Michigan State's 7-6 football season in 2012 was a far cry from what was expected.
In 2010 and 2011, the Spartans grew accustomed to competing for division and Big Ten conference championships. However, in 2012, they fell flat without the services of quarterback Kirk Cousins and his great stable of receivers: Mark Dell, Keith Nichol, Keshawn Martin and B.J. Cunningham.
In 2013, Michigan State could face a similar storyline: lots of talent, but issues at quarterback and receiver. To avoid a tailspin, head coach Mark Dantonio has to find that comfortable pace that allowed for his team's great success in 2010 and 2011.
This season, the Spartans are without star running back Le'Veon Bell, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. But they return a defense that is among the best in the nation, spearheaded by senior linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen. Senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover also figures to be a powerhouse for a defense that ranked No. 4 nationally in total production a year ago.
Senior quarterback Andrew Maxwell is expected to manage the games, providing some sort of offensive assistance to relieve the pressure on Bullough and Co.