[BH: One last bumped thought as we close out Spartans Week...]
I don't know how many times I have seen MSU fans defend their 2010 team like somehow this makes them Big Ten favorites from now until eternity. They won 11 games last year because they had 10 very winnable games and 2 toss-ups during the regular season. They split on the toss-ups and won the 10 other games. But that doesn't make them a good team. That makes them a team that won games that they should have.
Perspective time. Some MSU fans think they can compare the 2010 MSU team to the 2009 Iowa team. In an article written on MSU's site here (don't read it, it's not worth it), they try to say that MSU was a better team because they had bigger halftime leads and were statistically more comfortable throughout their games. So I'll use an old saying that many, many MSU fans used throughout this season: A win is a win.
Okay, that's not all the article forgot. How bout strength of schedule anyone? Michigan State had literally one of the worst SOS in the college football, let alone the Big Ten. In fact, they had the 57th ranked SOS before their bowl game. I hate being a homer and pulling Iowa into this, but when you compare 2009 Iowa with 2010 Michigan State, the statistics are mind-boggling.
Iowa had the 9th toughest schedule in the nation in 2009 and were ranked #1 by the BCS computers for consecutive weeks due in large part to their SOS. Michigan State never moved up in the BCS rankings much because the computers basically said they played in the MAC.
And when we are talking about Michigan State having a great football season, what do we mean? Who did they beat that made them great? Okay, Wisconsin. But think about it. Unranked Iowa beat #3 Penn State in 2008. Purdue upset Ohio State in 2009. Iowa EMBARRASSED Michigan State in 2010. Upsets happen. They may not even look like upsets. They may just look like flat-out wins, but it doesn't mean that's what they are.
A word I have used often during this MSU week is 'fortunate'. Michigan State fans HATE the word 'lucky', but there is no defense for the word 'fortunate'. Because the only way you can look at Michigan State's season and explain how they beat Wisconsin is by saying they were fortunate.
Because what else did they do? Not much. They beat 10 teams that went a combined 49-62. That is like playing 10 teams with a 5-7 record. If every Big Ten team had a schedule like that, we would have 5 co-champs per year (don't take that literally).
Iowa beat #8 Penn State, #11 Georgia Tech, and #16 Wisconsin, ALL ON THE ROAD in the same year. Sure, they lost to Northwestern and Ohio State, but that was without Stanzi and we lost those games by a total of 10 points. Michigan State lost their 2 games by a total of 73 points.
So they have a quality win over Wisconsin and then what? Notre Dame? Iowa beat 6 opponents with the same or better win percentage as Notre Dame in 2009.
And another argument MSU fans have is, "It's not our fault we had a crappy schedule." Well, you are right. But it's no one else's either. Just because you had a crappy schedule doesn't mean we feel bad and should give you a free pass. No, you didn't prove anything. You beat a team that you probably wouldn't have if you had to play them in Madison and then you beat 10 more teams with a win percentage of 44%. Losing by 30+ to 2 teams didn't help you either.
So I'm not expecting a 10-win MSU next year. Heck, a 9-win team is stretching it for me. I see an MSU team with 8 wins or less and 2 losses coming from division leaders Nebraska and Iowa, in that order. Last year was not a good thing for MSU because all it will do is raise expectations that won't be met. If this year's team is anything like last year's, it will be tough going for the Spartans.