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Spartan Reacts: Michigan State fans cautiously optimistic heading into 2022 season

According to a recent poll, MSU fans have high hopes for the football season, but within limits.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

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.

There are plenty of obvious reasons for excitement in East Lansing heading into the football 2022 season and Michigan State fans are riding the wave. The Spartans will kickoff the 2022 season on Friday night against Western Michigan with hopes of returning to a New Year’s Six bowl game, and potentially contending for the Big Ten championship.

But while the hopes may be higher to start this season, fans are making sure to not get too far ahead of things.

According to a recent survey from SB Nation Reacts, only about half of fans surveyed expect the team to match or exceed last year’s record. Meanwhile, a third of fans think the team will only win nine games.

The biggest hurdle facing Michigan State’s postseason hopes this year is the same as ever — Ohio State. With the Buckeyes looming over the Big Ten East, 50 percent of fans think MSU will finish in second place in the East this year. Just over 10 percent think the Spartans will reach the Big Ten Championship game.

If Michigan State does find a way to replicate last season’s success, the Spartans will need to also figure out how to at least get close to matching the 2021 running attack. With Kenneth Walker III playing for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL now, that’s a big ask.

Michigan State will likely again turn to a transfer running back to make an impact, it’s just not clear yet which one will lead the backfield. Half of fans believe Colorado transfer Jarek Broussard will finish the season with the most rushing yards, while just over a third think it will be former Wisconsin Badger Jalen Berger.

But to reach any of the team’s goals, MSU will need to take care of business in the season opener. And in that area, there is plenty of confidence coming from the Spartans’ fan base.

Michigan State heads into the game as a favorite by more than three touchdowns over Western Michigan. Nearly two-thirds of fans think the Spartans will cover the spread, earning a confidence-building first win.

Despite playing an in-state opponent, Michigan State won’t have much of a national audience this week. That is due in no small part to the strong slate of Week One games. According to fans surveyed around the country, the most interesting of which is Notre Dame against Ohio State, taking two-thirds of the vote and blowing by Oregon-Georgia with only 16 percent.

Both Ohio State and Georgia are predicted by more than 80 percent of fans to win their games.