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Detroit News predictions: MSU vs. Baylor

The Detroit News

Detroit News staffers make their picks for Thursday's Cotton Bowl between Michigan State and Baylor:

Matt Charboneau

Baylor still is stinging from missing out on a spot in the College Football Playoff while Michigan State is trying to get that signature win that has eluded it this season. The Cotton Bowl matchup between two top-10 teams is one of the most intriguing of the bowl season and there will likely be plenty of points scored. It's a pretty even matchup, but Baylor is playing close to home and will enjoy what essentially becomes a home-field advantage in what should be a back-and-forth battle. Baylor 44, Michigan State 41

Angelique S. Chengelis

This will be a high-scoring game with two explosive offenses. Baylor has a number of speedy receivers who can do damage, but Michigan State has quarterback Connor Cook and running back Jeremy Langford. Langford has had a chance to rest his legs and will be the difference for the Spartans. Michigan State 42, Baylor 38

John Niyo

This one's bound to be a shootout, everyone agrees. And Baylor's taking this bowl game a bit more seriously than it did the Fiesta Bowl a year ago. But Michigan State's plenty motivated, too, and I'll be surprised if Pat Narduzzi's last game doesn't feature a few forced turnovers and maybe even a defensive score. Michigan State 38, Baylor 31

Bob Wojnowski

This could be the most-entertaining game of the bowl season, if offense is your choice of entertainment. Outgoing defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi gets one more giant challenge, trying to stop Bryce Petty and a Baylor offense averaging 49 points. Of course, Michigan State has Connor Cook and the best offense in the program's history, so this will come down to the last quarterback standing. Baylor 40, Michigan State 34