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Things have gotten bad in East Lansing. Fans, who just a few weeks ago had expectations of double-digit wins, now have to face a much more grim reality.
Following a second ugly loss in a row for the Spartans, this time a 27-point defeat thanks to Minnesota, the Spartans are 2-2 with the schedule growing increasingly difficult. The 34-7 loss to the Golden Gophers was perhaps among the worst in recent MSU history that doesn’t include Ohio State or Alabama. Looking at the schedule and trying to predict wins, it’s harder to find wins that fans could feel confident about. Which brings the question – will Michigan State reach a bowl game this season?
Assuming Michigan State doesn’t pull an upset against Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State — which to be fair is still a big assumption considering how many underdog MSU teams have gotten wins in these games in the past — that leaves five games for the Spartans to get four more wins and secure bowl eligibility. Rutgers still feels like a win for MSU, and State will likely be have a good chance for victories against Illinois and Indiana despite both of those teams being pretty big unknowns right now.
That leaves a Week Seven game against Wisconsin (homecoming) and next week on the road against a Maryland team that moved the ball through the air successfully against Michigan as potential must-win games. Taulia Tagovailoa had an up-and-down game and clearly finished the game against the Wolverines hurt. Similarly, the highly-regarded receivers weren’t able to find much consistency, especially after the injury to Rakim Jarrett. If those two are still dealing with injuries next week, Michigan State’s biggest defensive weakness may be safe. But playing on the road leaves that game as very much a question, and it is hard to trust MSU’s secondary no matter who is playing quarterback.
Unfortunately for Michigan State, not being exposed in the secondary is far from the only issue facing the team next week and the rest of the season. Against an admittedly well-rounded Minnesota team, almost no position group looked competent. If the Spartans do find a way to get to at least six wins, they will need either the offense or defense to figure things out, preferably both sides of the ball. But for now, it’s hard to tell which of those deserve any confidence from fans.
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