Michigan State Football: 7 wins in a 10-game schedule within reach

Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Elijah Collins, Michigan State football (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Looking ahead at the Michigan State football season, most Spartan fans believe that this team is destined for a slow start. Not so fast.

With a 10-game conference-only schedule, Michigan State has seven winnable games on the slate.

Before anybody gets too upset about this take, it’s important that you know that I don’t think Michigan State will win six or seven games next season. This theory will be entirely based on “ifs”.  I’m merely explaining how this is a far-fetched possibility, but very possible.

2020 squad might actually be better than 2019

The entire basis of my argument starts with the offense. Michigan State’s offense was completely abysmal the past two seasons and didn’t seem to have a pulse by the end of Mark Dantonio’s tenure.

Almost all of the main contributors from this absolutely terrible, embarrassing, lackluster unit are gone. The only major pieces that remain are Eli Collins, the first running back to have a good season since LJ Scott as a freshman, and some backup receivers.

Why is this a good thing? The offense was terrible. Would returning starters mean anything at all for a Power Five team that couldn’t even finish in the top 100 offensively in 2019? This stale look will get a fresh start and the offense should take a step forward. This is solely based on the idea that things can’t possibly get worse.

Eli Collins will at least maintain his level of play from last season and if Mel Tucker and Jay Johnson find a strong quarterback, I could definitely see this offense taking a step forward in a big way. It’s not unreasonable to say that this could be a top-60 offense.

Shifting to the defense, this unit should take a step back. Michigan State will be losing all kinds of starters including Joe Bachie, Kenny Willekes, Josiah Scott and Raequan Williams. On the bright side, there are still a few experienced and proven guys on this unit. The Spartans also had Harlon Barnett returned to East Lansing, who was responsible for some of the best secondaries in Dantonio’s tenure. I actually think the secondary will improve by the end of the season, but it may take an adjustment period.

The real question here is this: Will the defense take as big of a step back as the offense will forward?

So here’s what we’ve reached in this hypothetical: the offense takes a pretty big step forward and the defense takes a small step back. This would actually make this team better overall than it was last season. That being said, let’s look at the matchups for the 2020 season.