Around the Big Ten: Lou Holtz picks Penn State to upset Michigan

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The best game in the Big Ten on Saturday and perhaps in all of college football on Saturday will be between No. 8 Michigan (8-1) at No. 23 Penn State (6-3). A win would be a big step forward for the Wolverines and their College Football Playoff ambitions.

Last Saturday’s win at Maryland stopped a three-game losing streak for Penn State, two losses of which came against ranked opponents.

Former Pittsburgh standout and Super Bowl winner Mark May and legendary college football coach Lou Holtz differed on how this top 25 game will play out.

“I love Michigan in this game because of their ground attack, they’ve got a two-headed monster at the running back position – Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum doing a terrific job,” May said.

Both over 775 yards on the season, both have at least 10 rushing touchdowns on the season. That’s how Michigan gets it done with a big offensive line, physical up front and running the football and keeping it away from their opponent,” May said on ‘The Crowd’s Line’ this week.

“Both these teams are great defenses, both these teams are top 10 in scoring defenses.”

May picked Michigan 37-31 saying he’s “going with ball control, great defense – I’m going with Michigan. They don’t turn the ball over in this game.”

Holtz didn’t disagree with May’s assessment as he said “I think Michigan is really a complete football team.”

“It’s more like Jim Harbaugh’s teams used to be at Stanford. They play a physical, smashmouth football. They try to play real good defense and that was the secret to their success at Stanford,” Holtz said.

“And he’s reverted back to that after a couple of very mediocre years.”

This all set up Holtz for a dramatic U-turn.

After praising the Wolverines, Holtz then said that Michigan is prone to mistakes and giving up big plays. The legendary coach started to talk about the intangibles for Saturday’s game at Beaver Stadium.

“Take it from me firsthand, that weather can make it absolutely unbearable,” Holtz said

“And the noise favors the team that plays good defense but also can run the football. I think it’s going to be a little bit higher scoring game than [one] thinks. I think Penn State wins this football game 28-24.”