Recently, Michigan State Spartans Head Coach Mark Dantonio said that his team would’ve won the national championship last year had there been a college football playoff.
The fact is, he may have been on to something. An early-season 4-point road loss to Notre Dame as quarterback Connor Cook was still learning the ropes was the only thing that held them out of the game. By the end of the year, the Spartans were definitely the hottest team in college football, except for maybe Florida State, and they’ll be looking to continue the success this year.
With 13 starters back, including eight on offense, the Spartans certainly have the potential to be back in the mix. Can they make a national championship run this year? It’s possible.
But there are lingering questions Dantonio will have to answer, particularly about the defense, in which six starters are gone. The
offensive line, which was a huge deal for Michigan State last year, also took a hit.
On top of that, the schedule just got much tougher for Michigan State with a road game against Oregon in the second game of the season to replace Notre Dame and the additions of Penn State and Maryland on the road along with Ohio State during the regular season this year thanks to the new divisional format of the conference. The Oregon Ducks are definitely not a team you want to play coming right out of the gates with a young defense.
Dantonio has done as good a job as anybody with the Spartans since he took over in 2007, and this year he’s got a team that could potentially be knocking on the door for a national championship.
But there are lots of obstacles he’ll have to overcome with the schedule, departing talent on the offensive line and in the defense, and the fact that nobody will take the Spartans lightly this year.
The good news is there are certain areas of the team that will definitely be good barring injury. Can they overcome the deficiencies? Can Dantonio turn around those deficiencies? Only time will tell.