Countdown to College Football: Day 31 - Michigan State

School: Michigan State University

Mascot: Spartans

Fight Song: Victory for MSU

Head Coach: Mike Dantonio (108-59, 90-42 at Michigan State)

Stadium: Spartan Stadium (Capacity: 75,005)

Best Place to Eat on Campus:

I enjoy fries. The Hopcat in East Lansing shares my passion.  They call their fried delights "Crack Fries" and they sound outstanding. The Hopcat serves all the heart stopping dishes you could imagine: Mac and cheese, tacos and sloppy Joe's. Michigan State has often been heralded as having some of the finest collegiate dining around, so, something to think about when your making your college decision. 

Greatest Moment in Program History

In the halls of college football history, Michigan State's most famous game might be the 10-10 tie with undefeated Notre Dame in the 1966 version of the "Game of the Century". I can't in good conscience name a tie as the greatest moment, regardless of the feat of tying one of Ara Parseghian's finest Notre Dame teams.  Instead, we look to recent history.  Mike Dantonio built up a middling and lazy Michigan State program into a consistent Big 10 title contender. In 2013, Michigan State took the leap to Big 10 champions. With a stifling defense handed Urban Meyer his first loss at Ohio State, and faced the brutish Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl.  In a back and forth defensive battle, Michigan State held the Cardinal on a 4th down to win the Rose Bowl and finish 13-1. 

Current State of the Program:

For much of the Dantonio era, Michigan State was a consistent Big Ten title contender, but remained just a step below the truly elite programs in the country.  Last year, it all fell apart. Instability at quarterback and a surprising lack of character undermined a young, but talented team. They held a lead in every game they played, but six of nine losses were by more than a touchdown.  Reason would dictate that Michigan State bounces back after last season, although word is that Michigan State is looking fondly toward  ex MSU DC Pat Narduzzi as a potential replacement to Dantonio sooner rather than later.  Programs often overreact to down years, and fail to have patience with proven coaches. Dantonio has earned the right to see through this hiccup, and although Michigan State is likely a year or two away from contending for conference championships, they should be bowl eligible again this season. 

Prediction: 7-5

vs Bowling Green - W

vs Western Michigan - W

vs Notre Dame - L

vs Iowa - W

at Michigan - L

at Minnesota - L

vs Indiana - W

at Northwestern - W

vs Penn State - L

at Ohio State - L

vs Maryland - W

at Rutgers - W