CBS Analysts Pick Michigan, MSU For College Football Playoff [VIDEO]

Could the Spartans really be in the mix for the CFP? At least one analyst thinks so.

The Valenti Show
August 20, 2019 - 11:12 pm

USA TODAY Sports

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97.1 The Ticket -- College football season is just days away and the hype trains in Ann Arbor and East Lansing are now boarding.

Michigan heads into its fifth season under Jim Harbaugh and many fans have a "College Football Playoff or bust" mentality going into the new campaign. That, of course, would most certainly require Harbaugh finally notching his first win over rival Ohio State, who ranks 5th in the AP Preseason Poll, as well as his first trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.

The No. 7 Wolverines very well could and should be in the mix for a CFP berth, provided the team stays healthy, quarterback Shea Patterson takes some big steps forward and the defense finding enough guys to fill the holes left by four NFL Draft picks on defense.

There are several national media members expecting that to happen, including CBS Sports' Aaron Murray. On Monday's episode of Inside College Football, the former Georgia quarterback pegged the Wolverines as the No. 3 seed in the CFP, saying "this is the year for Michigan."

It's not crazy to think that Michigan, with a new offensive direction under coordinator Josh Gattis, could finally break through and not only get to Indy, but reach the CFP as well.

Is it crazy to think that No. 18 Michigan State -- a team that struggled mightily on offense a year ago and spoiled a stellar defensive season en route to a 7-6 record -- could reach the playoff? CBS' Brian Jones doesn't think so.

The former NFL linebacker, is gambling on Mark Dantonio's team to spoil the party.

"That's right -- my 'Cinderella,' Sparty, No. 3. I'm high on them once again," he said. 

If that's going to happen, the Spartans will need to see major progress from the offense, particularly from quarterback Brian Lewerke, who battled injuries and inconsistency in 2018. Not only will the offense need to light up the scoreboard a whole lot more, the defense will need to stay at the same level it was at last year, when the Spartans ranked inside the nation's top 10 in scoring defense and led the country -- by a long shot -- in run defense.

Sure, it's a longshot and would be nothing short of the shock of the college football season, but this prediction is sure to turn a lot of heads. 

Yes, it would be a tall task for the Spartans to reach the playoff, but it's not entirely out of the question. The good news for them is in each of the last four years, at least one team outside the preseason top 10 has found its way to the CFP.

If the Spartans are able to hold serve through their first five games of the season and then navigate a brutal October -- at Ohio State, at Wisconsin and home against Penn State (all three of whom are ranked in the preseason) -- the Nov. 16 clash with the Wolverines at the Big House could be one of the biggest showdowns this in-state rivalry has ever seen.