MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
- Michigan State enters this season with the nation’s strongest set of linebackers that limited opponents to a mere 18.4 points per game last year. Specifically, the Spartans return their #1 tackler (Max Bullough), #2 tackler (Denicos Allen) and #4 tackler (Chris Norman). Look for Allen to repeat his 2011 season wherein he garnered eleven sacks.
- Michigan State’s defensive schemes rely heavily upon its secondary, and the Spartans will once again be fielding one of the best secondaries in college football in 2012. This unit returns seven of its top eight players, including Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard. Dennard allows defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to run a variety of pressure packages, and he is expected to be a top 5 NFL draft choice in 2013.
- Michigan State’s outstanding defense is completed with a defensive line that welcomes back two starters and compiled 45 sacks last season. While the loss of both defensive tackle Jerel Worthy and nose tackle Kevin Pickelman is certainly significant, the Spartans will once again have one of the Big Ten’s best defensive lines.
- The Spartans’ success in 2012 is predicated upon their outstanding defense and special teams (Nick Hill is a dangerous kick returner, while Dan Conroy is an excellent place kicker), but Michigan State also enters the season with a solid offensive line that welcomes back four starters and a combined 74 career starts.
- Finally, Michigan State is led by one of the best coaches in college football in Mark Dantonio, who has guided the Spartans to five consecutive bowls and 22 wins over the last two years, which is a school record.
Assuming Michigan State can get decent production from quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who led the scout team in 2010 and played in five games last season, the Spartans are primed for a ten-win season.