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Mel Tucker could take a page out of Tom Izzo’s book

Mel Tucker could take a page out of Tom Izzo’s book.



Mel Tucker

Believe it or not, Mel Tucker is currently in a similar position to the one Tom Izzo was in before the 2022-23 season.

Coming off another ho-hum 23-13 season following a seventh-place finish in Big Ten play and second-round exit in the NCAA Tournament, Tom Izzo was facing a ton of criticism. It was his second straight mediocre season and he lost Marcus Bingham Jr. to graduation and Julius Marble to the transfer portal.

Not only did he lose two big men, but he also lost Max Christie to the NBA draft after his freshman campaign and Gabe Brown to graduation.

The team lost four guys who played meaningful minutes and two of them were expected to return in 2022-23 as potential starters.

All Tom Izzo did to replace them was bring in freshmen big men Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper. He placed all of his trust in third-year Mady Sissoko to handle the starting duties. Criticism rained down from a portion in the fanbase, saying that “the game has passed him by” or “Izzo is having a Mark Dantonio-like end to his career.” No one trusted his vision for the roster.

Izzo did target a couple of transfers in Jalen Bridges and Micah Parrish, but neither picked MSU.

How did he respond? All he did was lead Michigan State to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, earning a double-bye in the conference tournament, and the Spartans made the Sweet 16 and were one wild Markquis Nowell bucket away from an Elite Eight.

Now, the outlook of the program is at an all-time high and it’s because Izzo bet on himself.

You might be wondering what that has to do with Mel Tucker. The Spartans’ football coach is not a Hall of Famer like Izzo and doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt, but the overall lesson is similar: don’t count a team or coach out before he gets a chance to prove himself.

Heading into the 2023 season, Tucker is fresh off a heavily-criticized campaign in which the Spartans went 5-7 and missed a bowl. Like Izzo, this came shortly after an incredibly successful season (Izzo’s was two years prior and Tucker’s was the year before). Tucker lost his quarterback and top receiver to the transfer portal and Jayden Reed headed off to the NFL.

Tucker, like Izzo, targeted a couple of transfers to help replace the departing talent in Tyler Harrell and Jahdae Walker, but neither picked MSU.

Like Izzo, Tucker seems to be rolling with his guys. And just like we saw with Izzo, the fanbase is criticizing him and calling for his job (many called for Izzo to retire).

I get it, Michigan State has had a rough offseason and Mel Tucker has been relatively quiet. The losses that this team has had have been tough, but there’s a reason Mel isn’t panicking: he trusts his guys and his staff.

It’s fair to be worried heading into the season with a brand new quarterback, an unproven receiving corps, and a defense that hasn’t exactly set the world on fire under Scottie Hazelton, but Tucker is bringing in one of the best recruiting classes in school history, a solid transfer class, and only really lost two main contributors from last year to the portal.

Being worried is one thing, but calling for Tucker’s job is just not it. He was hired and extended because the school believes he can win here. Mel himself believes he can win here. Let him try to win here.

Tucker has shown once already that he can win big and the worst thing that he could have done was win 11 games in his first real season because it caused fans to expect that every year. It caused everyone to become spoiled.

If he loses 7-8 games again in 2023, sure, you can say he’s not the right guy for the job and criticize him all you want, but give the guy some time to prove himself. He’s coached two real seasons of MSU football and one ended with 11 wins and a New Year’s Six bowl.

I’m hoping we all look back on this and laugh at the fact that people wanted Mel Tucker gone.

Not too long ago, Izzo was in a similar spot and look how that turned out.


Michigan State football: Washington game time, channel announced

Fans won’t be too thrilled about the channel.



Michigan State football
© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington vs. Michigan State football rematch is on Sept. 16, and the Spartans have revenge on their minds.

The game time for the Washington vs. Michigan State football game was just announced and is one I think most Michigan State fans will be happy with. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 16.

This is a great start time for Michigan State fans. That will give fans plenty of time to travel to East Lansing, enjoy a tailgate and get into the stadium. On top of that, the game will get down around 8 p.m. ET which is good for the crowd that does not like to be out late.

However, I think a lot of fans were hoping for a noon start time in this game. A noon start would have been a 9 a.m. local time for Washington, likely giving the Spartans a slight advantage. It’s no surprise seeing this big of a game scheduled in the evening to avoid that.

On top of the game time announcement, where the game will be aired on TV was also announced. This is where the good news ends. The Spartans game against Washington will only be available for streaming on Peacock. That means Spartan fans at home will have to pay to watch this game. However, a simple Google search showed me that Peacock currently only costs $20 for the entire year. A lot of Big Ten football and basketball games will only be available on Peacock this season, so that may not be a bad investment to make right now if you can.

What would a win mean for Michigan State football?

Michigan State will have revenge on its mind in this game. Washington beat the Spartans last season in Seattle 39-28. The game however did not feel that close. Michigan State made a late comeback to make the final score look respectable, but a lot of fans will tell you we never really stood a chance.

Washington will likely be a top 10 heading into this matchup, so Michigan State has a great opportunity in front of it. A win would would help spring the Spartans into the conference season with a lot of positive momentum.

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Jordan Hall hosts second annual free youth football camp (Video)

Jordan Hall is a legend already.



Jordan Hall
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Michigan State freshman linebacker Jordan Hall continues to show just why he’s one of the best out there.

Jordan Hall is already showing signs of being the next great Spartan on and off the field.

The Michigan State freshman linebacker was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. However, he most recently moved to Bradenton, Fla., to play football at IMG Academy.

This past weekend, Hall returned home to Fredericksburg to host his second annual free Jordan Hall Youth Football Camp.

Hall has already been making a name for himself on the field for the Spartans this spring. His play and effort has been praised by fellow players and coaches alike. IMG Academy has a long history of producing high-quality athletes. This makes Hall’s tenure in the program even more noteworthy. He became the first three-time captain in IMG Academy history.

When coaches are recruiting players, they are hoping to find the perfect mix of talent and character. You don’t become a three-time captain of a storied school like IMG Academy without having both.

In a recent interview with Spartan Shadows, Cryeeta Hall said of her son, “One of his favorite things he loves to do is teach the game of football to kids. He loves to coach.”

Michigan State fans are excited to see what Jordan Hall can contribute on the field, but his character off the field so far is creating just as much excitement. When you see a young man with the heart and determination to give back to his hometown, it lets fans know this is the sort of player you can to rally around and support. Mel Tucker has shown intentionality in his recruiting. He has a specific type of player that he’s looking for. Jordan Hall epitomizes a Tucker type of player.

Hall has the potential to earn immediate playing time this year as a true freshman. I’m not a betting man but if I were, I’d wager that we’ll see him as a team captain for the green and white sooner than later.

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Mel Tucker is best coach in the Big Ten when it comes to one stat

This may surprise you.



Mel Tucker

Mel Tucker is the best coach in the conference when it comes to this one surprising stat.

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is one of the best coaches in the Big Ten when it comes to close games.

This may surprise some considering two of Tucker’s three years at Michigan State have resulted in losing seasons. But the data shows that Tucker knows how to come out on top when the game is close.

He has been at Michigan State since 2020. During that three year timeframe he boasts a 10-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less which is the best record in the conference during that span.

Here is a list of all 11 of those games:


  • at Michigan (W 27-24)
  • vs. Northwestern (W 29-20)


  • vs. Nebraska (W 23-20)
  • at Indiana (W 20-15)
  • vs. Michigan (W 37-33)
  • vs. Penn State (W 30-27)
  • vs. Pittsburgh (W 31-21)


  • vs. Wisconsin (W 34-28)
  • at Illinois (W 23-15)
  • vs. Rutgers (W 27-21)
  • vs. Indiana (L 39-31)

How impressive is this really?

A 10-1 record when games are within 10 points is extremely impressive. The only loss on this list is Indiana from last season, a game Michigan State likely should have one. The Spartans ended up losing in overtime to the Hoosiers, but were a chip shot field goal away from winning in regulation. That is a field goal college kickers make almost every time, so Tucker’s one loss on this list could easily have been another win.

Regardless, 10-1 is the best winning percentage in games decided by 10 points or less in the Big Ten during that three-year span.

This is how the rest of the Big Ten teams fared during this same timeframe:

  1. Michigan State: 10-1 (.909)
  2. Maryland: 8-3 (.727)
  3. Iowa: 11-5 (.688)
  4. Indiana: 7-4 (.636)
  5. Purdue: 12-7 (.632)
  6. Ohio State: 3-2 (.600)
  7. Michigan: 6-4 (.600)
  8. Minnesota: 9-7 (.563)
  9. Rutgers: 7-6 (.538)
  10. Wisconsin: 6-7 (.462)
  11. Penn State: 5-7 (.417)
  12. Northwestern: 5-9 (.357)
  13. Illinois: 6-11 (.353)
  14. Nebraska: 5-16 (.238)

What does this tell us about Mel Tucker?

One thing this tells us is the Tuck is a great in game coach in tight situations. No coach goes 10-1 in close games by accident. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved with winning close games, but that’s not necessarily the case when you win them this efficiently. Anyone can close a game out when you are up by 20, but not everyone can win a close game in the closing seconds.

This statistic is not all good though. Michigan State has won 18 games during the past three seasons. This means that over half of the games Mel Tucker has won at Michigan State have been within 10 points. For a program with extremely high goals, that fact is a little scary.

As I mentioned before, sometimes luck has to be on your side to win these close games. So relying on winning a lot of close games to have a great season is not a recipe for success.

One things for sure though, as long as Mel Tucker is the coach at Michigan State, we stand a very good chance at winning any close game.

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