5 Reasons Michigan State will make the College Football Playoff


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We are inching closer and closer to the start of the 2015 college football season. It is now less than a mere 100 days away from the kickoff to the Michigan State Spartans‘ quest to reach the College Football Playoff.

Most of the news this time of year is centered on recruiting and the Spartans are experiencing unprecedented success on that front. Let’s take a look, however, at the prospect of Michigan State being one of the four participants in the College Football Playoff. If the Spartans do make it into the CFP, here are the five reasons why.

1. Connor Cook 

If Connor Cook continues the success he has produced in his previous two years he will go down as the most prolific quarterback in Michigan State history. Cook will be the biggest reason that the Spartans make the playoff in the upcoming season.

Championship teams often have a quarterback that carries them through games where their teammates are not playing their best and they can cover up deficiencies their team may have. The Spartans have question marks in the defensive backfield, the offensive backfield, and at receiver.

Sep 20, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) makes a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Cook playing at a Heisman and first-round pick level will cover up any blemishes the Spartans may possess. He has proven he is a winner, can put up huge stats and play on the biggest stages. He has the talent to control the game, score points, and make the correct decisions to carry the team.

2. Offensive Line 

The 2015 Spartans could produce one of the best offensive lines in recent memory. Jack Conklin, Brian Allen and Jack Allen anchor a line that has continuity, talent and experience — all key ingredients for a great offensive line.

Every great quarterback needs a line that can protect him and give him time in the pocket, this line can do that and more. Besides quarterback protection the offensive line can create a great running game.

Michigan State at its core under head coach Mark Dantonio is a smash mouth team, controlling the clock and the line of scrimmage is the Spartans bread and butter, ending the will of the opposing team. Against offensive powerhouse teams such as Oregon and Ohio State, the longer the offense can possess the ball, the more the potent offensive stays off the field.

With Michigan State losing Jeremy Langford, a great offensive line will allow the new running back(s) to settle into the role by creating easy holes and reads for them. The guys in the trenches won’t always get the fanfare that the skill positions do but Michigan State will be in the national conversation all year because of these guys.

3. Defensive Line 

Aug 30, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) scores a touchdown on fumble recovery against the Western Michigan Broncos during 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The MSU practices may be worth more than the price of admission. Equally as impressive as the aforementioned offensive line is the defensive line.

Shilique Calhoun coming back was a fantastic surprise for Spartan Nation. He will team up with Lawrence Thomas, Malik McDowell and Demetrious Cooper to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

Michigan State has question marks in their defensive backfield with the departures of Trae Waynes and Kurtis Drummond, however, an effective defensive line can force a quarterback to become uncomfortable, force throws and disrupt timing between the quarterback and his receivers — all of which helps a defensive backfield.

This unit should have no problems creating pressure and controlling the line of scrimmage.

4. Linebackers 

Continuing on the defensive side, the Spartan linebacking core will also be a site to see flying around the field. In the middle, Riley Bullough appears to have solidified himself in that role, following in the footsteps of his older brother Max.

Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Riley Bullough (30) reacts during the game against the Baylor Bears in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Darien Harris will be in the star linebacker role; he has stated that he will play faster in the upcoming year and, by all accounts, appears to be living up to that. Harris tracked down Madre London during the spring football game after he broke a long run.

Ed Davis rounds out the group in the Sam linebacker role. Coaches have said that Ed could be the most talented linebacker to play at Michigan State. Davis himself has said that he needs to play with more consistency and I expect him to make a nationwide name for himself this year and become an All-Big Ten player, unleashing his full potential.

The amount of speed this group possesses will help in creating pressure but also in coverage. The versatility of stopping the run, playing in coverage and blitzing will be a huge asset for Michigan State.

5. Mark Dantonio 

So much can be said about the job that Coach D has done since coming to Michigan State in Novemeber of 2006; he has completely turned the program around.

The Spartans have had 11 win seasons in four out of the last five years, including a Big Ten title game win, Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl victories and consecutive top-five finishes. The next step for the program is to play for a national championship and Dantonio is the coach to get them there.

Coach D has created a family atmosphere in East Lansing with the football team. His pro-style offense and focus on defense has produced NFL players and the player development can be put up against any coaching staff in the nation. Dantonio has MSU on the national radar and he will take it over the top this year.

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