In 2015, Michigan State and Northwestern combined to go 22-5, and the Spartans won the Big Ten title and reached the College Football Playoff.
This season, the two are each 4-6 and both will have to find a way just to reach six wins and make a bowl game.
When it comes to picking the season’s biggest disappointments, Notre Dame and Texas are obvious choices. But as Yahoo writes in a Monday story, Northwestern and Michigan State are also up there.
Nick Bromberg notes Northwestern lost to FCS team Illinois State and has been busy with close games every week. To be fair, the Wildcats did lose by only one point to a now-ranked Western Michigan and also won at Iowa.
But Michigan State has a bigger problem. Graham Watson writes that Michigan State’s best win of the season (Notre Dame) doesn’t mean anything because of Notre Dame’s own struggles. Even worse, the Spartans’ remaining schedule won’t make it easy to reach a bowl game: Michigan State still needs to play Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
As Watson closes, Michigan State’s possible fall from 12-2 and playoff to (potentially) no bowl needs perspective:
Of course, it might beat Maryland and/or Penn State to become bowl eligible, but after watching the Spartans against BYU last week, it’s hard to see that happening. And if it doesn’t, Michigan State might be one of the most year-to-year disappointments in college football history.