The Big Ten features a tremendous amount of talent in 2012 on the defensive side of the football. While last year's most notable defensive story concerned the turnaround at the University of Michigan under new defensive coordinator and former Baltimore Raven's defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, rival Michigan State has enough defensive talent to play with any team in any conference.
The Spartans' D features size and speed at each position, and does not appear to have any blatant holes.
Defensive ends William Gholston and Marcus Rush will get upfield in a hurry, collapse the pocket, and pressure quarterbacks to make ill-advised throws. A well balanced linebacking corps consisting of Denicos Allen (second in the Big Ten in sacks in 2011), Max Bullough, and Chris Norman will greatly contribute to State's run-stopping ability. Lastly, the Spartans boast exceptional talent at the defensive back position. Darqueze Dennard and Johnny Adams need only contain wideouts down the field, but both offer shut-down ability and will only add to the potency of the defensive line.
Although with each passing year the Spartans' defense seems to grow a bit more impenetrable, there remain teams across the country that have to and will be able to move the ball against them. This article aims to highlight those teams.
The important characteristic that will solve MSU's defense this year is what many like to call "star power".
Note: Michigan State does not play all of the following teams in 2012, but the overall caliber of the group is meant to describe the dominant level of play that the Spartans aspire to.