Michigan State vs Pitt Prediction, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Game Preview

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·8 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Michigan State vs Pitt: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl prediction, game preview, how to watch, Thursday, December 30

Michigan State vs Pitt: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl How To Watch

Date: Thursday, December 30
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
How To Watch: ESPN, Live stream on ESPN+
Record: Michigan State (10-2), Pitt (11-2)
CFN Predictions | Bowl Schedule

Michigan State vs Pitt Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Preview

This is what an expanded College Football Playoff matchup would be. Take one of the best teams from the Big Ten against the ACC champion and let it roll. Instead it’s a fun matchup between two programs that rose up in surprising seasons and now want to use this has a launching pad.

Michigan State was awful in Mel Tucker’s first year. It was 2020 so all could be forgiven in a 2-5 year – especially with a win over Michigan – but this wasn’t exactly a team on everyone’s radar going into 2021. With the running of Kenneth Walker, a defense that was more timely than sensational, and an attitude that fed off of momentum, the Spartans went 10-2 as one of the season’s biggest surprises.

Western Michigan 44, Pitt 41. It’s not fair or fun to look at the one big negative instead of the overwhelming positives, but had that wild shootout gone the other way the Panthers are probably playing Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

Whatever … Pitt won the ACC Championship, and that’s amazing no matter what. The Panthers were able to survive a slew of shootouts with a high-powered attack guided by Heisman-caliber QB Kenny Pickett in an amazing year, they beat Wake Forest for the conference championship, and they were the first team since 2014 Georgia Tech to beat Clemson by double-digits in the regular season. However …

Kenny Pickett and Kenneth Walker have opted out of the game. There are still several good players on both sides of the ball, but the missing parts are going to be glaring.

Along with Pickett, offensive coordinator Mark Whipple left for Nebraska, and Pitt WR Taysir Mack opted out – he was third on the team in receiving – so this is a showcase for all the parts still around before USC transfer Kedon Slovis likely takes over the offense.

For Michigan State, the future is bright helped by the transfer portal – former Wisconsin top running back recruit Jalen Berger is on the way – but Walker really was the signature star everyone wanted to see. On the plus side, star receiver Jalen Nailor is a full go.

Why Michigan State, Pitt Will Win
Prediction, What’s Going To Happen, History
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Top Players To Know

NEXT: Why Michigan State Will Win, Why Pitt Will Win, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Prediction

Why Pitt Will Win The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Kenny Pickett might be gone, but most of the top receiving parts are still there including Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison.

The sophomore caught 93 passes for close to 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he’s not alone with TE Lucas Krull still around among the seven Panthers who caught 24 passes or more.

No, Nick Patti isn’t Pickett, but 6-3, 220-pound Nick Patti is a big pass who’s been strong when he gets his chances. He’s had the full series of practices to get ready, and now he gets to feast on the worst pass defense in college football.

It just couldn’t seem to find its footing, giving up over 300 yards in each of its last four games and getting bombed on by Purdue for 536 yards and by Ohio State for 449.

The Spartans are usually able to temper all of that with Kenneth Walker and the ground game, but they might not be able to do that.

Combine the absence of Walker for the Spartans with a Pitt pass rush that was the second best in America behind Oklahoma State, and there should be a bad mix for MSU.

But …

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule
Bowl Season Players To Watch & Know

Why Michigan State Will Win The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Pitt has a bit of an issue with the pass defense, too.

The problems aren’t as bad as Michigan State’s, but the secondary get hit with a whole slew of big plays and allowed over 200 yards and at least two scores in each of its last six games. There were plenty of good moments – like the four interceptions of Sam Hartman in the ACC Championship – but the defense is too hit-or-miss.

It doesn’t help that Michigan State has a pass rush.

It’s one of the strange aspects to the Spartan season. The pass D was bad, but the front line could get into the backfield on a regular basis.

Michigan State has plenty of explosion with its passing attack – it has the home run hitting targets who can stretch the field and match Pitt big play for big play.

And yes, even without Walker there will be a Michigan State running game, but it all comes down to this …

Michigan State vs Pitt Preview
Prediction, What’s Going To Happen, History
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Top Players To Know

NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Michigan State vs Pitt Prediction, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl History

Michigan State vs Pitt: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, What’s Going To Happen

Really, just how much will Pitt miss Kenny Pickett?

It will, but the loss of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple to Nebraska might be just as big of a deal in terms of continuity and consistency.

Nick Patti will have a big day and the Panthers will get more of their share of points. The right mix is there for the ACC champ to do to Michigan State exactly what Purdue was able to.

Keep the passing attack working, let the defensive front take over in the backfield, and hold serve just enough to keep working on that struggling secondary.

It’s all up to Patti. If he gets time and he’s sharp, Pitt wins this.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Michigan State vs Pitt Prediction, Lines

Pitt 38, Michigan State 34
Line: Michigan State -2.5, o/u: 56
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
Expert Picks: CFP & NY6 | Dec 28-Jan 4

Must See Rating: 4.5

5: New Year’s Eve in a bar
1: New Year’s Eve watching a ball drop

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl History

January 1, 2021 Georgia 24, Cincinnati 21
Dec. 28, 2019 LSU 63, Oklahoma 28
Dec. 29, 2018 Florida 41, Michigan 15
Jan. 1, 2018 UCF 34, Auburn 27
Dec. 31, 2016 Alabama 24, Washington 7
Dec. 31, 2015 Houston 38 Florida State 24
Dec. 31, 2014 TCU 42 Mississippi 3
Dec. 31, 2013 Texas A&M 52 Duke 48
Dec. 31, 2012 Clemson 25 LSU 24
Dec. 31, 2011 Auburn 42 Virginia 23
Dec. 31, 2010 Florida State 26 South Carolina 17
Dec. 31, 2009 Virginia Tech 37 Tennessee 14
Dec. 31, 2008 LSU 38 Georgia Tech 3
Dec. 31, 2007 Auburn 23 Clemson 20 (OT)
Dec. 30, 2006 Georgia 31 Virginia Tech 24
Dec. 30, 2005 LSU 40 Miami 3
Dec. 31, 2004 Miami 27 Florida 10
Jan. 2, 2004 Clemson 27 Tennessee 14
Dec. 31, 2002 Maryland 30 Tennessee 3
Dec. 31, 2001 North Carolina 16 Auburn 10
Dec. 29, 2000 LSU 28 Georgia Tech 14
Dec. 30, 1999 Mississippi State 17 Clemson 7
Dec. 31, 1998 Georgia 35 Virginia 33
Jan. 2, 1998 Auburn 21 Clemson 17
Dec. 28, 1996 LSU 10 Clemson 7
Dec. 30, 1995 Virginia 34 Georgia 27
Jan. 1, 1995 N.C. State 28 Mississippi State 24
Dec. 31, 1993 Clemson 14 Kentucky 13
Jan. 2, 1993 North Carolina 21 Mississippi State 17
Jan. 1, 1992 East Carolina 37 N.C. State 34
Dec. 29, 1990 Auburn 27 Indiana 23
Dec. 30, 1989 Syracuse 19 Georgia 18
Dec. 31, 1988 N.C. State 28 Iowa 23
Jan. 2, 1988 Tennessee 27 Indiana 22
Dec. 31, 1986 Virginia Tech 25 N.C. State 24
Dec. 31, 1985 Army 31 Illinois 29
Dec. 31, 1984 Virginia 27 Purdue 24
Dec. 30, 1983 Florida State 28 North Carolina 3
Dec. 31, 1982 Iowa 28 Tennessee 22
Dec. 31, 1981 West Virginia 26 Florida 6
Jan. 2, 1981 Miami 20 Virginia Tech 10
Dec. 31, 1979 Baylor 24 Clemson 18
Dec. 25, 1978 Purdue 41 Georgia Tech 21
Dec. 31, 1977 N.C. State 24 Iowa State 14
Dec. 31, 1976 Kentucky 21 North Carolina 0
Dec. 31, 1975 West Virginia 13 N.C. State 10
Dec. 28, 1974 Texas Tech 6 Vanderbilt 6
Dec. 28, 1973 Georgia 17 Maryland 16
Dec. 29, 1972 N.C. State 49 West Virginia 13
Dec. 30, 1971 Mississippi 41 Georgia Tech 18
Dec. 30, 1970 Arizona State 48 North Carolina 26
Dec. 30, 1969 West Virginia 14 South Carolina 3
Dec. 30, 1968 LSU 31 Florida State 27

Michigan State vs Pitt Preview
Why Michigan State, Pitt Will Win
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Top Players To Know