Don’t buy it for one second; despite finishing 6-6 on the season, the Michigan State Spartans football season was anything but good or exceptional. It was a huge letdown; more important than that, expectations either were not met, or fell short this year. The blame starts with the offense. QB Andrew Maxwell seemed to have a roller coaster year in which certain games he would make unbelievable throws for touchdowns, and then in others, he would throw a bad pass for interceptions that would cost the Spartans the game. The offense as a unit also was ineffective this year. They seemed to be one dimensional a lot during games.They relied heavily on the talent of RB Le’veon Bell and didn’t develop much of a passing offense.
To makematters worse, a lot of the games the Spartans lost were ones they let slip away late either due to mental errors, or a lack of focus. Losses at home to Ohio State, Iowa and Northwestern were heartbreakers because the Spartans actually had chances to win those games late, but either turned the ball over on their last possession, or did not get the big play that they needed. The loss on the road to Michigan was especially critical, because their defense had a chance to stop them, but could not get the job done to seal a victory. That game not only set the tone for how the Spartans season would go, it also proved to be an omen for how inconsistent they would play in the remaining four games. Granted they had some good wins over teams like Boise State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, but they lost a lot of games by a margin of 4 points or less (see above), and easily could have lost those games that they won as well, if it wasn’t for a few clutch plays they had made trailing late down the stretch.
For a team that was one game away from the Big Ten Championship a year ago, this is a huge setback for Mark Dantonio and the Spartans. After finishing (10-3 Overall) (7-2 in Big Ten) last year, they finished (6-6 overall) (3-5 in Big Ten) this year. They still may get a bowl game this year, but it likely isn’t the one they wanted or expected to be in when the season started. There is always next year for the Spartans to capture the Big Ten Championship, but they’ll look back on this season, and I’m sure they’ll agree it was a disappointment for them in many ways.