Michigan State Football: 10 bold predictions for 2017 Big Ten play

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Michigan State football is set to begin conference play on Saturday and here are 10 bold predictions for the Spartans in Big Ten action.

We are just four weeks into the season and Michigan State football has already produced some mixed results. The Spartans won their first two games against Bowling Green and Western Michigan convincingly before faltering against Notre Dame.

Although Michigan State is coming off a tough 20-point loss at home to the Irish, there’s still hope that this team can turn things around quickly and learn from its mistakes. Mark Dantonio knows there will be growing pains with the youth on the team and he’s vowed to work them through it.

Big Ten play is set to begin on Saturday afternoon against Iowa and it’ll be a whole different animal for these young players. Let’s take a look at the 10 bold predictions for Michigan State in conference play.

10. Spartans finish with top-three defense in Big Ten

Just last year, Michigan State finished seventh in the Big Ten in terms of total defense. It was Mark Dantonio’s worst season as the head coach of the Spartans and his team still found a way to be in the top half of the conference in terms of defense.

Sure, the Spartan defense was disappointing all year long, but to finish seventh during a season in which they went 3-9 and seemingly couldn’t get a pass rush is actually impressive, if you think about it. That’s far below the Michigan State standard these days, though.

So far in 2017, Michigan State has the ninth-best total defense in college football and fourth-best in the Big Ten behind Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Two of those three teams will likely stay up there while the Spartans will surpass Minnesota and become one of the three best defenses in the conference.

Penn State’s defense ranks 17th, but it hasn’t played a single strong offensive attack yet. Iowa has played Wyoming, Iowa State, North Texas and Penn State and it ranks just 78th in total defense. Ohio State had the nation’s worst defense after two games and it now ranks 56th after playing a couple of cupcakes. Northwestern is 90th.

Michigan State will be in that top three.