Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor, May 20, 2014
Monday, ESPN.com included three Big Ten teams (Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin) in its feature that listed the top 16 contenders for the inaugural College Football Playoff. Today, the site whittled the list down to eight, and Michigan State is the lone Big Ten team to make the cut. See the remaining eight teams, which will be cut to four Wednesday.
The Spartans, the reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champs, return plenty of talent from last year's team that finished No. 3 in the nation and figure to battle Ohio State for the Big Ten East title.
Here's a snippet of what ESPN.com says about Michigan State:
Some of the key pieces from Michigan State's "Spartan Dawgs" defense a year ago may be gone, but the standard isn't. Neither is the architect of that defense.
Despite all of the Spartans' personnel losses, the biggest news this offseason in East Lansing was that defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi decided to stay put after passing on the UConn head coaching gig. Narduzzi, the Frank Broyles Award winner last season as the nation's top assistant coach, has helped construct the Big Ten's No. 1 defense for three straight seasons. Michigan State was the only FBS school last season to rank in the top three nationally in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and passing defense.