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Detroit Free Press predicts second-place finish for Michigan State in Big Ten East

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Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The 2017 Michigan State Spartans finished second in the Big Ten East division, and improved its win total by seven games from 2016. The 2018 squad returns the most production in college football and is poised for a big season. How will the team fare this season, though?

Detroit Free Press reporter Nick Baumgardner projects the Spartans to once again finish second in college football’s toughest division. Here are his thoughts below:

The buzz: Brian Lewerke’s an emerging quarterback and his wide receivers, led by Felton Davis, look outstanding. The Spartans return almost everything from a 10-win season.

With 10 starters returning on offense, and nine starters returning on defense, MSU is now a more experienced team compared to last season, though, still a relatively young team. The Spartans should be competitive for the foreseeable future.

Unsurprisingly, Baumgardner chose Ohio State to win the division and represent the East in the Big Ten title game Indianapolis. He then picked Michigan to finish third (sounds about right) and Penn State to finish fourth. Indiana, Rutgers and Maryland, in that order, round out the rest of the division.

I agree with this assessment for the most part. Those schools are the clear top-four, and you could truly call them 1, 1A, 1B and B. Although, I do have a hard time seeing Michigan finishing above Penn State. I think it’s foolish to bet against Ohio State at this current point in time, though we should soon learn the fate of Urban Meyer — which will obviously have a huge effect on the season.

Michigan State will likely need to take at least two of the three games from Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State to claim the East. That is no easy feat, but the Spartans have the benefit of playing the Wolverines and Buckeyes at home. The October trip to Happy Valley is going to be tough, but if the Spartans can win there then they’ll be in the driver’s seat.

Baumgardner also mentions in his piece that MSU’s move forward last season is a storyline to watch. That is, the Spartans are not sneaking up on anybody this year and have higher expectations. How will they respond?

How will MSU finish this season? Vote in the poll and comment below!

Poll

How will Michigan State finish in the Big Ten East in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    First
    (453 votes)
  • 28%
    Second
    (215 votes)
  • 7%
    Third
    (60 votes)
  • 2%
    Fourth
    (19 votes)
  • 1%
    Fifth or worse
    (9 votes)
756 votes total Vote Now