In the past, the Michigan State Spartans have had issues with high expectations.
In 2010 they marched into the Capital One Bowl with a share of the Big Ten title and an 11-win season only to bring shame to themselves.
The past is the past, however.
In 2011 they went down to the wire versus Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game and defeated a very good Georgia Bulldogs team in a dramatic and exciting Outback Bowl. It appears that the Spartans are finally ready to compete with the best.
The returning defense is one of the scariest in the nation.
Denicos Allen, William Gholston, Marcus Rush, Isaiah Lewis and a whole host of others return in 2012. If you think that they are only dominant against Big Ten teams, then you should ask Aaron Murray at Georgia whether this is true or not.
The loss of Kirk Cousins, B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin stalls the offense. All-American defensive tackle Jerel Worthy also departs this year, and he will be missed.
The Spartans look to Andrew Maxwell, who has been groomed the last three years, to replace Cousins. Le'Veon Bell returns after an outstanding sophomore campaign, and Larry Caper looks to get more carries after the departure of Edwin Baker.
The Spartans have the talent—we shall see if they have the focus. Given their recent bowl-game victory, I think they do.
Key Returning Players: Denicos Allen, Isaiah Lewis, William Gholston, Marcus Rush and Le'Veon Bell.