I’m going to come right out and say it: I think Michigan will beat MSU next year. Big surprise, I’m a Michigan fan that thinks Michigan will win. I think it’s a fair assumption, I think Michigan has a better team. I by no means think it’s a lock like many others seem to be desperately trying to convince themselves. Here’s what we are looking at for Michigan State.
Key Offensive Losses: Cousins, Cunningham, Martin, Linthicum, Nichol, Baker, Foreman.
Cousins and Cunningham are the two biggest loses. Foreman, who was State’s best lineman on a terrible line, was overrated. He’ll get replaced, some of MSU’s injured players will come back, and the line will probably be only marginally better than last year. Baker isn’t much of a lose, Bell is a better back anyway and they have some depth with Caper there. Linthicum could hurt them a bit, but if Sims lives up to any of his ability or one of their other TEs continue to show like they did last year it won’t be too bad. Martin was hit or miss, he had speed but pretty crappy hands, and is probably someone who can be replaced. Cunningham can’t immediately. But WR depth isn’t terrible, though it is young. Maxwell isn’t a bad QB and will probably step right in and be middle of the pack Big Ten. He has a pretty strong arm and is pretty accurate, has potential, and State will run the ball enough to give him some help.
Defensive: Worthy, Robinson, Depth players
Like it or not, and probably a function of playing in a relatively weak offensive conference (this also helped Michigan to a certain degree), but MSU’s defense was pretty good last year. Tommy G, while a dirty player, is pretty damn good. Their D-line has some depth, and while losing Worthy really hurts, they also lose his at least one off-sides a game move. They will still have a good D-line, as they have the required depth at this position. As most people agree, it starts upfront, and they are solid here, probably about the same as last year. The LBs they will be better than last year, they lose no one. DBs are their weakness, and they lose some leadership but get some pretty good players back. This is the area where they lack depth though and could get exposed it injuries happen.
Overall, I think their defense hit their peak last year. They can be a top 10 D but until they bring in more consistent talent they won’t go much higher than that. They have some limitations athletically that make it so other schools can and will be ahead of them, but at least for next year they should be solid.
So that sums up what I have to say about State. Most people will disagree I’m guessing, fine, and some will have valid points. I’m by no means saying they are world beaters. I’m guessing they will be a top 25 team next year though, hovering around 20-30 for the most part. I think Michigan will beat them but that it will be a very competitive game. That’s my rant and essay/thesis all rolled into one, but what you say?