Michigan State Spartans Are Suffering From Big Ten Turmoil


Another week and another win for the Michigan State Spartans.  This weeks victim was Purdue.  The Spartans rolled in to West Layfayette, Indiana and took care of business holding off a 4th quarter comeback by the Boilermakers to win 45-31.

The Boilermakes cut the Michigan States 21 point lead to seven in the fourth quarter before the Spartans scored a late touchdown to win by 14.  Although Purdue was technically within a touchdown of tieing the game, the outcome was never really in danger.  It was an impressive road win in one of the nations best football conferences.

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So why for the second straight week are the Spartans stuck at #8 in the AP Top 25 despite winning?

The lack of respect for the Michigan State Spartans Big Ten winning ways has more to do with the conference they play in rather than the talent of their football team.

The Big Ten is in the midst of one of its worst seasons in recent memory and the perception of the conference as one of the best in the country has suffered as a result.  Upset losses by lower tier Big Ten teams and near misses by those on top have everyone talking about how the level of competition in the Big Ten isn’t what it used to be.

There is no better evidence of that than what has happened to Michigan State in the AP Rankings over the last month.  Since the loss to Oregon on the road in week 2 the Spartans have won four straight.  Included in that streak are two wins over division opponents one of which (Nebraska) was ranked in #19.

In their wins against unranked opponents the Michigan State Spartans have been dominant averaging 54.7 points per game with an average margin of victory over those opponents of 38.25 points.

Teams ranked in the top 5 have similar numbers against similar opponents, so why is Michigan State ranked lower?  Simple answer is strength of conference.  The Michigan State happens to play in the Big Ten and as log as the once proud conference is a college football punchline the Spartans will get little respect nationally for beating conference opponents.

There is still a lot of football to be played but if the Michigan State Spartans don’t get credit for beating Big Ten teams it could affect them when the selection committee sits down to decide the national playoff participants. We will see if the Spartans get a boost in the rankings with a win over Ohio State on November 8th.  Until then the Michigan State Spartans and their fans will have to wait for one of the SEC teams ahead of them to lose before moving into the Top 5.