Mel Tucker has an incredibly difficult task ahead of him at Michigan State. While the last few years in East Lansing have been anything but glamorous, he still replaces a legend in Mark Dantonio, a coach who led the Spartans to 114 wins, three B1G titles and a College Football Playoff appearance.

The bar is set high for Tucker and his staff. But ESPN college football analyst Joey Galloway believes the program has everything it needs to work its way back into the B1G conversation on a regular basis.

“It will be interesting to see what Mel Tucker does at Michigan State,” Galloway said on ESPN’s College Football Countdown. “As the Big Ten East has become a one-team race with Ohio State, Penn State has been mentioned in there, Michigan has fallen off … so Michigan State is a team, a number of years back, (former head coach) Mark Dantonio had this team playing with an attitude, especially on the defensive side. They were up in your face, they were blitzing.

“Now let’s see what Mel Tucker can do with this team, a program that is used to winning. It hasn’t been successful in the last couple years. In comes Mel Tucker. I want to see if he can turn this team around and make the Big Ten East a challenge for Ohio State besides the Penn State game. Michigan State can definitely get back in this conversation, so it will be interesting to see how well they can recruit and can they come back and play with the same attitude, especially on the defensive side that they used to have a few years back.”

Tucker was already late to the 2020 party, as Dantonio opted to step down in February, putting Michigan State on the spot to land a new head coach in a hurry. About a month into the job, things in East Lansing were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s been quite the challenge for Tucker and the rest of the Michigan State staff so far. Especially since Tucker has just one year of head coaching experience, posting a 5-7 record at Colorado in 2019.

But Galloway is still confident that Tucker has the chance to turn Michigan State into a regular contender again. We’ll have to wait a little while to see how the Spartans respond to their new head coach.