REPORT Demonstrates How New Big Ten Teams See Jonathan Smith, Michigan State Football

As the Big Ten Conference adds a bevy of new teams, we dig deep to see how they perceive Michigan State Spartan football and new coach Jonathan Smith.
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning and Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith watch warm ups as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks take on the No. 16 Oregon State Beavers Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning and Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith watch warm ups as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks take on the No. 16 Oregon State Beavers Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. / Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA

It won't be long before we see the newest Big Ten teams -- Oregon, Washington, UCLA, and USC -- in action against their new conference rivals.

For teams both returning and joining the Big Ten, it's time for the fan bases to start getting acquainted with one another.

One of Jonathan Smith's first division games at Michigan State football will be a matchup with an opponent he is quite familiar with -- the Oregon Ducks. While Smith, who was part of a bitter rivalry with the Ducks as head coach of Oregon State, is no stranger to Oregon's regime, Spartan fans might need a refresher, and vice versa.

In a recent article from Don Smalley of USA Today's Ducks Wire, Smalley gave his own takes on what the Oregon faithful can expect from the Spartans' season.

Smalley set Michigan State's over/under close to where most sportsbooks have the Spartans at 5.5. He predicts Smith and his new squad to not make a bowl game, finishing under the six-win mark.

It's clear the Spartans have already been doubted around the country, despite having yet to field a team that anyone has seen together in action.

It would be one thing to assume Michigan State is still going to be struggle for bowl eligibility if it had last year's team, but the Spartans roster looks very different than it did last year.

And they added some quality additions. Many believe sophomore transfer quarterback Aidan Chiles to make some noise as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. His other former fellow Beavers teammate, tight end Jack Velling, is already being viewed as one of the top tight ends in the conference and perhaps even a candidate for the John Mackey Award.

Defense is certainly going to be a big question, as that was where much of the spring transfer portal turnover occurred. While the Spartans attempted to fill the losses on their defensive line, none of the new names really jump off the page.

The linebacker room and secondary, however, include some highly-touted transfers in linebackers Wayne Matthews III and Jordan Turner, as well as cornerback Ed Woods -- none of whom were included in Smalley's "biggest 2024 additions" for the Spartans.

Don't count out the Spartans, Oregon fans. If there's one thing you should know about the Big Ten, it's to not overlook any team.

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Aidan Champion

AIDAN CHAMPION