Top 10 reasons to expect a revision to the norm this year:
1. The spartans close wins against good opponents may not continue. They won at OSU 10-7 despite losing the turnover and time of possession battle, beat U of M despite Robinson throwing for more yards than Cousins and giving them 124 yards and 6 first downs in penalties, Beat WIS with a blocked punt for a TD, and a last second hail mary, beat Georgia with and amazing fourth quarter comeback capped by a blocked field goal in the third overtime
2. Our inexperienced QB and WR's get no time to gel in that Maxwell missed the spring game and we open with the Boise State Broncos who started their last three seasons with a victories over ranked major-conference opponents #16 Oregon, #10 Virginia Tech and #5 Georgia
3. MSU's schedule is brutal with Boise St, ND, OSU, Iowa, WIS, U of M and NE in 7 of their first 10 games
4. This years team will be missing all 4 offensive big ten first and second team performers that they had from last year, along with losing first team selections Worthy and Robinson on defense
5. Although we had Bell, Baker, Hill and Caper we tied for last in the big ten in rushing last year so returning all the O-linemen except the one that was first team all big ten may not be as much of an advantage as anticipated
6. Three out of our top four interior defensive linemen are gone and the highest rated replacement recruits have been a 3 star in 2011, 2 star in 2010, zero star in 2009 and two star in 2008
7. MSU's vaunted defense from last year including all big ten Worthy and Robinson who are gone still gave up 39 points when it mattered most in the big ten championship game, allowing WIS to score touchdowns on all 5 red-zone chances. They also gave up 31 points and 443 yards to WIS in their first meeting. Last years defensive stats were padded by holding teams like FAU to no points and only 48 total yards and CMU to 7 points and 112 yards
8. MSU's returning TE's combined caught a total of 12 passes with an average of just 8 yards per catch
9. MSU's starting quarterback for the upcoming year Maxwell, threw for less than 200 yards total last year and missed the entire spring game, and if he gets hurt we will be relying on a freshmen with no experience who looked overwhelmed in the spring game even wearing a red jersey knowing he could not be hit
10. MSU's entire group of returning receivers, walk-on's plus scholarship players combined, caught a total of 20 passes last year for the spartans, averaging less than 8 yards per catch with no touchdowns.
Top 10 reasons to jump on the Spartan bandwagon if you have not already been living there like you should:
1. The spartans are on a roll, going 14-2 in the big ten over the last 2 years, best in the conference, while none of the stalwarts like U of M, OSU or Pn St did better than 10-6
2. MSU has the fourth longest home winning streak in college football. We are ranked # 13 in the preseason coaches poll, our highest pre-season ranking in the USA today poll, and we have been ranked by them for 30 consecutive weeks our longest streak ever
3. The spartans depth is at an all time high to the point they were able to redshirt all but one player from last years class, and have a bunch of reserve players that would start for many big ten teams.
4. The spartans receivers may have little experience but they have great potential with Burbridge the #1 ranked player in MI on the way in at receiver along with another 4 star, and a 4 star transfer from Tennessee to go along with 8 three stars that were recruited over the past three years
5. MSU's quarterback Maxwell was a 4 star recruit has had three years to learn the system, and was the understudy to Cousins the winningest quarterback in spartan history. The coaches say he has more foot speed and arm strength than Cousins did
6. MSU is the only team besides Alabama and LSU to have four players listed on the Bednarik Award watch list for the nations top defensive player
7. MSU led the conference in rushing defense (100.5 yards per game), total defense (277.4 ypg.), interceptions (18), sacks (45), tackles for loss (105) and third-down defense (.337)
8. The spartans return 8/11 players on defense more than everyone but OSU and IND, and all of our returning players were honored in some manor as all big ten last year which no other team can say
9. The spartans have landed a dynasty football coach to go along with the best coach in basketball. In five years Coach Dantonio has taken a last place team to a big ten championship and legends division championship. He has recruited the top player in MI three years in a row. He has won at OSU for the first time since 1998 and at Iowa for the first time since 1989, and at Pn St for the first time since 1965. We now have the longest home winning streak since 1953 and the longest bowl streak ever. Prior to these back to back 11 win seasons the best two years in a row since 1966 were 8-4 in 1989 and 8-3-1 in 1990.
10. Coach Dantonio has helped the Spartans expunge the "Same Old Spartan", "Little Brother" and "Sparty No" demons, going 8-1 in the last 9 games decided by less than a touchdown and 4-0 against U of M. A victory this year at U of M will set the all time record for consecutive victories against the wolverines.