Interesting how one player can sway conference predictions in only a month’s time.
A cleveland.com poll conducted in late July had Ohio State winning the conference based on the vote of 29 Big Ten writers. Now that star quarterback Braxton Miller will sit the season a new favorite has emerged.
Since Miller’s injury, Michigan State was overwhelmingly picked as the new conference favorite. 25 of the 29 original voters in the cleveland.com poll responded to a request for a new vote on the Big Ten conference championship and preseason player of the year. Initially, Ohio State and Miller were the winners in both respective categories, with 19 of the 29 votes going to Ohio State. Instead, 22 of the 25 voters have now selected Michigan State and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon as the likely winners.
The outlook for the Spartans’ season this year is the most promising since the 1960’s, a time where MSU was a national powerhouse on the level of competitor Ohio State. Many are comparing the current program to the Nick Saban days, when his tenure at Michigan State included a 34-24-1 record and four bowl appearances in five years, the most amount of postseason appearances seen by the team until current coach Mark Dantonio.
With the addition of new state-of-the-art facilities for the team, impressive player development, and improved recruiting practices, this could be the best season the Spartans have had in years. Now that Ohio State is without their star quarterback, Michigan State has the power to shift the attention away from the beloved Buckeyes and rightfully have the spotlight. Though the process may have taken almost two decades, it will be an exciting feat to see the Spartans continue to grow into a national powerhouse.