Monday, November 07, 2011

Seems likely Michigan State has gone as high as it will go

And so in the latest college football polls, Michigan State is 13th in both major rankings, and 12th in the BCS standings.
It should be a reason for elation for the Spartans faithful, whose opportunities to enjoy truly successful seasons had been few and far between. The Spartans have followed 2010 - a very good year - with another solid season. The Spartans sit alone atop the Leaders Division in the Big Ten, the remaining schedule is tricky, but hardly ominous. And the Spartans have beaten Ohio State and Michigan in the same season.
The Spartans are very good. Can they move into the next area of becoming a Big Ten power and a elite team nationally?
I'm not so sure. I see Michigan State in the same category as Wisconsin and Iowa. That there is only so high the Spartans can go. I don't anticipate them faltering; they just have too much going for them under Mark Dantonio for that to happen.
However, if there is going to be a BCS power to emerge from the Big Ten in the next five years it will be Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State or Nebraska. It's just the resources and tradition are deeper at those schools. I know Penn State and Ohio State are riddled by scandal, but once it is cleared up, there will be this re-birth. Neither school is going to have issues drawing a top coach. The recruiting bases are very strong at OSU and PSU.
Nebraska has the tradition. It is also in an area of underrated prosperity. During the time of mostly an economic downturn in this country, the farming industry has thrived. The unemployment rate in Nebraska is four percent, and the Cornhuskers are the only game in town. Nebraska already has an expansive recruiting base, but it's even wider now that the Cornhuskers are in the Big Ten.
State's Big Ten status is build as much on other conference teams being down as their own stellar play.
The Spartans may remain at the same level, but others will likely pass them by in the future. For that perception to change, a good start for MSU would be beating Iowa on the road this week... and/or winning the Big Ten title game...and/or beating top competition in a bowl game.
The Spartans last four losses - at Iowa, the bowl rout to Alabama, at Notre Dame, at Nebraska - suggest a plateau for the Spartans. It's relatively elevated plateau, but a plateau nonetheless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

High as it will go. Just like you.

10:02 PM 

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