MSU football: Spartans should have been considered for National Championship Game

Spartan fans are ecstatic for their upcoming trip to the Rose Bowl. So much so, that some of them are acting like idiots.

This article is not meant to take away from the Rose Bowl shine in any way. It is meant to make the case for why the MSU football team should have been considered to play Florida State in the National Championship Game. Of course, it’s all moot now. But what fun is college football if we can’t have discussions like this.

Point #1: Strong scheduling

MSU scheduled 5 historically Top 25 teams this year: Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa. It is not MSU’s fault that it’s competition did not live up to its historical standard. Football schedules are made years (sometimes decades) in advance. Michigan State has never really shied away from playing tough competition. In the non-conference schedule, they constantly play Notre Dame, they brought in Boise State last year, they are going to Oregon next year, they had Alabama scheduled home and home until the Tide backed out, etc.

This year, MSU didn’t — and, overall, doesn’t — schedule weak competition. It’s competition simply played weak this year.

Point #2: Win big

If you put 5 historically tough programs on your schedule and they don’t play up to their historical standards, what can you do about it? How about beat them all (except Notre Dame, of course) by double digits? The Spartans won at home, they won on the road and they won in a “neutral” setting. They beat every single Big Ten opponent on their schedule by double digits. There simply is nothing MSU could have done differently in that regard (except beat Notre Dame, obviously).

Point #3: Excuses

MSU has one loss, on the road, by 4 points, at a point in the season where they were still figuring out who was going to quarterback this team. The BCS “experts” pull out all those excuses (and more) for other teams. Why not pull them out for MSU?

Point #4: Comparisons

The team that is going to play for the national championship that MSU should have received consideration against is Auburn. So, it makes sense that one should compare their resumes.

If you compare best wins:

  • Auburn, at home against the #3 team (Alabama) in the country. On a last second, miraculous (and awesome) play.
  • MSU, on a neutral site by 10 points against the #7 team in the country, with 3/4 of the fans in attendance rooting against them.

If you compare losses:

  • MSU, on the road against last year’s national runner-up, #25 Notre Dame, which finished with an 8-4 record . By 4 points. With many, many questionable pass interference calls.
  • Auburn, on the road against #14 LSU team that ended up 9-3. By 14 points.

In conclusion:

Michigan State started the season outside the top 25, made a brief appearance around the Notre Dame game, and then dropped out until week 10. Week 10! That was Halloween week.

Read that again: MSU didn’t re-enter the Top 25 polls until Halloween. And they finished #4 in the country.

Imagine if they had been given the Ohio State head start. OSU started #2 in the preseason and never moved out of the top 5 until after their loss to MSU. If MSU had been given that advantage, they likely would never have dropped out of the top 10 and would have received strong consideration for the national title game.

It’s a broken system. It’s not fair. And there is nothing we can do about it. But, Spartans, think about this: if the College Football Playoff had come one year earlier, MSU would likely have had the chance to play FSU in the national semifinals this year, with a shot at Auburn or Alabama in the national championship game one week later.

Wow. What a difference a year makes.

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All that being said, I’m not sure I know of an MSU fan who is truly complaining about having to go to the Granddaddy of Them All. But it’s fun to talk about.

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  • Thomas B. Emmerich

    I agree completely with your thoughts. I was saying all last night to anyone that would listen “Why not us?” MSU’s resume is as good as anyone’s. Yet, like the whole season, remain and absolute after thought.