The Spartans find themselves in a transitive state at the moment. After three straight years of underwhelming performance, Mark Dantonio and his program will need a solid 2019 campaign to calm murmurs of a need for change at MSU.
National pundits have been firing off in the past few weeks as the College Football season approaches. It seemed appropriate to wrangle up as many of these accredited pollsters and see exactly how successful the national media believes Mark Dantonio will be at righting the ship in East Lansing. Below is a collection of major publications’ opinions on the Spartans followed by an aggregate ranking of where these respected sources have Michigan State in the 2019 season.
Mark Dantonio is as well-entrenched as any coach in the country, but over the last three years his Spartans are just 20–18. Another lackluster season, and he could find himself on the hot seat.
The SI Staff
Bleacher Report Ap Preseason Poll Prediction
Adam Wells, Bleacher Report
Assuming (Brian) Lewerke is back to full strength, it would be a huge boost for a unit that averaged only 18.7 points a game in 2018. Brad Salem was promoted to play-caller and a few tweaks could be coming to the scheme and overall pace of this unit. The Spartans have a solid receiving corps in place, but the offense needs more consistency out of the offensive line and ground game. Of Michigan State’s six losses last season, four came by 10 points or less. Modest improvement on offense could lift Dantonio’s team to nine wins in 2019.
Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports
Even with road games at Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan, hitting the over by reaching the eight-win mark feels like a good bet. A 5-0 start is very possible, and that leaves Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland still on the schedule. With a defense this strong, MSU is going to play in a bunch of close games.
Sam Cooper, Yahoo Sports
This team might be in the middle between those double-digit compilers and the just-get-by bowl teams that seem to populate Mark Dantonio’s tenure. The Spartans (surprise!) will depend on their defense to keep it in games, but the offense should be markedly improved. A healthy Brian Lewerke makes all the difference.
Wayne Staats, Turner Sports
Amway Coaches Poll
ESPN Power Rankings
Quarterback Brian Lewerke dealt with an injury last season that severely hampered the Spartans’ offense. Michigan State finished 115th in total yards per game on offense and continually relied on its defense to keep the team in games. The defense returns leaders Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes, and Lewerke is seemingly healthy. If Michigan State can keep Lewerke upright and productive, they should be able to improve on the 7-6 record from last season.
Tom VanHaaren, ESPN
The Sporting News
Average Rank of 20.25
The Spartans will have one of the most stout defenses in the nation with Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes at the helm. MSU will see at least some remote improvement from Brian Lewerke and will see a porous offense reshape into something much more respectable. Michigan State will be in a lot of close matchups and expect the Spartans to flirt with double-digit wins in 2019.