Despite Oregon loss, MSU football playoff hopes alive and well according to analysts
Following No. 8 MSU’s 46-27 loss to then-No. 3 Oregon, it seemed as though the sky was falling on its College Football Playoff hopes and dreams.
A mixture of the lopsided score and Big Ten’s god awful reputation, it seemed like MSU was facing an uphill battle. But only 40 days later, MSU is not only back in the playoff picture, but considered by some as the favorite to win it all.
On Monday morning, VegasInsider.com updated its college football future odds with MSU sitting at the top of the list to claim the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship. The Spartans are listed as 13-2 odds to win the title, putting them just above Florida State and Mississippi State who are listed at 7-1.
The growing expectations for MSU is something that not only is hitting gamblers but also getting attention from national media providers. Heading into this week, CBS Sports reporter Jerry Palm had MSU as the No. 4 seed playing against Ole Miss in his latest playoff projections.
Similar to Palm, ESPN commentator and former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell believes MSU’s playoff odds are alive and well. During a teleconference on Thursday, Kanell said head coach Mark Dantonio has done an outstanding job getting MSU back on track after the Oregon loss, creating an identity on both sides of the ball.
“He has a defense that always comes ready to play and now they got this sort of three-prong attack on offense between (junior quarterback) Connor Cook, (senior running back) Jeremy Langford and (senior wide receiver) Tony Lippett where they have three really solid weapons that bring really good weapons on the offensive side of the ball,” Kanell said during the teleconference. “So this is a team that absolutely can be in the top four.”
Fellow ESPN commentator and former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz agree with Kanell’s thoughts toward MSU’s playoff chances. Holtz also was part of the teleconference on Thursday and said he believes the Big Ten gets an undeserving harsh reputation and that either MSU or No. 13 Ohio State can still make the inaugural College Football Playoff.
“Winner of that game has a chance to be one of the final four as long as they win out and they win the (Big Ten) championship,” Holtz said. “But I think Michigan State is a very good football team.”
On the other end of the equation is MSU living up to the current lofty expectations. Entering the season players talked about Dantonio addressing the issue of expectations and discussed winning a national championship.
With the question of winning a national championship now back in full swing, Dantonio said the one way to continue success is avoiding your press clippings and coming ready to improve every day.
“You have to stay grounded,” Dantonio said. “You've got to come to Sunday meetings to get grounded sometimes because that's when you're going to see the good things you did, see the things that need to get better and that's where there's going to be coaching involved. So you try and do those things.”