Michigan State Football: Schedule Preview for 2014

Michigan State: Schedule Preview for 2014

MSU Spartans
Richard Mackson - USA Today Sports

After a successful 2013 season that culminated in a Rose Bowl victory, the Michigan State Spartans are out to prove that not only was last season not a fluke, but they are serious contenders to qualify for the inaugural college football playoffs in 2014. Here is a breakdown of the schedule and the challenges they will face if they want to represent the Big 10 at the end of the season.

Aug. 29 vs. Jacksonville St.

Jacksonville St.
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

Aug. 29 vs. Jacksonville St.

Jacksonville St.
Kim Klement - USA Today Sports

MSU opens the 2014 season against the FCS program and should not have any problems of not only defeating them, but finding early playing time for some of the inexperienced players on the team. The primary goal of this game is to get out of it healthy.

Sept. 6 at Oregon

Marcus Mariotti
Soobum Im - USA Today Sports

Sept. 6 at Oregon

Oregon Ducks
Soobum Im - USA Today Sports

The Spartans find out early if they are serious playoff contenders when they travel to Autzen Stadium to face the Oregon Ducks. Defensively, MSU has the talent to give the Ducks trouble, but there will be three new starters on the Spartan offensive line and this is not the ideal environment for their first big test of the season.

Sept. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan University
Mike Dinovo - USA Today Sports

Sept. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan

Eastern Michigan University
Mike Dinovo - USA Today Sports

Week 3 against the Eagles will be a game where Coach Dantonio will be able to rest any nicks or bruises they sustained against Oregon the previous week. EMU is back to square one in trying to establish itself as a competent football program and will not provide much of a fight against the in-state opponent.

Sept. 27 vs. Wyoming

Wyoming
Troy Babbitt - USA Today sports

Sept. 27 vs. Wyoming

Wyoming
Troy Babbitt - USA Today sports

Week 4 against the Wyoming Cowboys is Michigan State's final warm-up game before heading into the Big 10 Conference schedule, and while the Cowboys will provide more of a challenge than EMU did in Week 3, this is a game that should be decided before halftime.

Oct. 4 vs. Nebraska

Ameer Abdullah
Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports

Oct. 4 vs. Nebraska

Ameer Abdullah
Rick Osentoski - USA Today Sports

The match-up against the Cornhuskers is strength vs. strength as MSU prides itself on being able to stop the run while Nebraska will look to counter that strength with the talented Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross. The game will be decided by whoever is able to neutralize the other aspects of their opponent and unlike in past years, the Spartan offense is good enough to win games by itself.

Oct. 11 at Purdue

Purdue Boilermakers
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

Oct. 11 at Purdue

Purdue Boilermakers
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

Road games are never easy in conference play and it will be interesting to see where second year head coach Darrel Hazell has the Purdue program. Quarterback Danny Etling showed promise last season, but the Spartans have a defense and rush offense that could be too much to overcome.

Oct. 18 at Indiana

Nate Sudfeld
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

Oct. 18 at Indiana

Nate Sudfeld
Pat Lovell - USA Today Sports

After playing Oregon, the Spartans defense will have an idea of what it is to face an uptempo offense with a lot of weapons. Losing Tre Roberson will alter some of the things that head coach Kevin Wilson will do, but the team is still talented. The question is can they stop anyone? Indiana surrendered 42 points last season to a Spartan offense that was still learning itself; what will happen this year against a more experienced unit?

Oct. 25 vs. Michigan

Devin Gardner
Tim Fuller - USA Today Sports

Oct. 25 vs. Michigan

Devin Gardner
Tim Fuller - USA Today Sports

After an embarrassing 29-6 defeat the Wolverines will be looking for revenge and while their offense will be improved with Doug Nussmeier being hired as new offensive coordinator, Michigan has to show that it has toughened up on both sides of the ball if it wants to compete with the Spartans.

Nov. 8 vs. Ohio St.

Braxton Miller
Marc Lebryk - USA Today Sports

Nov. 8 vs. Ohio St.

Braxton Miller
Marc Lebryk - USA Today Sports

The game versus the Buckeyes could very well determine who wins the East Division and while Ohio State's front four defensively, and Braxton Miller, will be tough to overcome, the Spartans are no slouch themselves. The victor could be decided by whoever is able to establish the run and wins the turnover battle.

Nov. 15 at Maryland

Maryland Terrapins
Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

Nov. 15 at Maryland

Maryland Terrapins
Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

New to the conference, Maryland returns 87 percent of its two-deep and could provide a tougher road challenge for the Spartans than most think. But in order to pull off the upset, the Terrapins must show growth as a team considering they only won three games in the less competitive ACC last season.

Nov. 22 vs. Rutgers

Gary Nova
The Star-Ledger - USA Today Sports

Nov. 22 vs. Rutgers

Gary Nova
The Star-Ledger - USA Today Sports

The Spartans host the other newcomer to the conference in Rutgers and unlike Maryland, who had big conference talent, the Scarlet Knights have to prove that they can be competitive and weren't added to the conference just because of the New York TV market. They return nine out of 11 starters offensively, but facing the tough MSU defense will be a major task.

Nov. 29 at Penn St.

Christian Hackenberg
Matthew Oharen - USA Today Sports

Nov. 29 at Penn St.

Christian Hackenberg
Matthew Oharen - USA Today Sports

MSU ends the regular season against Penn St. and new head coach James Franklin. While the Nittany only return three offensive starters, by this point in the season everyone should be entrenched in their position and inexperience should not be a problem. The biggest question for PSU is whether the offensive line has the talent to keep the MSU front seven away from quarterback Christian Hackenberg enough to outscore the MSU offense.

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  • Guest

    Umm, where’s the text of the breakdown? – Lol.