Oh the football drought. How you bring about articles such as this one.
Michigan State has been on a roll as of late. They posted two consecutive 11-win seasons, and defeated an outstanding Georgia Bulldogs team in the Outback Bowl. The future is bright for Sparty, so bright in fact that it is time for fans to start believing again. Here are some bold predictions for them.
Let me however, start with a disclaimer. These are just predictions based on my observations as a fan. They are not set in stone, they are not death sentences.
Now let's begin.
For lack of a better term, William Gholston is a beast.
The 6'7", 280-pound sophomore from Detroit was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2011. Along the way he registered five sacks, 63 tackles and 11 tackles for a loss (11th in the Big Ten).
The kid plays with a high motor, and is ruthless in his pursuit against the quarterback. Against an outstanding Georgia offensive line, he registered two sacks. Just ask Aaron Murray whether or not Gholston is a bruiser.
Many will point to his incident with Denard Robinson as a possible red flag. While these concerns are valid, they more than likely won't hinder him in his pursuit of Consensus All-American status.
This article was entitled Bold Predictions after all.
After three years under the tutelage of Kirk Cousins, Maxwell takes the reins at the quarterback position. He has steadily improved from 2010 to 2011. In 2010 he completed 44 percent of his passes for 123 yards and zero touchdowns. In 2011, he completed 69 percent of his passes for 171 yards and a score. While that may not seem like much to some, it is marked improvement, and he will only get better.
Maxwell, in my opinion, has a stronger arm than Cousins and has excellent field vision. He was a former elite 11 quarterback in high school who knows how to run a pro-set offense with efficiency. While not a dual-threat quarterback, he can make you miss with his feet and can run for a first down. He is an underrated athlete with an outstanding arm.
Look for him to pick up where Cousins left off, or to take them even further. I wouldn't be surprised to see him on more than a few All-American lists when his time is up in East Lansing.
Le'Veon Bell is a bruiser of a running back.
While not a burner, the 6'2", 237-pound Bell hits the hole with great acceleration and is difficult for any linebacker to bring down.
As a sophomore in 2011 he rushed for 948 yards (5.2 yards/carry) and 13 touchdowns. Against Georgia in the Outback Bowl he plowed through the defensive line for two touchdowns. With the departure of Edwin Baker for the draft, he will carry the majority of the load for MSU. He has done an outstanding job in his short time in East Lansing, and he will only get better.
Look for Bell on the Doak Walker watch list.
This prediction is entirely dependant upon the approval of his hardship waiver.
If that is granted and he can play immediately then the sky is the limit.
As a freshman in the SEC, Arnett caught 24 passes for 242 yards and a couple of scores. He had 59 receiving against an outstanding South Carolina defense in 2011. To put it simply, he has a bright future ahead of him.
He has outstanding quickness and is a home run threat when the ball is in his hands. Expect good things from the likes of him, Monty Madaris, Aaron Burbridge and Dion Sims.
The receiving corps may have been depleted by the NFL draft, but it will be reloaded by the start of the 2012 season.
Denicos Allen established himself as a force to be reckoned with in his first season as a starter.
The redshirt sophomore registered 83 tackles, 11 sacks (second in the Big Ten), 18.5 tackles for a loss (fourth in the Big Ten) and three deflected passes. This was good enough to earn him a Second Team All-Big Ten selection.
Allen may not be very big at 5'10" and 220 pounds, but neither was Greg Jones, and just look at his career accolades. Allen pursues the ball carrier with unrelenting determination and quickness.
While he has some competition within the Big Ten, this prediction may not be so bold.
The Spartans will use images like these as motivation in 2012.
Yes they ended the season with a win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl, but they felt as though they should have been in the Rose Bowl.
Yes Sparty must play Michigan in the Big House, Nebraska at home and Iowa at home. This is no small task. But it is more than realistic for them to come out on top.
Don't be surprised for Sparty to come out on top next season.
They were seemingly shafted in 2010, and they came oh so close in 2011.
2012 is the year that the Spartans will finally make the trip to Pasadena.
Dantonio looks to finally establish himself as one of the elite coaches of college football, and 2012 will be the year to do just that. The defense will carry the team, but the offense will not be anemic. The Spartans play with discipline and are focused with Dantonio at the helm.
They have finally come into their own, now is the time for the rest of the nation to acknowledge this.