Friday, August 24, 2012

Michigan State season breakdown & predictions

A week from now, the Michigan State Spartans officially begin their 2012 college football campaign.
This will be a very telling season for where the MSU program is heading.
Here is a look at the schedule and my prediction for each game.
Before I begin, keep in mind my expectations are for the Spartan defense to be very strong and for Andrew Maxwell to be an average to slightly above average quarterback. Also, I can’t plan for any injuries that could dramatically impact the season.
But, enough excuses.
2012 MSU Schedule & Predictions
Aug. 31 vs. Boise State: The Spartans have the edge here, being at home and with fewer new pieces to mix in than the Broncos. (W, 1-0)
Sept. 8 at Central Michigan: I expect a tough start for the Spartans before their defense takes over and allows them to win somewhat comfortably. (W, 2-0)
Sept. 15 vs. Notre Dame: The Spartans have payback on their mind for Brian Kelly. With the Irish using a redshirt freshmen at QB, I see MSU forcing a lot of turnovers and staying unbeaten. (W, 3-0)
Sept. 22 vs. Eastern Michigan: Ron English has slowly built the Eagles into a rising program in the MAC, but their smash-mouth style will play right into the hands of the Spartan linebackers. (W, 4-0)
Sept. 29 vs. Ohio State: I expect the Buckeyes to be a lot better at the end of the year than at the beginning. I think MSU’s defense will stymie Braxton Miller and allow Maxwell the ability to make a few plays and win the game. (W, 5-0)
Oct. 6 at Indiana: Sorry Hoosiers, you don’t have much to offer against anyone, let alone Michigan State. (W, 6-0)
Oct. 13 vs. Iowa: Iowa has always been a tough out for the Spartans. Also consider that MSU could be looking ahead to Michigan the next week. I expect this to go right down to the finish, but I will give the nod to MSU since it has the home-field edge. (W, 7-0)
Oct. 20 at Michigan: I see the four-game winning streak ending this year. Michigan should have its best team in recent memory and the Big House in its favor. The Spartans will put up a fight, but I think it’s Michigan’s turn to get back the Paul Bunyan Trophy. (L, 7-1)
Oct. 27 at Wisconsin: What a tough two-game stretch for MSU. Wisconsin has become somewhat of a rival over the last few years. The Badgers would like to put the Spartans out of the Big Ten race in this game as opposed to possibly having to beat them in Indy once again. Mark Danotnio has always played Wisconsin tough, but I see the Badgers winning at home. (L, 7-2)
Nov. 3 vs. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are not nearly the team they are at home when on the road. Don’t look for anything like what happened in Lincoln in 2011. I see MSU taking out two weeks of frustrations out on Bo Pelini and Taylor Martinez. (W, 8-2)
Nov. 17 vs. Northwestern: The Wildcats are another team that likes to make things difficult, but this is a game that the Spartan offense could actually put up big numbers. I don’t see MSU losing at home in this one. (W, 9-2)
Nov. 24 at Minnesota: MSU has lost four of its last five at Minnesota, but this isn’t the same Spartan team. The Gophers were a mess last year, but still gave MSU a scare. I don’t think State will take them lightly on the road to end the season. (W, 10-2)

I don’t see MSU in the Big Ten Championship Game, but a 10-2 regular season is still a very good year for a team with a first-year starting quarterback. It would put the Spartans in the BCS bowl hunt and surely get them a high-profile postseason game regardless. More importantly, it keeps MSU as one of the top teams in the Big Ten for a third year in a row.

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