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Michigan State National Championship Game Odds
A new era beckons for the Michigan State Spartans. All time winningest head coach in MSU history Mark Dantonio has retired. Dantonio is best known for leading State to the 2014 Rose Bowl championship and taking Sparty to the 2015 College Football Playoff. From 2013 through 2015 Dantonio’s program became a power that won 36 games with only five losses and final national rankings of third, fifth and sixth. The great irony is that such success changed the MSU recruiting profile to more gifted athletes that were poor cultural fits. A 3-9 record in 2016 set the stage for a decline on the field and turmoil off of it. State limped home with a record of 7-6 in 2019. Dantonio took a nice buyout bonus and got out while the getting was good.
2020 Michigan State Spartans at a Glance
National Championship Odds: N/A
Michigan State has lost a lot of credibility with gamblers after reaching its peak in 2015. It’s also a fact of life that college football bettors don’t long forget red ink. Michigan State was 4-9 against the spread in 2018 and just 3-9 vs. the number for 2019. Dantonio’s recruiting and program development slipped badly at the end. He and his coaches became entitled and unwilling to adapt to the more dynamic offensive schemes of today. Further, Dantonio retired at the absolute worst possible time for Michigan State on the eve of National Signing Day. That meant that all of the nation’s top coaching candidates had already been locked into new contracts. As a result, Colorado head coach Mel Tucker had tremendous leverage and stuck MSU with a massive deal that set him up for life. Tucker went 5-7 in his first and only season at Boulder but was renowned for superb recruiting. Which is exactly what Sparty and fans are hoping for going forward.
2020 Michigan State Spartans Schedule
Week 1: Saturday, September 5, Northwestern Wildcats
Week 2: Saturday, September 12, at BYU Cougars
Week 3: Saturday, September 19, Toledo Rockets
Week 4: Saturday, September 26, Miami Hurricanes
Week 5: Saturday, October 3, at Iowa Hawkeyes
Week 6: Saturday, October 10, Michigan Wolverines
Week 7: Saturday, October 17, Ohio State Buckeyes
Week 8: Saturday, October 24, at Indiana Hoosiers
Week 9: Saturday, October 31, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Week 10: Bye Week
Week 11: Saturday, November 14, at Penn State Nittany Lions
Week 12: Saturday, November 21, Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Week 13: Saturday, November 28, at Maryland Terrapins
2020 Michigan State Spartans Regular Season Preview
Tucker’s first order of business will be to develop any semblance of an effective offense that can be mustered. MSU finished 107th for scoring last year and the year before that they finished 126th. Such terrible offense finally wore down what was otherwise a solid defense that ranked 18th overall nationally in 2019.
Just four starters return to the offensive unit, which is likely a blessing, all things considered. Quarterback will be the big question mark as three-year starter Brian Lewerke has graduated. Among the contenders is redshirt freshman Payton Thorne, who was expected to contend for the starting spot before spring football was cancelled. Junior Rocky Lombardi has playing experience but little in the way of success. Redshirt freshman Theo Day will also be in the mix.
Sophomore running back Elijah Collins is coming off a breakout season for 2019 in which he ran for 988 yards on 222 attempts with 4.5 yards per carry and five touchdowns. He had three games over 100 yards rushing last year.
If Tucker is to lead the Spartans to a bowl in his first season it will be because of a defense that has been all that prevented MSU from becoming a total disaster.
Linebacker Antjuan Simmons will spark the defensive side of the ball. Last year he exploded for 90 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.
The defense returns just three starters but new coordinator Scottie Hazelton is respected from his work with Wyoming and Kansas State. He also coached three years in the NFL which will catch the attention of recruits.
This is likely a throwaway year for Tucker, though he and MSU would never admit that. The real test is in the years ahead.
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