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Fast 40 countdown: Michigan State

August 14, 2011  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Michigan State

Last season: 11-2, 33rd in the MRI

The good: The Spartan offense put up almost 30 points per game last season and this year could top that. The core of the offense returns including Kirk Cousins who could be the top quarterback in the league this season, depending on what Northwestern's Dan Persa is able to accomplish.

All of the offensive production on the ground also returns and two of the top three receivers from last season.

These Spartans don't need 300, they just have to count on five -- the starting offensive line -- to guide them through the year.

The bad: The schedule isn't kind to Michigan State. They go on the road to Notre Dame, Nebraska and Iowa, and draw Wisconsin and Ohio State from the Leaders side of the conference.

Sure Ohio State will be missing its coach and five of its top players from last season, but it is tough to count out the Buckeyes, who seem to keep moving forward even when the talent moves on to the NFL.

The Spartans also lose three of the top four tacklers from last season, which could be trouble in the run-first Big 10.

Michigan State, like Mississippi State will also be breaking in most of a new linebacking core. If teams are able to run past the defensive line (which could be a big if with the strength the Spartans have there), it could be a long time before someone tracks them down.

Best name: Fou Fonoti

Trending: Up - The record may not match last season's huge win total, but the overall performance should improve. The Spartans will likely get into a few shootouts this season, and they have the guns to win the majority of them. Look for Michigan State to climb back into the MRI top 25 this season.

   

Posted August 14, 2011 4:56 PM

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