Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Throughout the year, we ask questions of the most plugged-in Michigan State Spartans fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate.
Technically we are smack-dab in the middle of the 2022 season. But for Michigan State fans, the year is essentially dead and gone.
To be fair, that isn’t an extreme view. The Spartans are 0-3 in the Big Ten and have lost four games in a row — having lost all three by double-digits. The odds of getting enough wins simply to become bowl eligible are estimated to be below 10 percent. With that in mind, a majority of MSU fans have turned their attention away from actual game results.
According to the latest SB Nation Reacts results, only just over a third of fans are watching Michigan State football with wins and losses as the most important factor.
Most voters want to see player development and how young guys on the team now progress for the future. Another 27 percent of voters are most interested in recruiting.
At the beginning of the year, Michigan State fans expected that the third year of the Mel Tucker era would build on the success of the 11-2 record in 2021. While some fans expected that a small set back was possible, that “small step back” likely meant at least seven or eight wins total, with most fans believing the Spartans would finish in the nine-win or 10-win range.
With only two victories through six games, and with the Spartans only likely to be favored in two more contests, the final results of this season are looking more like those from Coach Tucker’s first year in 2020 when Michigan State went only 2-5. The team may even struggle to surpass the low heights of the 2016 season when the Spartans went only 3-9, despite having made the College Football Playoffs just the year prior.
The 2020 season was seriously impacted by COVID-19 and most fans gave first-year coach Mel Tucker a pass. Expectations coming into the season were low. Even though the Spartans only tasted victory twice, both wins were against ranked teams and one of the wins was against rival Michigan.
In 2016, Michigan State fans were at least able to enjoy a road win over a ranked Notre Dame team. So far in 2022, the only two wins thus far have come against lower-level MAC opponents.
So is this the most disappointing Michigan State football season in recent history? A full half of the fans out there believe that it is.
Things could stabilize. This season may go down as an ugly blip on an upward climb, possibly entirely forgettable in just a few years. But the Spartans have a lot to improve before those thoughts become reality.
For now, Michigan State will just have to try and get its first conference win against an equally confusing Wisconsin team. Who knows, weirder things have happened.