2023 season with moderate expectations, but ESPN’s FPI thinks it could upset Washington.

Michigan State football plays host to Washington in Week 3 on Sept. 16. This is the return game in the home-and-home series that saw the Spartans lose to the Huskies last season in Seattle, 39-28. The Huskies went on to have an amazing year, finishing the season 11-2 while MSU limped to a 5-7 record.

Washington returns star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and will also have two of the best receivers in the country, which doesn’t bode well for Michigan State’s struggling secondary. Washington also will likely be a top-10 team in the country and one of the favorites to win the Pac-12.

Despite all of that, ESPN’s FPI metric still gives Michigan State a 56 percent chance to pull off the upset win in East Lansing over the Huskies.

Are you surprised? Me too. Washington has all the makings of a legit top-10 team and darkhorse playoff contender whereas MSU is just hoping to get back to bowl eligibility. A few sportsbooks I checked also have Washington favored anywhere between 10.5 and 12.5 points. Where is ESPN coming from with this?

For starters, it’s tough for any team to travel across the country and play well, just ask MSU last year in this matchup. Maybe ESPN thinks Washington will struggle with the travel and time change coming to the Eastern time zone.

There are also a lot of unknowns at the beginning of every season, especially with programs that aren’t consistently at the top of the college football world. Yes, Washington had a fantastic year last season, but it doesn’t have the reputation of other programs like Ohio State or Alabama to assume the Huskies will be able to do it again this year, even with all the returning production they have.

Lastly, I think Michigan State football is going to have revenge on its mind. Spartan Stadium will also be rocking for the first big game of the season in what will likely be a late afternoon or night game. The Spartans will also likely be undefeated at 2-0 heading into this game, so there will still be all the hope of being able to have a successful year.

I give MSU a better chance to win this game than most, and if the sportsbooks still favor Washington by double digits come September I’d love the Spartans’ chances to cover.

A win in this matchup would do wonders for the season and program. Not only would we likely be undefeated heading into conference play, but the belief in the team will fully be back and will put the Spartans back on the map as a respectable team.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.

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