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MSU FanPulse: Football and basketball heading in different directions

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Michigan State programs heading in starkly different directions in the view of most fans.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Someone once said something about it being the best and worst of times. That may be a bit of over dramatic for the Michigan State Spartans, but there is no doubt fans feelings are pretty polarized when it comes to the football and basketball programs.

The latest SB Nation FanPulse survey asked fans about their level of confidence when it comes to both programs. It was the first football survey since the season ended on a high note at the Pinstripe Bowl where the Spartans beat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Coincidentally, it was also the first time fans got a chance to share their feelings after the basketball team lost in ugly fashion to Purdue.

Ironically, despite football coming off a win and basketball a loss, fans couldn’t be more all-in on the basketball team while football was near the lowest level of confidence all season.

For the first time in weeks, 100 percent of responding fans are confident in the direction of the basketball team.

On the other hand, only six-percent of fans felt confident in the football team at the end of this season.

The confidence in the basketball team despite the near-30 point loss to Purdue is well-deserved. The Spartans were playing arguably their best basketball of the season before the loss and are starting to see production from people not named Cassius Winston.

It also would make sense that fans feel a little more confident after looking around the country. There isn’t a team that looks head-and-shoulders above the rest of the nation this year. Instead, MSU is still among the best teams in the country and has a hold on first place in the Big Ten.

There is also a clear trust built up between Tom Izzo’s program and fans. Previous teams had gone through some of these exact same difficulties just to earn a trip to the Final Four come late March. There is no reason to be concerned just yet.

Unfortunately, that trust has been thoroughly eroded by the football team.

At best, fans appear to be in a wait-and-see mode with Mark Dantonio’s team going forward. It very well could be that fans are just tired after a let-down football season and will have renewed confidence in the program come August.

However, even if that is the case, the football team will likely need a strong offseason and impressive start to the year to fully regain support.

Looking at the rest of the country, MSU fans were in near lock-step with fans nationally as to the top 25 to end the year. With only two slight variations (two different sets of teams flipped one position), MSU fans had identical rankings that saw LSU. Ohio State was the highest ranked Big Ten team at No. 3, with Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan also finishing the season ranked.

Turning to next year, fans nationally by a wide margin consider Clemson the favorite to win the championship.

While this was the last regularly scheduled football survey of the season, FanPulse will continue to poll basketball fans. Don’t forget to sign up and let your voice be heard.