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2017 Preview and Predictions: Michigan State Spartans Football

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

I. Case History/Opening Statement

A. Case History

My oh my, what a disaster. Coming off of a second B1G title in three years topped with a visit (at least I’m told they went) to the CFP, the bottom fell out for Michigan State. From 12-2 to 3-9, though, is more than a matter of losing a few players, and the obvious chemistry and cohesion problems on the field continued into the offseason, when 4 promising young players were suspended and ultimately dismissed in the face of repulsive sexual assault allegations. Several other anticipated starters and contributors transferred away, leaving Spartan fans baffled as to how Mark Dantonio’s painstakingly constructed program had fallen so far, so fast.

B. Opening Statement

It is hard to imagine things getting much worse, though they really aren’t guaranteed to get a whole lot better right away. As bad as the team was last year, it could at least be said that a lot of players who suffered through it would be back and stronger for the experience - but again, a lot of those guys are not around for various reasons.

2017 is therefore a full-fledged youth movement. Only 2 seniors are sure things to start, and the roster skews heavily towards sophomores and freshmen. There is still a good deal of talent, especially at the offensive skill positions, but the learning curve could be hideous.

II. Discovery/Presentation of Proofs

B1G 2017 // MSU Cocktail Party Preview

B1G 2017 // What The Hell Happened?

B1G 2017 // Please Be Better - Defense

B1G 2017 // Please Be Better - Offense

B1G 2017 // MSU Football Has Driven Me To Talk About MSU Hockey

III. Closing Statement

The quarterback is a sophomore, albeit with some game experience. The offensive line starts two sophomores and a redshirt freshman. There are 2 total juniors and zero seniors amongst the receivers and tight ends, and even they have heretofore been bit players. The projected starting corners are a sophomore who converted from receiver and a true freshman. The defensive line might have a senior on it, who has thus far failed to do much in his career.

Linebacker and running back should be ok, though. So other than that, Mr. Dantonio, how was the play?

Point is, this year is more about normalizing this program on and off the field, finding the guys among this mass of youth who will be standouts, and scratching to bowl eligibility to springboard into what will hopefully be a much better 2018. Dantonio said that as many as 7 true freshmen could play this fall as things stand now, which is a really high number for a program that still relies heavily on development. Mercifully, a 2016 to forget in every way hasn’t really affected recruiting, though that just means MSU continues to lag far behind OSU, PSU, and Michigan.

Dantonio has earned the chance to show he still knows best. But keeping his staff completely intact after that debacle, with this year’s harder schedule and young roster, is the equivalent of pushing all his chips to the middle of the table with squadoosh in your hand.

So, to say again: get through this season without an arrest. Not one. Prove once and for all that you have enough control over your players to make them adhere to society’s standards, or live with the same blot on your reputation as your mentor. No damn excuses on this point.

And get to a bowl. This team will need those practices and it’s not hard to do, I’m pretty sure MSU almost went to one last year with 3 wins.

IV. Verdict/Predictions

Dead Read: 7-5 (5-4 B1G)

WSR: 5-7 (3-6 B1G)

BRT: 5-7 (3-6 B1G)

Brian Gillis: 8-4 (5-4 B1G)

Ray Ransom: 6-6 (4-5 B1G)

C4B: 7-5 (5-4 B1G)

DJCarver: 7-5 (4-5 B1G)

Graham Filler: 6-6 (4-5 B1G)

James Snyder: 5-7 (3-6 B1G)

babaoreally: 7-5 (5-4 B1G)

87Townie: 4-8 (2-7 B1G)

InsertName: 7-5 (4-5 B1G)

LPW: 5-7 (3-6 B1G)

Thumpasaurus: 7-5 (4-5 B1G)

With 2 exceptions, everyone pegs this team to land within a game of .500. And that’s probably right...though whether it’s an accurate assessment of this team’s tension between talent, youth, and schedule or more the safe dartboard prediction when you have no worldly idea what to make of a team? Who can say.