NCAAF: Michigan State Spartans +3000, Odds to win the Championship
The Big Ten looks as though it is going to be the strongest conference in college football this season, with a handful of teams in with a legitimate shot at winning the conference and getting into the playoffs. After a down year in 2016, the Spartans bounced back in a big way in 2017 and are in as one of the favorites to win the Big Ten East this season. The problem that they are going to face this season is that they are in one of the toughest divisions in football. It’s going to be an incredibly tough schedule for the Spartans, but if they can negotiate it, the playoffs may not be totally out of the question. Let’s take a closer look at the 2018 version of the Michigan State Spartans and their odds to win the championship.
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) August 15, 2018
Last season, the Spartans offense ranked #35 in the nation, and the fact that they have 10 starters returning to the fold suggests that they might get even better this year. Leading the way will be QB Brian Lewerke, a mobile big man who is also incredibly accurate. He will have plenty of weapons at his disposal, including Darrell Stewart and Felton Davis, both of whom hauled in over 50 catches last season. Cody White may also take a step forward in his sophomore season, giving the Spartans a loaded receiving group.
The Spartans O-line is just okay, which may explain why RB LJ Scott has yet to break the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season as he enters his senior year. He will provide some big runs throughout the course of the season, while the addition of Connor Heyward may give Michigan State an extra boost of speed and power in their run game. Make no mistake about it, though, this team is at it’s best when they are heaving the ball downfield. With a very good QB and an excellent group of receivers, this unit has the opportunity to post some very big numbers in 2018.
The biggest reason for the Spartans revival in 2017 was the performance of this defensive unit. Michigan State were the second toughest team to rush against last season, while also landing in the top 10 in total defense. The great news for this team is that they will be returning 9 starters to that dominant unit, so we can probably expect it to be business as usual on the defensive side of the football. While the front 7 did a great job at stopping the run last season, they also got help from the secondary, a group that might be even better this coming season. Long story short, getting points on this team is not going to be easy.
The Spartans are very good on both sides of the football, but can both units consistently deliver throughout the season in what is a loaded schedule for Michigan State? I think the Spartans could potentially be looking at another 10-win season, but that might not be enough to get them the division crown, never mind a shot at the playoffs. This is a team that needs to be considered a dark horse, though, so keep an eye on them.