Final record: 12-2
Postseason: Big Ten title, CFP loss to Alabama
Surprised to see the only playoff team in Michigan State history coming in at No. 3? I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but I truly believe that the 2015 team was the third-best in the Mark Dantonio era.
Yes, they went 12-2 and made the College Football Playoff, but there were some major bumps in the road along the way. This team escaped letdowns narrowly left and right.
Oregon, Purdue, Rutgers, Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa were all decided by a touchdown or less and the Spartans were in danger of losing each one of those. But great teams win close ones and I hate taking away from a playoff-bound team, but I’m just explaining why this group is ranked No. 3 instead of Nos. 1 or 2.
And let’s not forget the Nebraska letdown and the 38-0 loss to Alabama in the playoff.
This team had plenty of talent but never really consistently put it all together like the previous two years’ teams.
Connor Cook was really good until the end of the season when he injured his shoulder and didn’t really look healthy against Iowa or Alabama and the Spartans had three 500-plus yard rushers in LJ Scott, Madre London, and Gerald Holmes. Oh, and you can’t forget this was Aaron Burbridge’s breakout season when he won the Big Ten Receiver of the Year award.
This team should be celebrated regardless of how the season ended. And we always have the ‘Trouble With the Snap’ game and the windmill celebration after beating a stacked Ohio State team without Cook on the road.