Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in Michigan State Spartans fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
It is understandable why fans in East Lansing may be feeling rather ecstatic this week. Fresh off of the thrilling, come-from-behind win over Michigan, the Spartans earned the No. 3 spot in the first College Football Playoff poll of the season.
Michigan State controls its own destiny, has a Heisman candidate in the backfield with Kenneth Walker III and potential Coach of the Year on the sideline. But with all of that in mind, MSU fans are keeping things relatively in check. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, fans still have a few concerns about the rest of the season.
When asked what their expectations are for the season, nearly two-thirds of MSU fans think the Spartans should reach a New Year’s Six bowl game, but fall short of the College Football Playoff. Roughly 25 percent of fans think Michigan State will participate in the playoff.
While it doesn’t appear fans think the Spartans will remain in playoff position, 72 percent of MSU fans do think the Spartans are deserving of the No. 3 spot right now.
That lines up roughly with the national sentiment, where only 11 percent of fans around the country think Michigan State is the least deserving of the four playoff teams. That title was taken by No. 4 Oregon, as the Ducks hold that spot ahead of three top-10 undefeated teams. About two-thirds of fans around the country believe that spot belongs to the most disrespected team of the week, Cincinnati.
If Michigan State is to continue on this run, it will be in large part due to the success of bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker III. The running back’s five-touchdown performance in front of a national audience has made him a serious contender to be Michigan State’s first Heisman Trophy winner ever, and first finalist for the award since the late 1980s when running back Lorenzo White did it twice in three seasons.
Walker has already earned a place among Michigan State’s long list of elite running backs in program history. But at this pace, more than three-fourths of fans believe Walker will go down as the best back in Michigan State history.
Before getting to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation or earning a place in the College Football Playoff, the Spartans need to take care of business this Saturday on the road against Purdue.
The Boilermakers have already knocked off a top-five team this season when they beat Iowa on the road. After a win like the one the Spartans earned last week, and with all the attention from the CFP rankings, the game is setting up to be a quintessential trap game. In fact, 74 percent of MSU fans said they were nervous about the game.
But even with the uneasy feelings, nearly a full 100 percent of fans said they believe Michigan State will leave West Lafayette with a win and continue the team’s undefeated season.
To participate in the weekly SB Nation Reacts surveys and express your opinions, sign up here. The next survey will be sent out Wednesday morning.