BTN’s DiNardo: Michigan, MSU ‘elite’ programs

The Detroit News

Big Ten Network football analyst Gerry DiNardo named his elite programs in college football, and he listed three Big Ten schools: Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

DiNardo also listed two schools from the Southeastern Conference — Alabama and LSU. DiNardo is a former LSU coach.

The only Pac-12 school was USC. Nobody made it from the Big 12.

Notre Dame (DiNardo’s alma mater) and Florida State round out the list.

DiNardo’s criteria was past and present success, recruiting and television exposure, including night games.

DiNardo cited Michigan State’s success in the 1960s, and their resurgence under coach Mark Dantonio, which includes back-to-back top-five finishes in the country.

“You look historically in the ’60s, you look at a place where there was opportunities for African-Americans from the southeastern part of the country,” DiNardo said. “I mean, they have been cutting edge. There was a little bit of a dead period before Mark Dantonio got there, and how he’s got them back being an elite program.”

DiNardo said the Spartans’ 2016 recruiting class, which is expected to give Dantonio is first top 10 class, was the “missing piece.”

He called Michigan an “exception” to his criteria, given its lack of present success.

Notable omissions include Oklahoma and Oregon, the latter of which just played for a national title last season. DiNardo said teams have “caught up” the Ducks’ spread offense, and “the uniforms are no longer unique.”