Schedule and Odds
Things are only getting better in East LAnsing these days. Michigan State has finished the last two seasons in the AP Top 5 and has now gone Four straight seasons with at least 11 wins. The major adjustment for the Spartans will be life without defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, whose spot will be taken over in-house by Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel. Still, the Spartans have the second-best odds (+325 at 5Dimes) behind Ohio State to win the Big Ten and are a Top-10 team in the nation. (note check in with 5 dimes as odds change!)
They lose more pieces than Ohio State, which is one of the reasons they are so far behind them in the odds, especially after the Buckeyes won in East LAnsing last season. But the major piece for MSU is still there with Connor Cook at quarterback. Cook has only gotten better with each season and has a 24-3 record as a starter. However, he’ll lose running back Jeremy LAngford as well as favorite targets Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery. Both positions will be a focus leading up to the season, but there is no question they’ll make it work with Cook at the helm and another stout offensive line.
Madre London and Gerald Holmes both looked more than capable at running back in the spring Game to take over that spot. DeAnthony Arnett kind of came out of nowhere and was Cook’s favorite receiver in the spring Game. He’ll be thrown in with the group of MACgarrett Kings Jr., Aaron Burbridge and R.J. Shelton.
The defense maybe has more work to do with the talent they are losing, but it should be mentioned the spring Game finished 9-3, so the defensive side is still getting the job done. The new coordinators shouldn’t cause as much concern as the new secondary with first-round NFL pick Trae Waynes gone along with safety Kurtis Drummond. There are some new faces in the front seven, but according to Mark Dantonio, this could be the best group he has had at Michigan State. Future NFL player Shilique Calhoun dominated the spring Game and he’s joined by LAwrence Thomas and Malik McDowell on the line. The secondary may not be as good, but they still have quality talent with guys like Montae Nicholson only improving.
The Spartans keep getting better recruits as their success continues, so it might be a while before we see this team take a step back.
One of the reasons Ohio State is favored so much in the Big Ten is their ease of Schedule. Michigan State’s Schedule is probably the toughest out of the East, in-Conference and out-of-conference. The Spartans host Oregon in their second Game of the season and that’ll be a good test to see where the defense is at even if Marcus Mariota isn’t there anymore. Road Games at Rutgers, Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State make this slate one of the tougher ones in the Big Ten, and they have to close the season against Penn State at home.
The Spartans have had similar Schedules in the past, but that hasn’t stopped them from reaching the 11-win mark. With Connor Cook leading the way and another top defense, there’s no reason this team can’t reach 11 wins again. If Michigan State’s only loss on the year comes against Ohio State, it’ll be really interesting to see if the playoff committee decides to go with two Big Ten teams in the playoff. Nevertheless, double-digit wins are expected from this team in the regular season.
2015 Michigan State Football Schedule
Sept. 4 at Western Michigan
Sept 12 vs. Oregon
Sept. 19 vs. Air Force
Sept. 26 vs. Central Michigan
Oct. 3 vs. Purdue
Oct. 10 at Rutgers
Oct. 17 at Michigan
Oct. 24 vs. Indiana
Nov. 7 at Nebraska
Nov. 14 vs. Maryland
Nov. 21 at Ohio State
Nov. 28 vs. Penn State