Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio emphasizes a balanced offense, which will hinder Cook's chances of posting eye-popping passing numbers. However, the Spartans figure to play a prominent role in the race toward the College Football Playoff. Michigan State hosts Oregon on Sept. 12, and then might pose the greatest threat to Ohio State's chances of repeat Big Ten and national titles. The Buckeyes host the Spartans on Nov. 21 in what is one of the most anticipated games of the 2015 season. Coming through in those contests will go a long way toward how much postseason hardware Cook collects, as well as building momentum into the 2016 NFL Draft season.
Pulling back the curtain on the vote
What some of our analysts are saying about Cook
"The Spartans' poised quarterback won't stack up the yardage like, for instance, Trevone Boykin, because he plays in a more balanced offense. But he'll stack up wins like few others, and MSU's Big Ten title hopes would implode without him." -- Chase Goodbread
"Cook showed flashes of big time play last fall but I expect him to have a monster 2015 campaign. He has prototypical size and he can make all the throws." -- Daniel Jeremiah
"Cook is a better-than-average athlete outside of the pocket and has showed noticeable improvement over the last couple of seasons. Cook shines with his ability to process defenses pre-snap and make necessary adjustments. Cook will put his stamp on this season in a big way." -- Lance Zierlein
"Will vie for honors as best QB in the nation, his athleticism is often underrated." -- Charles Davis
"Was the Big Ten passing leader in 2014 with 3,214 yards, plus 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Has an OK arm, but is very athletic." -- Gil Brandt
"Polished pocket passer with franchise quarterback traits. He is a gamer with a knack for getting his team to the winner's circle." -- Bucky Brooks
Where do fans rank Cook?
We asked Twitter users who they considered the best player in college football. Cook finished second in the fan vote, which emphasizes the expectations placed on him and the Spartans entering the 2015 season.