With only a few exceptions of late, Michigan State fans have learned to get excited about their team despite a lack of national support. 2017 is no different, although there is one brave man willing to stand up and show his support for MSU.
Although, he is doing so safely on the other side of the country.
Jon Wilner was the only voter in the AP Poll to include Michigan State in his top 25 rankings. Wilner is a writer for The San Jose Mercury News.
Michigan State wasn’t Wilner’s only bold prediction. The West Coast writer was one of nine voters not to have Alabama as their top team, Wilner put the Florida State Seminoles one spot ahead of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He also put the Texas Longhorns at No. 9.
When it comes to defending his MSU pick, it comes down to something pretty simple for Wilner – the Spartans head coach. From Wilner’s AP poll post on the Mercury News website:
No reason to expect the Spartans to execute complete turnaround from three-win season, except that Mark Dantonio is a helluva coach.
Wilner expanded on his thought process a little more with Matt Charboneau.
“It was basically a combination of three things,” Wilner wrote in an email to the Detroit News reporter. “Every year, some teams outperform expectations, and I try to factor that unpredictability into my ballot; it’s a matter of picking the right upside surprises. Second, I don’t think Dantonio has forgotten how to coach, and there should be no sense of satisfaction among the players. Lastly, the schedule: No Wisconsin, no Nebraska and Notre Dame at home. I think they can win seven or eight, which would make them a ranked team by the end of the season.”
Wilner’s wild predictions didn’t exactly line up with his fellow voters. Of the 62 voters, Wilner’s ballot was the second least like the actual poll. Charboneau, on the other hand, had the 19th most consistent poll.
In defense of Wilner, there is at least one other person in the college football world who thinks MSU should start the season ranked, but the other person is still unknown. Michigan State also received one vote for the top 25 in the coaches poll.