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Gov. Rick Snyder could go all "politician" and say he's rooting for both teams Saturday.

But he didn't — well, for the most part.

"As a proud Michigan alum, I say, 'Go Blue!'" Snyder said in an email to The News. "Though, I do say, 'Go Green' when the Spartans aren't playing the Wolverines."

Snyder is a frequent visitor to Michigan Stadium on game days, and, no doubt, he'll be back in his fourth-floor suite when No. 12 Michigan hosts No. 7 Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The game will be televised on ESPN, and Ann Arbor will host ESPN's popular "College GameDay" show.

It's the first time the teams have met while both have been ranked in the top 12 since 2003, eight years before Snyder took office.

"We're all looking forward to this Saturday's top-12 matchup," Snyder said. "The national spotlight will be on the state of Michigan.

"Fans — including me — are excited for a game with championship implications."

Who would've thunk it?

Michigan entered the season with no grand plans for a title run, though plenty of excitement over the hiring of coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan State, meanwhile, had sky-high expectations after back-to-back, top-five finishes in the rankings.

While MSU is 6-0, it has looked lackluster. UM is 5-1, and has been dominating opponents, including three straight shutouts.

Michigan actually is a touchdown favorite in the game.

"Both programs are off to tremendous starts," said Snyder, who also frequently attends Michigan basketball games. "Michigan State is undefeated and remains a favorite for the College Football Playoffs. The Wolverines are riding a five-game winning streak and rank No. 1 nationally in scoring defense.

"I’m incredibly impressed with the job Coach Harbaugh is doing so far, and Coach (Mark) Dantonio has already built a top-tier college football program."
The game is huge in the state of Michigan, and could have a huge impact on the national landscape, too.

Whichever team wins will control its own destiny in making the Big Ten championship game, with No. 1-ranked Ohio State still to come on both teams' schedules.

And the winner of the Big Ten championship game is almost certain to make the four-team playoff.

Game on!

"This game might divide the state for a day," said Snyder, "but I think we’re lucky to see both programs enjoying such success at the same time because it makes the rivalry more fun."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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