Wow it has been a long time since I’ve been able to post anything for our site. Thanks to a near death illness (pretty sure it was just a cold, but I felt like all sorts of hell), a week-long power outage and the holidays I have been a little busy to say the least. But now it’s time to get back to work, starting with the Michigan State Spartans in 2014.
Combining the win by MSU in the Rose Bowl and the loss by Alabama to Oklahoma, Michigan State should end the season the number two team in the country. Not bad for a school unranked in the AP poll until week 10. This will give them a strong position in the preseason polls next year, especially with the returning talent this team has on offense.
Quarterback Connor Cook could be one of the best players in the conference next year, regardless of position. He had his best games against the best competition of Ohio State and Stanford and will continue to develop into next season with more playing time, hopefully.
Leading rusher Jeremy Langford will most likely be back for his senior season. Langford ended the year with 1,422 yards and had an eight game streak of 100 yards rushing or more snapped against Stanford (he finished with 84.)
As for the receivers, six of the top seven receivers are likely back next season, but could return all of the top guys. Leading receiver Benny Fowler is the only senior in the class, but could petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility according to MLive.
Junior Tony Lippett became a big target for Connor Cook and made some spectacular grabs as the season went on. Joining Lippett next season will be Macgarrett Kings Jr., Keith Mumphery and tight end Josiah Prince.
On the offensive line MSU will lose three starters to graduation, but has young talent to build around including redshirt freshman tackle Jack Conklin and redshirt sophomore Jack Allen.
Next year’s version of the Spartans should rely heavily on the offense as opposed to the defense with bigger losses on that side of the ball come 2014. Senior linebacker and two-year captain Max Bullough’s Spartan career ended before the Rose Bowl, but the Spartans will also lose Jim Thorpe Award winner Darqueze Dennard, safety Isaiah Lewis and linebacker Denicos Allen.
New Spartan legend Kyler Elsworth is also graduating from the team as well, but the biggest loss of all could be defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. He won the Broyles Award for the best assistant coach in the country and has already turned down the head coaching position at Connecticut. If Texas were to hire Charlie Strong from Louisville, that would be a good spot for a first time coach to take over and Narduzzi would be a strong candidate.
If Dantonio is able to keep his staff together I think that MSU has a real chance at greatness next season. The biggest hurdle for the Spartans will be on September 13 when MSU heads to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. Sparty also gets to host Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State next season with the biggest road test of the Big Ten schedule being the final game of the regular season at Penn State on November 29.
So what do you think fans, does Michigan State have a chance at a National Championship next season? Let us know at DetroitSportsBloggers.com or on Facebook and Twitter.