It was a long drought for the Michigan State Spartans, but the 2013 season brought a Big Ten title and the team’s first Rose Bowl appearance and win since 1988 — yes, that’s a 26-year drought for those who are counting. So does this mean they are done winning Rose Bowls for another 25 years? No, and here’s why.
Michigan State may be losing a handful of starters on defense such as first-round pick Darqueze Dennard, field-general Max Bullough, tough guy Denicos Allen and safety Isaiah Lewis — also a member of the “No Fly Zone.”
Sure, Michigan State might be looking like a team on the rebuild this season, defensively, but that’s far from the truth.
Great teams don’t rebuild, they reload. Michigan State is becoming a great team under Mark Dantonio and this season will be a perfect indication of such. The Spartans are returning two players who are predicted t0 be first-round selections in the 2015 NFL Draft — CB Trae Waynes and DE Shilique Calhoun.
This is the year that Michigan State shuts up the critics.
Yeah, they quieted critics in 2013 by winning the Rose Bowl, but if they wanted to shake the distinction of “one-year wonder” they will have to at least make the Big Ten title game.
So the defense will be solid again with young studs replacing guys who headed to the NFL, but what about the offense that was so lethargic at times in 2013? Connor Cook is back and many believe he could be an early-round NFL selection if he leaves early after the 2014 season. He passed for over 2,700 yards and 22 touchdowns while throwing just six interceptions.
Couple Cook with solid returning receivers — also a very deep unit — and add an experienced Jeremy Langford at running back to the group and you have a solid offense.
This team isn’t going anywhere, folks, and I believe a second-straight Rose Bowl victory is in its future.
Connor Muldowney is the Content Associate for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.