Of course, for Michigan State believers, every football game is a must-watch on television. But how attractive are the Spartans to those outside of the green-white bubble?
The answer, according to 247Sports National College Football Reporter Brandon Marcello, is quite a lot. in the Ranking of the 100 best games of the 2022 seasonMarcello included four matchups with MSU and a third-year head coach Mel Tucker.
It shouldn’t take long to guess the top ranked MSU game. Of course, it’s the follow-up to last year’s epic clash with Michigan, the first clash between two top-10 teams in the history of the rivalry. MSU travels to Ann Arbor on October 29 for a game that sees Marcello ranked 17th in his top-100.
The Spartans stormed back from a 16-point deficit to give the hated Wolverines their first and only loss of the regular season last fall, and Tucker became the first MSU coach to start 2-0 with Michigan. MSU has been 5-2 in Ann Arbor since 2008, the year Mark Dantonio and the Spartans began turning the tide in the rivalry.
Ten places behind, at No. 27, is MSU’s annual clash with Ohio State. While the Spartans have lost six straight games since Michael Geiger upset MSU en route to the 2015 College Football Playoffs, it’s been a high-stakes affair more often than not in the Big Ten East division’s current roster . Ohio State will once again go into the season as Big Ten favorites and national contenders, but the Spartans will be looking to make their punch after embarrassing themselves for losing 49 points last year.
MSU and Wisconsin will meet this fall for the third time since the Spartans won overtime at Camp Randall in 2012. The Badgers have won their last two since that game, most recently beating MSU 38-0 in Madison. The Midwest heavyweights reunion lands at number 46 on the top 100.
And finally, the MSU regular-season finals in Penn State on November 26th checks in at No. 58. Who knows what’s at stake as these two programs play for the Land Grant Trophy, which is currently in MSU’s possession following the crash of the Nittany Lions in a snow-covered Spartan Stadium. MSU is going to Happy Valley this year, and the Spartans have been 3-2 at Beaver Stadium since 2010.
While MSU might have surprised some teams in their 8-0 start a year ago, the Spartans won’t have the luxury of stealth in 2022. MSU won’t be sneaking up on anyone this fall.
“I feel good with them,” Tucker said of his team at the end of spring training last month. “I like the way they work and the guys that have been available have gotten better. Every guy that has practiced and could practice has improved. We didn’t have our full unit out there today so I can actually see the guys that were out there and project the guys that weren’t out there and we have a few more guys that will be joining us in May . Just the way they work in the weight room and what they do from a nutritional perspective and how they hold each other accountable, we come together as a team. They have really good energy and a really good connection that will only grow throughout the summer. I expect we will have a very, very good summer program with our boys going into fall camp in great shape. It will be very competitive. We will be healthy. We will have a strong team.”
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