Detroit News season predictions for MSU
Detroit News staff writers predict how Michigan State’s season will unfold:
Matt Charboneau: The Spartans will find out quickly how they match up on the national stage with a visit to Notre Dame following an early-season bye. The offense is likely to have its growing pains as Tyler O’Connor takes over at quarterback and the offensive line is revamped, while the defense is strong on the back end and could be better than last season if the front four comes along. The season could come down to home games with Michigan and Ohio State, but even splitting those might not be enough as MSU looks prone for a slip-up somewhere else in conference play and will likely miss out on a second straight East Division title.
Angelique S. Chengelis: Michigan State will be 10-2, and that includes a victory at Notre Dame but losses to Michigan and Ohio State. Yes, that sounds crazy, a team losing two rivalry games at home, but MSU went on the road and won both of those games last year. J.T. Barrett will be the difference for Ohio State in that game, and Michigan's defense will be the difference when the Wolverines play in East Lansing. The Buckeyes, who will have wins over Michigan and Michigan State, will be the division's representative in the Big Ten title game.
Lynn Henning: The Spartans are due for a tougher year, and probably will get it. Notre Dame is going to be rugged; that’s one loss. And I can't see MSU, at best, doing much better than a split with Michigan and Ohio State. Also envision a (mild) upset along the way. Am pegging the 2016 gang, while very good, at 9-3. Ohio State will win the East Division.
John Niyo: The losses on both lines might make for some early growing pains. But a bye to get ready for Notre Dame should help. (Even if it hurts in the long run with injuries and attrition in November.) So will an experienced back seven that should help Michigan State's defense get off the field and give a run-heavy offense a chance to control the game. We might not see any 22-play drives, but we should see a lot of LJ Scott & Co. Michigan State grabs a big win early at Notre Dame but falters late to finish 9-3 and tied for third in the East with losses to Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
Bob Wojnowski: The Spartans’ defense will be fierce again, but they have some reloading to do on offense. One of their strengths – powerful running backs – could be hampered by a rebuilt offensive line. If Tyler O’Connor gets time to develop (and time in the pocket), Mark Dantonio will mold a team that nobody wants to play, but can be beat. Michigan State will lose to Michigan and stumble against Notre Dame, Ohio State and – surprise – Penn State, and finish 8-4.