2. Michigan State Spartans
AP 18, Coaches 20
Final Record: 7-6
What Went Wrong?
If this seems familiar, it’s because Michigan State was on this list last year. And why? The 2017 team was fantastic with a 10-3 run and a Holiday Bowl win, but the 2018 version crashed and burned offensively, ruining a national championship-level season from the defense.
Going 7-6 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the season MSU was supposed to have.
The D came back loaded, the O was supposed to be a whole lot stronger, and it didn’t work.
The strange brain-cramp finish in a home loss to Arizona State was bad, but a brutal five-game losing streak – choking late against Illinois, and getting bombed by Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and (gulp) Michigan by a combined score of 144 to 27 – was far worse.
Oh sure, closing out with a Pinstripe Bowl win over Wake Forest was nice, but this was hardly the season everyone expecting.
Why 2020 Will Be Better: Returning Talent
This is a wee bit more problematic than the other four teams on this list. Start with the loss of head coach Mark Dantonio and the changes coming under Mel Tucker.
Expect a bit of a different energy and a bit of a breath of fresh air after two stagnant seasons for the program. However, seven key parts are off to the NFL Draft, a new quarterback has to emerge if it’s not Rocky Lombardi, and six starters are done on D.
However, this is a talented team for Tucker to work with, and he needs to mold the defense early on because …
Why 2020 Will Be Better: Schedule
– 2020 Michigan State Football Schedule Analysis
This is going to be a very, very interesting season with this schedule. MSU HAS to be able to beat Northwestern to open things up and then win at BYU. Take care of home against Toledo and Miami, and it’ll be a good start.
The Big Ten East is the Big Ten East – it’s going to be incredible again – but there’s no Wisconsin to face from the West, the Michigan and Ohio State games are at home, and there’s the firewall of Rutgers and at Maryland to close things out.
No, this isn’t going to be a massive bounce-back season for the Spartans, but expect more than seven wins.