Sparty Has Been Living On Borrowed Time With Past Successful Seasons
One year after being in the College Football Playoffs, the Spartans went winless the last half of September and all of October and began November by losing to Illinois. Illinois!?
This has led many people to ask how this team went from great to so bad so fast. And the answer is simple: it didn’t.
Michigan State simply wasn’t great to begin with, not even when it was winning the Big 10 and playing in big bowls. It was simply a very good, solid and extremely well-coached team that won several games it should have lost and now it’s caught up with Sparty.
Look at all the close games Michigan State escaped those 11-and-plus win seasons: overtime against Notre Dame and single-digit squeakers against Northwestern and Penn State in the 11-2 2010 season; four wins by a touchdown or less in the 11-3 year of 2011; tight games against doormats Purdue and Minnesota in 2013 in which it went 13-1 and beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl; barely hanging on against Nebraska and the wild 42-11 Cotton Bowl win against Baylor in the 11-2 2014 season; and a season of close calls in the 12-2 season that included a dropped sure touchdown by Oregon that would have won that game for the Ducks and of course the “Miracle At Michigan.”
Twice in that time, the Spartans were exposed as who they were, and both times were against Alabama: 49-7 in the 2010 (season) Capitol One Bowl and 38-0 in the 2015 (season) College Football Playoff.
Mark Dantonio has done a remarkable job with this program but the bottom was due to fall out at some point. You simply cannot survive season after season of pulling out miracle wins. And in 2016, it’s caught up with Michigan State.