5 Bold Predictions Explaining Why Michigan State Football Is Doomed

Paul GrossingerAnalyst IIFebruary 19, 2012

5 Bold Predictions Explaining Why Michigan State Football Is Doomed

0 of 6

    Michigan State's recent impressive run, which included Big Ten titles in 2010 and 2011, will soon come to an end.  

    The program will continue to post strong results under talented coach Mark Dantonio, but there is little chance Michigan State football will remain the class of the Big Ten.

    There are simply too many powerful factors working against the Spartans.  Rival Michigan is back and will soon regain command of in-state recruiting.  Ohio State will not take the beating everyone anticipated after last year's scandal.  Nebraska will soon become a key factor in the division and look for the same recruits as Michigan State.  

    Worst of all, the new divisional alignment will make the Spartans face all of them each year to win a Big Ten title.  So, Michigan State football is doomed.

    Let's take a look at each reason why...

The Return of the Ohio State Buckeyes

1 of 6

    Michigan State was poised to exploit the void left by the Ohio State football scandal, but that will no-longer be possible.

    The Buckeyes looked vulnerable after long-time coach Jim Tressel resigned, Terrell Pryor left for the NFL, several players were suspended and the program was sanctioned.  But after one lackluster year, Ohio State hired former Florida coach Urban Meyer and in a few short months, he will rebuild the Buckeyes' recruiting class and will have them competing along with Michigan for Big Ten and national titles.

    Unfortunately for Michigan State fans, they will now have to compete with the combination of Ohio State's reputation and Urban Meyer's recruiting acumen both on the recruiting trail and on the gridiron. 

Michigan State's Weak 2012 Recruiting Class

2 of 6

    In a possible sign of things to come, Michigan State's 2012 recruiting class was the weakest of the Big Ten's elite football programs.  

    The Spartans' best recruits are guard Ben McGowan, safety Demetrious Cox and receiver Aaron Burbridge.  Michigan State rounded out the class with solid players, but they did not net they type of elite recruits needed to elevate the program to the top of the Big Ten.

    The key reason why was that Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska are now all operating in Big Ten territory.  Michigan State's run of success came largely when Nebraska was in the Big 12 and Michigan was in decline.  Now the school will have to contend with those powerhouses on the recruiting trail and the gridiron year in and year out.  

Nebraska's Entry into the Big Ten

3 of 6

    Michigan State will also struggle to compete now that the Big Ten is more crowded than ever with Nebraska's decision to defect from the Big 12.  The Cornhuskers are an elite program and, once they get used to the Big Ten, they will disrupt the division's pecking order.

    In particular, Nebraska poses a major problem for Michigan State because coach Bo Pelini likes to recruit the same hard-nosed defensive talents that the Spartans thrive on developing for their defense.  The Spartans will have a more difficult time securing the elite defensive ends and linebackers required for their aggressive defensive scheme.

The Return of the Michigan Wolverines

4 of 6

    Michigan State will have a hard time adjusting to their old rival's rise from the ashes.

    It was no accident that the Spartan's recent rise to prominence in the Big Ten since 2008 came on the heels of Michigan's collapse under former coach Rich Rodriguez.

    As the Wolverines suffered through three straight losing seasons and poor recruiting classes, the Spartans emerged on the national stage with 11-2 and 11-3 seasons in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

    Now Brady Hoke has led Michigan back to the promised land with a 2011 Sugar Bowl victory and a top 10 2012 recruiting class.  With the best talent in Michigan again headed to Ann Arbor, it will be very difficult for the Spartans to keep up their recent momentum. 

The Big Ten's New Divisional Alignment

5 of 6

    On top of dealing with old rivals and new ones, Michigan State will suffer under the Big Ten's new divisional alignment.

    The new alignment landed Michigan in the Legends division with Michigan and Nebraska.  So the Spartans will have to beat out those two powers every year for the mini-divisional crown.  

    Then, under the two-division alignment, they will have to face the champion of the Leader's division.  That winner will usually be Ohio State, Penn State or Wisconsin.

    In short, it will be very, very hard for Michigan State to repeat as Big Ten champions in the near future.  

The Final Verdict: What Goes Up Must Come Down

6 of 6

    Michigan State's impressive run of Big Ten titles in 2010 and 2011 will soon come to an end.  

    The program will not completely fall apart under excellent coach Mark Dantonio, but there is little chance Michigan State football will remain the best of the Big Ten.

    There are too many factors that will keep them from winning at their current elite level.  Rival Michigan is back and will soon regain command of in-state recruiting, which will reduce the amount of easy-to-sign talent available to the Spartans.  

    Ohio State will not take the beating everyone anticipated after last year's scandal, and Urban Meyer will out-recruit every Big Ten school except (perhaps) Michigan. Nebraska will soon become a key factor in the division and look for the same talented defensive recruits that Michigan State has thrived on the last few years. 

    Worst of all, the new divisional alignment will make the Spartans face all of them each year to win a Big Ten title.  So, Michigan State football is doomed.