DSN Roundtable: Five-year outlook and expectations for MSU Football

The noticeable down year from the Michigan State Spartans has seemed to spark a lot of people around the country, most notably those here at DSN. Whether they are a part of Spartan Nation, or bleed maize and blue, it has generated a lot of conversation on where the Spartans currently stand, particularly when compared to their rivals down in the road in Ann Arbor and the rest of the Big Ten.

Introducing our first installment of the DSN Roundtable. Every now and then, the DSN staff will get roped into a conversation regarding a topic that interests them. For this pilot, we have DSN editor Don Drysdale, and college writers Daniel Dylan Bair, Ryan Griffin and Paul Rochon taking part in the discussion.

The overall topic – What is the outlook of Michigan State football moving forward and what should the expectations be? FULL DISCLAIMER: It should be known that everyone involved is giving their individual opinion, entirely unscripted and candid, and by no means are they a reflection of everyone involved at DSN.


PAUL ROCHON: Not trolling and not an original thought. How long does Dantonio have left to coach? 5 years? He isn’t getting over the hump. Why not take a chance on the next big thing?

For the record, I say you stick with Dantonio and realize this is what MSU is, but it’s certainly a discussion.

DON DRYSDALE: I would be curious to see what MSU fans think.

PR: Hence why I’m asking.

DYLAN BAIR: That’s just hot take theatre right there. The question will be met with scoffs and vitriol.

PR: What is your opinion? Haha.

DB: My opinion is that Dantonio probably has six years left – two great ones, one contender team. And then he’ll leave and possibly dabble with an SEC program for a few years as a personal challenge. Then retire and be canonized in East Lansing

PR: Is that what you want?

DB: What do you mean?

PR: Do you want to keep Dantonio for those six years, or would you prefer to look for his replacement while MSU has some cache

RYAN GRIFFIN: Keep Dantonio forever, with the caveat he makes program adjustments when needed.

DD: ^^Which he has not done, but I will give him a pass until next season.

PR: Oooohh, shots! I would give him two years.

DD: If he comes in with the same OC then I will question it.

PR: If they don’t win ten games in 2018, I’m looking for my next coach if I’m MSU.

DD: I did give it two years. The OC was awful last season too, it was just masked by the fact that they won games. I am not saying fire Dantonio by the way!!!!!! Not even close.

PR: Lol I doubt anyone in this thread would say that.

DD: Even for (Western Michigan head coach) P. J. Fleck…

DB: Anyone with a brain wouldn’t say that. Being reactionary is something State can’t afford. I have a good list of guys I’d like as his replacement, but I’m not ready to run him out of town. That’s stupid and a waste. His brand isn’t fully built yet and he has six years with Harbaugh in-state to cement this school.

DD: It’s so hard to tell who will be available 5-6 years down the road though.

DB: That’s what I think. I’m talking immediate replacement.

DD: Oh, now?

DB: But again, he won’t be fired nor should he be. And yes, now.

DD: Fleck has to be on that list then.

DB: Nope. I prefer proven commodities. We aren’t ‘Scrub U’ anymore.

PR: What should MSU’s expectations be going forward?

DB: A five-year look out if you will?

PR: No, like what is acceptable for performance most years from now on – 8 wins, 10 wins, contend for Big Ten every year, contend for Playoff every year, etc.

For instance, mine would be contending for 3rd in the Big Ten every year.

DD: Paul, what will UM be favored by over MSU?

DB:  (To Paul) That’s a loser mentality we can’t accept anymore. I expect greatness because I’ve seen it.  So my expectation is ‘Big Ten or bust’ every year (within reason of course like this year wouldn’t be one of those).

My goal since I was a child for MSU is the Rose Bowl, nothing less.

DD: My goal for Michigan is a national title. Just winning the Big Ten is not close to enough for me.

DB: And that is a reasonable designation. But third place in the Big Ten is insulting this time around. This isn’t 2004, drop off or not. The 2013 Spartans team was one poor game from a national title appearance. And that proves the power.

PR: I’ll stick with 18.5 for the spread. Hard to predict what Vegas will do but that’s what I’d set it at. Also, before we get out of control, think about it. 10 wins with losses to Michigan and OSU = 3rd in the B1G and that’s without other teams stepping up ala Wisconsin, Nebraska, whoever

DB: Vegas will probably do 18.

PR: Being realistic third place should be the expectation going forward, in my opinion.

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DB: You also madly disrespect this program. And you’re talking fan expectation. You aren’t a fan so to be fair your opinion doesn’t matter in this circumstance. Just as mine wouldn’t for yours of Michigan.

Conjecture on rooting interest or expectation is pointless when it isn’t your team. Same reason I don’t mock Lions fans despite it being an exercise in futility.

PR: And I’m not talking about typical slappy expectation. I’m asking as analysts what do you guys really think MSU should be doing the next several years considering the circumstances.

DD: I thought the spread would be around 15 prior to this week, but I agree on the 18.5 now. Also, I would take MSU +18.5. Not because they are remotely good, but because Michigan is their Super Bowl like OSU is to us.

PR: Yeah but I expect Harbaugh to hit the gas pedal if the opportunity is there. Northwestern scored 54… 54!!!!!

I need a bigger font to express my feelings.

RG: Expectation will be win the Big Ten obviously, anything less is a failure. That will always be the goal.

DD: My expectation for MSU, objectively speaking, would be to finish ahead of either UM or OSU 1 out of 3 years moving forward. They will not win the Big Ten though as long as Harbaugh and Meyer are both there.

PR: Finally, someone that understands!

RG: Already beaten Meyer twice, and Harbaugh hasn’t won a Power 5 conference yet.

DD: They may say their expectation is to win the Big Ten, but would they put money on it?

PR: (To Ryan G.) Which is irrelevant going forward.

DD: ^^^

RG:  (To DD) Obviously not, but I’m not going to hold them to a lesser standard.

DD: Literally has ZERO to do with the future. So, you would put money on MSU to win the Big Ten Title every year? With even odds.

RG: (To Paul) Of course it does. The notion that they can’t beat these dudes any year is ridiculous.

Every year? Of course not. Only Alabama wins a conference every year.

DD: Ok, out of the next 5 years, how many Big Ten Titles will MSU win?

PR: It’s not ridiculous though.

(To DD): Zero, Don. Zero. None. Nada. Zilch. Undefined

RG: Can’t predict the future, I’d be happy with 2.

PR: Cannot compute.

DD: So you would be happy with 2, but your expectation is 5?

RG: All these coaches could be gone in 5 years.

PR: We’re talking under the assumption both stay.

DD: If Harbaugh and Meyer leave then yeah, all bets are off. Because I don’t know who would replace them.

RG: Even if they both stay, I want 5 but would settle for 2

DD: I guess my goal for UM would be to win the Big Ten 3 of the next 5, with OSU winning the other two. I’d also be content with getting to a Playoff in 3 of 5 years.

DB: Don I got a wager for you.

DD: What’s that?

PR: What’s the wager?

DB: I bet that MSU will at least contend for a Big Ten title and win at least one in the next five years. And I wager a percentage of your theoretical stock holdings in DSN. Because what you both are spewing is asinine and I want you to pay for it.

PR: I’m not Don but I’ll take that bet, conditional in Meyer and Harbaugh staying put for the duration.

DB: No kidding.

DD: So one year they will make the title game and lose and another they will win the Big Ten? Count me in!

DB: Contend as in last two weeks being in the fray, like Ohio state will be this year.

PR: Last week is contention.

DB: They’ll get second but arguably be second best in conference. MSU has OSU as second to last game now, so that doesn’t seem sensible. I’m not trusting a win over Penn State as the true indicator.

PR: Being out of even a shot before the last week is not contending, in my opinion. You don’t have to be in control of your own destiny just with a mathematical path the last week.

DB: I guess so.

PR: Not that it matters because they won’t fulfill the win condition.

DB: I just think of OSU last year.  They were out of conference race two weeks out but had still been in contention. I mean, technically they were in but not really contending in the final week.

PR: If MSU had lost the last week, OSU would’ve been in the title game. That’s contention no matter how unlikely the possibility.

PR: Next year is OSU’s year

DB: Expectation is double-digit wins for Michigan State – Super favorable schedule, first four games at home and only real challenges are the two away games, OSU and Michigan.

PR: Wait, is JT Barrett back next year?

DB: No.

PR: It’ll be an interesting year then but they’re still the front runners.

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