The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Michigan State Spartans.
No. 8: Michigan State Spartans
Spring Practice Starts: February 27
Spring Game: April 7
Michigan State Spartans Spring Status
For all of the controversy and all of the issues with the Michigan State athletic department, the football side appears to have weathered the storm.
On the field, 2016 now appears to have been a fluky aberration, everything was back to normal under Mark Dantonio in 2017, and now the program appears ready to be deep in the hunt of the Big Ten championship with a loaded team returning.
The offense is loaded, with almost everyone back up front, QB Brian Lewerke a growing star, and with almost all of the receivers back.
The D is every bit as terrific, losing DE Demetrius Cooper and LB Chris Frey, and that’s it.
Michigan State Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Center. The Spartans get just about everyone else back everywhere else, but losing Brian Allen from the interior of the line is an issue. He was the leader and heart-and-soul type for the front five. Tyler Higby and Matt Allen – Brian’s brother – are going to get the first looks with Allen the likely successor. If this spot is set, the line will be among the Big Ten’s second-best – behind Wisconsin’s.
Michigan State Biggest Issue
The passing game needs more of a deep element. Fumbles were a problem, and a little more scoring punch would be nice, but with all of the talent returning, it’s time to be more explosive with the passing game. The Spartans averaged just 11.33 yards per catch, and it would be a plus if Lewerke could start hitting far more than 60% of his passes – he connected on 59% last season.
Michigan State Biggest Positive
Experience. Part of the charm of Michigan State under Dantonio has been consistency. The players fit the system, and once the types of players who work under the coaching staff are in place, they don’t make a whole lot of mistakes. With so many returning starters, the team can focus this offseason on tweaking, the rotation and depth.
Really, Why Are The Michigan State Spartans Ranked Here?
There are a few shakeups in the coaching staff after losing defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett for Florida State, but that’s the only real hiccup.
The team that was good enough to win ten games and rock Washington State in the Holiday Bowl also got destroyed by Notre Dame and Ohio State along the way.
This year, there has to be a bit more pop to the offense to keep that from happening again – the O scored fewer than 20 points six times. But with this D, all it might take is a double-digit points to win most games.