A young and inexperienced roster in 2016 led coach Mark Dantonio to one of his worst seasons with the Spartans in his tenure, but the turnaround his team showed during 2017 was incredible. Not one expert would have pegged the Spartans for a nine-win season coming off an atrocious 3-9 record. But that is exactly what happened, and now Michigan State looks poised to be a big-time contender this year. The loaded Big 10 may stand in their way of even reaching a New Years Six bowl, but they could also defy the odds, yet again, and make a serious run at a national title. That’s what happens when you recruit well and everyone gains a little more experience. There is a case to be made that the Big 10 boasts four legitimate national title contenders.
After going 10-3 with one of the youngest rosters in the nation, Mark Dantonio’s group will look for similar if not better results in their 2018 campaign. The ground and pound attack has always been Dantonio’s way, and even with the lack of production from a season ago, he will still likely commit to the running game with halfback LJ Scott. Even if the run game remains inefficient, the passing attack led by quarterback Brian Lewerke and one of the best receiving corps in the nation’s should be able to bail the Spartans out of their consistent third and long situations. With the defense bringing just about every starter back, this unit will be very tough to produce points against, just as they were a year ago, yet more experienced. Outside of the big three in Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State, the Spartans should be able to be on cruise control to another nine-win season. If Sparty can pull off one, or maybe even two upsets in those three games, the playoffs, and a national title run could be right there.
Record: Wins 9, Losses 3
Week 1: Michigan State 49, Utah State 7 (W)
Week 2: Michigan State 41, Arizona State 18 (W)
Week 3: Bye
Week 4: Michigan State 30, Indiana 14 (W)
Week 5: Michigan State 35, Central Michigan 13 (W)
Week 6: Michigan State 49, Northwestern 20 (W)
Week 7: Michigan State 23, Penn State 31 (L)
Week 8: Michigan State 23, Michigan 24 (L)
Week 9: Michigan State 38, Purdue 20 (W)
Week 10: Michigan State 42, Maryland 24 (W)
Week 11: Michigan State 21, Ohio State 24 (L)
Week 12: Michigan State 33, Nebraska 16 (W)
Week 13: Michigan State 40, Rutgers 20 (W)