Michigan State Spartans

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 09:  Quarterback Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after throwing a 68-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Alabama opens as Bovada’s early 2017 title favorite

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Alabama may have seen their dynasty temporarily derailed Monday night in Florida, but at least one wagering establishment expects Nick Saban to get it back on track post-haste.

Bovada.lv released its opening set of 2017 national championship odds very early Tuesday afternoon, with the bookmaker installing Bama as a 4/1 favorite coming off the loss to Clemson.  Last year at this time, coming off their fourth title in seven years, the same book had the Crimson Tide as a 7/1 favorite.

The team ‘Bama beat, Clemson, is at 16/1, tied with ACC Atlantic rival Louisville and behind six other teams besides the one they beat on the field last night — Florida State (7/1), Ohio State (15/2), Michigan (9/1), Oklahoma (9/1), USC (9/1) and LSU (12/1).  The other 2016 playoff team, Washington, is at 40/1, the same as 4-8 Notre Dame and behind the likes of Texas (28/1) and Miami (33/1).

Boise State, at 75/1, was the highest favorite amongst Group of Five programs.

Below are the complete list of 2018 title odds for the championship following the 2017 season, again courtesy on Bovada.lv:

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Peyton Manning, Steve Spurrier (again) among 13 elected to College Football Hall of Fame

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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If you’re looking for a class with star power, this one has it.  In spades.

Monday morning, the National Football Foundation announced the 2017 class that will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year.  The group includes 19 players and three coaches.

Players:

  • BOB CRABLE – LB, Notre Dame (1978-81)
  • MARSHALL FAULK – RB, San Diego State (1991-93)
  • KIRK GIBSON – WR, Michigan State (1975-78)
  • MATT LEINART – QB, Southern California (2003-05)
  • PEYTON MANNING – QB, Tennessee (1994-97)
  • BOB McKAY – OT, Texas (1968-69)
  • DAT NGUYEN – LB, Texas A&M (1995-98)
  • ADRIAN PETERSON – RB, Georgia Southern (1998-2001)
  • MIKE RUTH – NG, Boston College (1982-85)
  • BRIAN URLACHER – DB, New Mexico (1996-99)

Coaches:

  • DANNY FORD – 122-59-5 (66.9%); Clemson (1978-89), Arkansas (1993-97)
  • LARRY KEHRES – 332-24-3 (92.9%); Mount Union (Ohio) (1986-2012)
  • STEVE SPURRIER – 228-89-2 (71.8%); Duke (1987-89), Florida (1990-2001), South Carolina (2005-15)

Spurrier is already in the Hall of Fame as a player.  He will become just the fourth individual to be inducted as both a player and a coach, joining Bobby Dodd, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bowden Wyatt.

In 2011, Faulk was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Gibson is likely known to most as the former Los Angles Dodgers baseball player, whose home run trot in the 1988 World Series remains one of the most iconic moments in the sport’s history.

Kehres is the only head coach at any level of college football to finish with a winning percentage above .900 — his Purple Raiders won a staggering 332 of 359 games (with three ties) for a .929 win percentage during the incredible run that lasted nearly three decades.

Urlacher is the first player from the University of New Mexico to be elected, while the “other” Adrian Peterson is just the second from Georgia Southern (Tracy Ham, 2007).

16 college football games among most-watched non-NFL/Olympics events of 2016

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes shakes hands with head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines after a 42-13 Ohio State win at Michigan Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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This headline requires that major caveat above involving the NFL and Olympics, given that those two sports accounted for 45 of the 50 most-watched sporting events of 2016. So with those ratings juggernauts removed, we have a pretty good idea of what other sports people were watching last year between baseball, basketball, college football and the like.

The two College Football Playoff semifinal games played on New Year’s Eve had better ratings than 2015’s semifinals, but the ratings were still down from 2014’s games.

Sixteen college football games ranked in the top 50 most-watched sporting events of 2016, per Sports Media Watch. Those games:

No. 3: Alabama/Clemson College Football Playoff Championship (15.0 rating, 26.18m viewers)

No. 10: Alabama/Washington Peach Bowl Playoff Semifinal (19.34m viewers, no rating available)

No. 11: Clemson/Ohio State Fiesta Bowl Playoff Semifinal (19.24m viewers, no rating available)

No. 16: Michigan/Ohio State regular season (9.4 rating, 16.84m viewers)

No. 22: Stanford/Iowa Rose Bowl (7.4 rating, 13.55m viewers)

No. 25: Florida State/Michigan Orange Bowl (11.7m viewers, no rating available)

No. 28: Alabama/Florida SEC Championship (6.6 rating, 11.09m viewers)

No. 29: Notre Dame/Texas regular season (6.4 rating, 10.95m viewers)

No. 33: Alabama/LSU regular season (5.8 rating, 10.39m viewers)

No. 38: Notre Dame/Ohio State Fiesta Bowl (5.6 rating, 9.76m viewers)

No. 41: Louisville/Clemson (5.5 rating, 9.29m viewers)

No. 42: Penn State/Wisconsin Big Ten Champi0nship (5.3 rating, 9.19m viewers)

No. 43: Ohio State/Wisconsin regular season (5.2 rating, 8.96m viewers)

No. 44: Mississippi/Oklahoma State Sugar Bowl (5.1 rating, 8.94m viewers)

No. 45: Michigan/Florida Citrus Bowl (5.1 rating, 8.76m viewers)

No. 49: Texas A&M/Alabama regular season (5.0 rating, 8.46m viewers)

Both the 2016 Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl saw the lowest TV ratings in the history of those respective games, though an uninspiring matchup (Ole Miss/Oklahoma State) and a blowout (Stanford/Iowa) probably contributed to both.

Alabama or Ohio State were involved in nine of these 16 games, and expanding that further, 13 of the 16 involved a team from the Big Ten or SEC.

Also, here’s why the NFL and Olympics have to be factored out of these rankings: Without it, only last year’s Alabama/Clemson title game ranks in the top 50 at No. 26, and that fell behind six regular season NFL games.

Three ex-Mich. St. lineman land at Power Five schools

EAST LANSING, MI - AUGUST 29:  Craig Evans #72 of the Michigan State Spartans goes up against Nick Johnson #58 of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks during the second half at Spartan Stadium on August 29, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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In a period of about five months earlier this year, Michigan State saw five defensive linemen leave the football program for various reasons.  Wednesday, three of those resurfaced at Power Five schools.

Mississippi State confirmed that one of the trio, Montez Sweat, has signed with the Bulldogs.  Another, Enoch Smith, announced on Twitter Tuesday night that he had committed to Oklahoma State.  The third, Craig Evans (pictured), will continue his FBS career at Oregon State.

All three of the linemen had spent the 2016 season at junior colleges.

Evans and Sweat parted ways with the Spartans in the spring of last year for what was described at the time as personal reasons.  Evans acknowledged that he had failed a drug test and would’ve been facing a six-game suspension had he remained in East Lansing.  That suspension will not follow him to Corvallis.

In September, Smith announced that he would be leaving the Spartans as well.  No reason was given.

According to mlive.com, there’s a chance that another of the quintet, Cassius Peat, who left in August, could possibly return to MSU.  The earliest that would happen, though, would be next summer.

Damon Knox, the fifth linemen, announced in May that would be pursuing a career in law enforcement instead of playing another season for the Spartans.

Mark Dantonio won’t lose long-time assistant to head-coaching job at Div. II school

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 12: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans leads his team onto the field before a college football game against the against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium on November 12, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
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At least for now and when it comes to one particular assistant, Mark Dantonio won’t have a hole to fill on his Michigan State coaching staff.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Spartans offensive line coach Mark Staten was one of five finalists for the head-coaching job at Div. II Northern Michigan. On his Facebook page Thursday, by way of ESPN.com, Staten indicated that he will be staying at MSU.

Left unsaid is whether Staten withdrew from the search process because he wanted to remain in East Lansing or if he became aware the program had decided to go in a direction that didn’t include him.

Decision was made after a lot of prayer, talking with family, friends and mentors. I appreciate all of those involved as I will continue to battle on as a Spartan. God Bless and Go Green!

Staten has been a part of Dantonio’s coaching staff for the past 13 seasons, the first three at Cincinnati and the last 10 at MSU. He’s been the Spartans’ line coach for the past five years.