Jake Rudock is ranked #95 on the NCAA quarterback list. Connor Cook is ranked #27. (The Foootball Bowl Subdivision includes 127 teams this year, but the NCAA ranks only 100 quarterbacks.) So the UM QB is at the bottom of the pack while the MSU QB is in the upper-third of the field.
- Both players are fifth-year seniors.
- Rudock has been with his team for a few months; Cook is in his fifth year with his team.
- Last season, Rudock lost the starting job at Iowa, while Cook placed first among B1G conference quarterbacks.
- Cook is high on the NFL Draft boards; Rudock, not so much.
Game-Set-Match: MSU, right? The quarterback comparison tilts heavily in favor of the Spartans. But somehow, they are picked to lose in a not-so-close game. What's the difference? It must be that legendary Michigan Team Defense, right? That factor must be so heavily tilted in favor of UM that it outweighs the QB mismatch. Must be the Wolverines have already faced this type of signal-caller and dispensed of him easily on their way to a lofty #12-ranking. Maybe they've canned two or three of Cook's stature already, that must be it, eh? Um, not really.
So we're back to the opening conundrum. Michigan State has a massive advantage at the most important position on either side of the ball, but they are a prohibitive underdog in the game.