Believe it or not, the college football season is now eight weeks in.
Through the first eight weeks, Michigan State has played seven games and has gone 6-1, silencing any talk of Mark Dantonio’s job security. In the latest AP Poll, the Spartans enter Week 9 as the No. 16-ranked team in the country.
With just six games remaining on the Spartans’ regular season schedule, bowl projections are floating around the internet.
According to ESPN’s projections — and David M. Hale in particular — Michigan State will be playing in the Outback bowl, on Jan. 1, against LSU. Kyle Bonagura, who shared a byline with Hale in the article, has the Spartans in the Citrus Bowl, also on Jan. 1, facing Auburn.
Regardless of which projection you choose, the Spartans will be playing a postseason game in the 2018 calendar year. According to Jerry Palm of CBS Sports, he sees the Spartans the same exact way Bonagura does — facing the Auburn Tigers in the Citrus Bowl.
Dantonio’s Spartans started the 2017 season with two victories by 25 and 14 points over Bowling Green and Western Michigan, respectively. The team then had a bye, but followed its two wins with a 20-point loss to Notre Dame.
The loss wasn’t seen as a very respectable one at the time, but at the moment, the Fighting Irish currently sit at No. 9 in the AP Poll. Following the 38-18 defeat, the Spartans beat Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana all by eight points are less.
Yes, style points matter, but wins are wins. As long as the Spartans keep scoring more points than the other team, they will keep rising in the polls.
And, depending on what happens to No. 2 Penn State and No. 6 Ohio State in particular — since they both are in the Big Ten East division with Michigan State — possibilities of making the Big Ten Championship Game remain possible.
The Spartans still control its own destiny as well, as the team plays both the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes in back-to-back weeks following next week’s road game against Northwestern. The contest against the Wildcats will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 28 at Ryan Field.
The game will be televised on ESPN, while the two against Penn State and Ohio State are to be determined.