Can MSU ride 'championship-caliber skill' to 4-team playoff?

The Detroit News
Shilique Calhoun, left, and Lawrence Thomas are two key returning players for the Spartans.

Will Michigan State make the College Football Playoff this season?

ESPN Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett says there are two good reasons the Spartans will -- and two reasons they won't.

Bennett says that if the Spartans do make the four-team playoff, it should be as a result of the "championship-caliber skill" among the Spartans' returning players, such as quarterback Connor Cook, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, and offensive linemen Jack Allen and Jack Conklin.

The second reason is MSU's talent along the offensive and defensive lines.

Bennett: "Allen and Conklin are the anchors of what should be one of the best offensive lines in school history; the position group allowed just 11 sacks in 13 games last season while opening up considerable running room. Calhoun, (Malik) McDowell and (Lawrence) Thomas are part of a deep, disruptive defensive line that should keep Michigan State near the top of the nation in stopping the rush."

If the Spartans don't make the playoff, Bennett predicts that it will be because they have Oregon and Ohio State on their schedule again, and their losses of key players RB Jeremy Langford, WR Tony Lippett, DBs Trae Waynes and Kurtis Drummond, and DE Marcus Rush.