The Michigan State Spartans will open their season at home against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, and they will look to establish themselves as national title contenders.
No. 8 Michigan State is coming off a Rose Bowl win over Stanford, and they will look to build on their 13-win season in their season opener against Jacksonville State.
Jacksonville State finished 11-4 last season, but the Ohio Valley Conference gives them no preparation for a powerhouse like the Spartans. Running back DaMarcus James will face a big test after rushing for an OVC record 29 touchdowns last season.
The Spartans finished third in the country in scoring defense with 13.2 points allowed per game, and Connor Cook will return as their starting quarterback. Cook showed a lot of poise in the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl, and he is expected to be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.
Jeremy Langford will return at running back after rushing for 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, and Tony Lippett will return as a starting wide receiver. The offensive line is a question mark though with only three starters returning.
The defense will have its fierce pass rush intact with defensive ends Shilique Calhoun and Marcus Rush returning. Calhoun had 7.5 sacks last season and is expected to be a leader on defense.