2009-10 Michigan State Spartans Football Predictions
by Doc - 8/17/2009
2009-10 Michigan State Football Predictions: 10-2 (7-1 in Big Ten)
As of this writing, I'm not sure the Spartans are the best team in the Big Ten. However, this is the best team Coach Mark Dantonio has had since taking over. The Spartans return 15 of a possible 22 starters and have a very favorable schedule, as they do not play Ohio State. They will host Michigan, Iowa, and Penn State and Spartan Stadium and that bodes well for this squad since this race appears to be wide-open. Much of the Spartans success will be dependent on the quarterback position and that race appears to be a battle between Keith Nichol and Kirk Cousins.
Strengths: In 2008 the receiving corps not only lacked experience but its players spent lot of time on the injury report. I expect this group to be vastly improved in 2009. The defense had problems against the top two powers in Ohio State and Penn State last year, but I expect this unit to be one of the best in the conference this year. No question the strength lies at the linebacker position, with Greg Jones as one of the best in the country.
Michigan State also has strong special teams with Brett Swenson returning to kick and Aaron Bates returning as the punter. Swenson hit 15 straight field goals last year and with an excellent coach, I look for this team to finally play to its potential.
Weakness: Although there is talent there, most of the question marks for this team revolve around the quarterback position. It appears to be a two-man race and with RB Javon Ringer in the NFL, the quarterback will likely have to make plays through the air in order for this to be a successful offense. Defenses really keyed on Ringer last season and with him gone, expect more balance in the offense.
Favorable line to play: Michigan at Michigan State (Oct. 3). The Spartans snapped a six-game losing streak to Michigan in 2008. They will face them this season in a perfect spot as the Wolverines will be coming off four straight home games to open the season. Michigan will be at least 3-1 and possibly 4-0 and this will give us a very favorable line. I am still not convinced Coach Rich Rodriguez has a quarterback to fit his system. Michigan will be improved. However, this Spartans defense will be able to keep them in check and they will snap a three-game losing streak to Michigan in East Lansing.
Favorable line to play against: Northwestern at Michigan State (Oct. 17). Michigan State will be coming off of four straight battles including three on the road (Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and Illinois). The visitor has dominated this series, winning the last four games and scoring an average of 44 points per game. Michigan State will be a sizeable favorite and Northwestern could win this one straight-up. If the Wildcats want to go bowling, they need this game as they have a brutal schedule to close the season.
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