Connor Cook. Jeremy Langford. Tony Lippett. This is an MSU team carried by its once-in-a-generation defense, but who would have thought these players would be the ones to lead MSU to its first 8-0 Big Ten record in school history?
Yes, the schedule was set up for a good season, but you still have to win them. After last season's debacle and the start to this season, no one could have foreseen MSU putting up its third 11-win season in school history and third in the last four years. It one of the most dominating Big Ten seasons in recent memory.
MSU is first Big Ten team to win all 8 of its conference games by double-digit points since the league went to an 8-game schedule in 1971.— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) November 30, 2013
MSU becomes the first undefeated Big Ten team to win all of its league games by double-figure points since Michigan in 1943 (6-0 record).— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) November 30, 2013
MSU already had a spot in Indianapolis clinched, but there was still plenty to play for against Minnesota. On Senior Day and still hoping for a Plan B BCS bowl berth, MSU defeated Minnesota 14-3 in a game that never really was all that close.
Also, MSU wins the first battle of the Honeycrisp Trophy, though we'll probably lose it when the hockey teams meet next week. So enjoy it!
Looking back at my keys to the game.
Along with MSU's win, the biggest result of Saturday was Penn State's upset of Wisconsin, knocking them out of BCS at-large hopes. MSU and Ohio State are the only B1G teams that can reach a BCS game. OSU is in there win or lose.
Auburn's crazy win over Alabama opens up the No. 2 spot for OSU, most likely. If the Buckeyes beat MSU (somewhat closely) and go to the national championship game, it would open up the Rose Bowl. If MSU is eligible, there is a good chance the Spartans would go there. If MSU is blown out by Ohio State, it could knock them out of the top 14.
There are a lot of scenarios that can play out. MSU wants Stanford to beat Arizona State, Auburn to beat Missouri (badly) and Florida State to beat Duke. Who is behind MSU in the rankings is also important.
Or MSU can go beat Ohio State and take care of its own business. The Buckeyes look far from unbeatable after being three yards from losing to Michigan. MSU hasn't reached the Rose Bowl since the 1987 season, and they've never made a "BCS" era bowl. Whatever happens, make sure you appreciate what this MSU team has done this season.
See you in Indy.