Who would have won Spartans-Seminoles?

Who would have won Spartans-Seminoles?

The Spartan Rose Bowl champion football team was recognized at the No. 3 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan State game last night. And, as you would suspect, the squad was met with a warm reception.

Why not? The 13-1 season will go down as one of the greatest in school history, as Michigan State played in and won its first Rose Bowl since the 1987 season. The lone loss was a 17-13 setback at Notre Dame that was noteworthy for some iffy pass inference penalties called against the Spartans. Otherwise, Michigan State was a buzz saw, winning all of its Big Ten games by double-digits before muting Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Now that the dust has settled on the 2013 postseason, don’t you wonder how the Spartans would have done if they had played Florida State? This site has.

Had a coming four-team playoff been in place this season, we probably would have found out, as indications are that it would have been No. 1 seed Florida State against No. 4 seed MSU in one semifinal. The other semifinal: No. 2 seed Auburn vs. No. 3 seed Alabama in a rematch of the schools’ iconic Iron Bowl clash.

[ MORE: View our 2013-14 bowl schedule ]

As the story indicates, Auburn’s defense gave Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston some fits with blitzes off of man coverage. And the Auburn defense was considered “average” by most pundits. How many issues would Pat Narduzzi’s discombobulating defense have caused?

I think MSU would have been able to mute a pedestrian Florida State rushing attack, allowing the Spartans to come after Winston. If Auburn was able to get after Winston and sack him four times, I think MSU could have had some great success. Shilique Calhoun would have brought the heat off the edge. And it would have been fun to see Darqueze Dennard matchup with 6-5 Seminole wideout Kelvin Benjamin.

So, a Florida State-Michigan State game likely would have come down to the Spartan offense vs. the Florida State defense. Yards would have been difficult to come by for Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford and Co., vs. a big and athletic Seminoles defense that would have been the best MSU had faced all season.

Bottom line: I think Florida State would have won a close game by a 27-24 tally. In the end, a talent like Winston—the Heisman winner–would have been the difference, as points and yards would have been hard to come by for Michigan State, as well.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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