The Spartans and head coach Mark Dantonio are coming off of back-to-back 11 win seasons and a trip to the Big 10 championship game. This year they would like to actually win the Big 10 championship game and play in a BCS bowl instead of the Capital One.
Dantonio is hoping that his very experienced offensive line can protect his new quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Maxwell is a junior that saw some playing time early last season behind Kirk Cousins, so that doesn’t fair well for the Spartans, but Maxwell will have junior running back Le’Veon Bell in his backfield. Unfortunately for Maxwell, that’s ALL he’ll have back.
Dantonio’s defense last season was ranked 6th in the country, and with eight of those starters returning, it’s easy to see how the Spartans’ defense will be their crutch.
Why Michigan State should be ranked higher:
Back-to-back 11 win seasons and trips to the Big 10 championship game and a defense that will probably finish the season ranked in the top 10.
Why Michigan State shouldn’t be ranked higher:
Offense? What offense? Michigan State will struggle outside of the running game and even though their offensive line is very experienced, they may not be enough to push the Spartans down the field.
Returning Starters: 5 Offense / 8 Defense
Best games: Boise State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, at Michigan, at Wisconsin, Nebraska
2011 Total Offense: 56th
2011 Total Defense: 6th
2011 Turnover margin: 26th
Championship odds: 50:1
Projected record: 10 – 2
10. Michigan State, 11. Clemson, 12. Michigan, 13. Virginia Tech, 14. TCU, 15. Arkansas, 16. Kansas State, 17. Texas, 18. Nebraska, 19. Ohio State, 20. South Carolina, 21. Stanford, 22. Oklahoma State, 23. Boise State, 24. Cincinnati, 25. Notre Dame