Michigan State Spartans
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio
2012 record: 7-6, 3-5 Big Ten Conference
2012 Bowl Result: 17-16 win over the TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 15 total (8 on offense, 7 on defense)
Odds to Win 2014 BCS Championship: +13500
Odds to Win 2013 Big Ten Legends Division: +300
Odds to Win 2013
Regular Season Wins: Under 9 -175, Over 9 +135
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Dantonio believes that he has more depth at the quarterback position on this year’s roster than he’s ever had before while coaching at Michigan State.
Fifth-year senior Andrew Maxwell started all 13 games last season, as he took over for three-year starter Kirk Cousins, who is now playing for the Washington Redskins in the NFL.
The team’s biggest challenge will be filling the production left by first-team All-Big Ten selection Le’Veon Bell, who accounted for 92 percent of the team’s rushing yards in 2012.
Returning four of its top six reception leaders makes the wide receiver group one of the strongest in the conference, with Keith Mumphery leading the way with 42 receptions and 515 yards a season ago.
The blocking up front will be handled by a group that has seven players with starting experience, with left tackle Dan France leading the way.
The Spartans return six letterwinners and five players with starting experience on the defensive line, including junior end Marcus Rush, who has started all 27 games of his career in East Lansing.
Butkus Award nominee Max Bullough will lead the linebackers—leading the team in tackles in back-to-back years with 89 and 111 stops in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Alabama, Georgia and Michigan State are the only three schools in college football to rank among the top 15 in pass defense the last two campaigns.
The program has had seven players earn All-Big Ten recognition as a placekicker or punter since 2007.
Punter Mike Sadler returns for his third season as a starter—ranking 21st in the nation with his 43.3-yard average.
Incoming freshman Michael Geiger could land the starting role as kicker—replacing three-year starter Dan Conroy.
Against the Spread
Over the last four seasons, the Spartans have compiled a 25-24-1 ATS record, including a 7-3-1 ATS mark as road favorites.
College football handicappers will want to take a look at the Spartans against the Michigan Wolverines on Nov. 2, as they’ve gone 5-0-1 ATS in the last six overall meetings in the series.
A trip to Iowa could provide the team its first loss of the season, with Michigan State failing to cover the number in five of its last six trips to Iowa City.