Michigan State Spartans: CFN College Football Preview 2021

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State Spartans: CFN College Football Preview 2021

2021 Preview

Michigan State Spartans: CFN College Football Preview 2021


Michigan State Spartans College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

Doing the whole Mark Dantonio thing was hard to pull off.

There was talent, but the 33 drafted players from Dantonio’s 13 years were a tad light considering there weren’t a ton of high picks out of the group. By the way, compare that to 55 selected from Michigan during the same era and 83 from Ohio State.

There was production, but it’s not like the Spartans were a high-flying fun show. They played a tough brand of defense, they had a sound offensive system, they had a strange way of controlling games by grinding away, and …

It worked.

The brilliance of the era was how Michigan State seemed most at ease in tight games as the other side kept buckling.

However, there was almost no margin for error with the way the Spartans played. So when the offense went bye-bye and the defense wasn’t operating at an otherworldly level to make up for it, everything stalled.

Even when the Spartans were rocking and rolling on the way to the College Football Playoff in 2015 and the Rose Bowl in 2013, they weren’t always doing it – the 2014 team was an exception – with big, gaudy offensive performances. 20-16 was more in the comfort zone than any sort of a firefight.

And now that has to change, and it starts with the offense.

Michigan State beat Central Michigan 31-20 in late September of 2018. Since then, the team has scored more than 28 points just five times in 29 games and went 13-16.

It’s not that the style under Dantonio couldn’t keep on working, but it took a certain tone, tenor and coach to pull it off. So now in Mel Tucker’s second season, the first goal has to be to create his own direction.

Set The Michigan State Spartans Regular Season Win Total At … 5.5

Everything has to be blown off in the pandemic season with so many crazy twists, turns, and stalls – especially for a new coaching staff – but kicking off a new era with seven turnovers and a loss to Rutgers isn’t exactly how this was supposed to go. However, dive deeper.

The opener was a total disaster and the Spartans were still sort of in that game against the Scarlet Knights. They beat Michigan, beat Northwestern, and got rocked by Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana teams that combined to go 19-5. The other loss was to a surging Penn State on the road – no real shame there.

There are a whole lot more winnable games this time around.

There’s experience and depth on the 2021 team. The offensive line seems like it’s been around long enough to have blocked for Lorenzo White, there’s a solid starting 11 on defense, and there’s enough coming in from the transfer portal to fill in some of the cracks.

There’s no Wisconsin, Iowa or Minnesota on the schedule. There’s a trip to Miami, road games at Ohio State, Northwestern and Indiana, and home dates against Michigan and Penn State.

Win at least two of those, get the O going and go 5-1 or better against everyone else, and everything is back on track.

Of course, doing that is going to be a tough fight, but this program is used to that.

– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
Top Players | Keys To The Season
Michigan State Schedule Analysis

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