MSU Win Total Prediction
Once again being overlooked in the Big Ten title race, can the Michigan State Spartans find a way to get to the top of the conference in 2016?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, the Spartans are listed with an over/under of 9.5 wins for the 2016 regular season. The over is listed with a line of -160, while the under has a line of +130. MSU is also listed with 50/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs and 8/1 odds to win the Big Ten Championship.
The Spartans are entering their 10th season under head coach Mark Dantonio, who has taken the program to great heights in his time in East Lansing. He has an 87-33 record over the last nine years with a 52-20 mark in the Big Ten. It has really been the last six years that he has taken MSU to the top of the football world, posting five 11-win seasons in that time, including a pair of Big Ten titles. The Spartans won the Big Ten for the second time under Dantonio last year before suffering a 38-0 loss to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl playoff semifinal.
The Spartans lost a number of key players from the 2015 squad, most notably Connor Cook, who is arguably the greatest QB the program has had, and certainly one of the most successful. Tyler O’Connor is his likely replacement, but has seen limited action over his first three seasons with the team. Not helping matters is MSU has taken big losses on the offensive line as well with center Jack Allen graduating and left tackle Jack Conklin leaving early to be a first-round draft pick. MSU will need more from its run game this season, as O’Connor isn’t likely to put up what Cook did. The Spartans have capable backs, led by LJ Scott, but even he was held to 699 yards in 2015. The MSU defense has been its strength, but the front line lost a handful, led by Shilique Calhoun. Still, the team has a freak tackle in Malik McDowell that could be a top draft pick in 2017. The rest of the unit is still solid, but needs to develop, especially in the secondary. MSU was too vulnerable to big-play passing in 2015.
Michigan State won’t have much time to lick its wounds on offense, as the Spartans head to South Bend to play Notre Dame in their second game of 2016. They also have a home test against BYU in a solid non-conference clash. When it comes to the Big Ten, the Spartans have a favorable schedule in that their toughest games are at home. They get to host the likes of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State. Road games are at Indiana, Maryland, Illinois and Penn State. All are very winnable, with PSU being the toughest challenge. Despite the roster turnover, Dantonio has built MSU into a winner. That mentality isn’t going away. Neither is the chip on the shoulder of the program as they continue to be overlooked for Ohio State and Michigan despite being both teams a year ago. The Spartans know how to grind out wins and frustrate opponents. That should continue with a physical defense. If the offense finds some early chemistry, it could be another big year in East Lansing. Don’t look for MSU to fall shy of double-digit wins this year.
2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL WIN TOTAL PICK: MICHIGAN STATE OVER 9.5 (-160)