Countdown to kickoff: Big Ten East champ?
Kickoff is fast approaching. To help count down the days to Aug. 28, the BTN.com team is discussing one topic every day. Think of it as our countdown to kickoff. Today’s topic: Big Ten East champ? Check out Tom Dienhart, Sean Merriman and Brent Yarina’s picks in this post.
See our other 2014 countdown to kickoff posts:
- Debate it: Will Michigan’s move to Nike/Jordan help boost recruiting?
- Debate it: Most intriguing storyline heading into this season?
- Debate it: Can a Big Ten West team win the conference title in 2016?
- Debate it: Who is the Big Ten’s top darkhorse Heisman candidate?
- What if you could start a team with one former Big Ten player?
Tom Dienhart: Michigan State. Even before Braxton Milller’s season-ending injury, I liked the Spartans here. Why? Because Michigan State has the talent, schedule and coaching to repeat as Big Ten champs. The only question is, can it stay hungry and deal with being the hunted?
Sean Merriman: Michigan State. Mark Dantonio’s team is loaded from top to bottom, on both sides of the ball. The pressing question has been — how do the reigning Big Ten champs remain hungry? With Dantonio and DC Pat Narduzzi running the show, that shouldn’t be a problem. This team has the talent, coaching and passion to repeat as conference champions and make a run at the first-ever college football playoff.
Brent Yarina: Michigan State. I love this team; in fact, it was my pick before Braxton Miller went down. Not only does Michigan State return plenty of talent from last year’s Big Ten title team, it has a manageable schedule, including a home date vs. Ohio State, its biggest competitor. We know the Spartans will have another great defense and special teams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the offense is among the Big Ten’s best, too.