2021 Michigan State Spartans Football Predictions: Season Win Total Picks
2020 Record: 2-5
2021 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 5.0
2021 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: ‘Under’
I’m not a fan of Mel Tucker. At all. However, after Mark Dantonio’s odd departure from East Lansing last year, the Spartans felt like Tucker was the best option to turn the program around after dismal 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Tucker, whose college head-coaching resume prior to Michigan State was one unimpressive 5-7 season in Colorado, was able to lay his foundation during the odd 2020 COVID season. Now he’s hoping to take a small step forward and get the Spartans back to being competitive in the East.
That’s easier said than done.
Michigan State’s offense was one of the worst in college football last season, averaging just 330 total yards and 18.0 points per game. Their rushing attack, the crux of the attack during the Dantonio Era, fell to No. 122 in the country. The biggest problem, though, was a horrific 20 turnovers in just seven games, including seven – SEVEN! – giveaways in a season-opening loss to lowly Rutgers.
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Tucker, a former NFL defensive coordinator, didn’t do much on the other side of the ball, either. Michigan State was No. 100 in the country in scoring defense, surrendering 35.1 points per game. They didn’t finish inside the Top 50 in any major category.
The Spartans are hoping that transfer quarterback Anthony Russo, formally of Temple, will settle down the offense. Russo has had major turnover issues in his career with 32 interceptions in 26 starts.
Tucker is hoping that the returning experience on defense, including seven starters back and five of their top six tacklers still on the roster, will give him something to build around.
Even if Michigan State makes strides forward, it is doubtful that it is going to show up in the standings. Most of their winnable games are outside of East Lansing this year. They open on the road against last year’s Big Ten West champs (Northwestern) and have road games against No. 10 Miami, No. 17 Indiana and No. 4 Ohio State. Home games against Nebraska, Michigan and Penn State will go a long way to determining whether or not this team can get to .500 and a bowl game.
I’m not expecting anything close to .500 for the Spartans. They have two gimme wins against Youngstown State and Western Kentucky. They also host Maryland. They will be an underdog in every other game on the schedule. Even if they win their next-easiest game (at Rutgers), and manage to pull an upset somewhere along the way, that puts their best-case scenario at 5-7.
I’ll give Michigan State four wins and take the ‘under’ as Tucker begins his rebuilding of this program in earnest.
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