Michigan State Spartans Football and the Big Ten: Some Random Thoughts

Faygo KidContributor IJuly 4, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans directs play against the Georgia Bulldogs at the 2009 Capital One Bowl at the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

A few random thoughts about MSU and the coming Big Ten football season as we suffer through the Dog Days of the World Cup, Wimbledon, and eating contests:

How good is Kirk Cousins?

If he is as good as Dan Enos (good luck at CMU, coach!) I am happy.  He reminds me, however, of Tom Brady and Drew Brees in their college days.  He manages the game well, with great accuracy.  How good is he?  We will find out this year.  I like the cut of his jib.  And Andrew Maxwell has all the skills to be a great backup and a worthy successor.

Can't-miss prospect from the 2010 recruiting class?

Got to go with Max Bullough.  Got all the intangibles, and he's driven.  Reminds me of Spielman, only bigger.  No knock at Gholston, Hicks, et al, but Bullough will be a terror.

The surprise fact about a 2011 recruit?

Lawrence Thomas is already 6'4" and 232 pounds, as of a couple months ago.  If he gets any bigger (and he probably will), he moves to defensive end and terrorizes—absolutely terrorizes—opposing quarterbacks.  With Gholston on the other side, and Bullough and Norman at linebacker, good luck, Big Ten offensive coordinators.  Figure that one out.

Heisman contenders in the Big Ten this year?

Top one has to be Terrelle Pryor.  I think a lot of voters regretted Reggie Bush over Vince Young, and rightly so.  Pryor is like Young, obviously.  John Clay at Wisconsin is another contender.

MSU's top areas for improvement:  Secondary and turnovers

Last year MSU was at the bottom in passing yards yielded—last in the Big Ten, and nearly last in the nation.  And it wasn't close: MSU gave up about 20 more yards per game than the 10th team in the conference.  Ugh.  And turnovers?  Forget it—117th in the nation.  One other concern?  Brett Swenson is gone.  Enough said.

Running backs underrated

The running back's position last year was a revolving door, with most starters gone by the end of the year.  Last year at this time we were talking about Glenn Winston, A.J. Jimmerson, Caulton Ray, and Ashton Leggett.  This year we talk about Larry Caper, Edwin Baker, Nick Hill, and Leveon Bell.  Works for me.

Bottom line?

Ohio State and Wisconsin live up to expectations and go to BCS bowls.  Iowa and Penn State stumble, and MSU finishes third in the Big Ten.  Michigan finishes about .500, but RichRod gets one more year.  Zook goes out, Purdue is better than expected, Northwestern scrapes into a bowl as does Indiana, and Minnesota is out, despite that terrific new stadium.