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Michigan State Football: Should we adjust our 2023 expectations?

Do we have a grasp on this team yet?



Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

A lot has happened since Michigan State football kicked off the 2023 season three weeks ago. Should we adjust expectations?

Two pretty major events have happened recently that have Michigan State football fans wondering about the rest of the season. A demoralizing loss to Washington and the news of Michigan State’s intention to fire Mel Tucker have raised serious questions about the program.

Can the team keep pushing forward and have a successful season? Will the players stick with the program or bolt for a new team? Will the coaching staff be better or worse without Tucker? So much is unknown about the Spartans, so should we adjust our expectations for the rest of the season?

Should we adjust our expectations?

If you expected Michigan State to compete for a Big Ten title then yes, you should reassess your expectations. However, I think it’s safe to assume most of us did not expect that. For the most part, I think the bare minimum expectation from our fanbase was to make a bowl game. At most, I think we were hoping to win 7-8 games this year.

Most probably think that’s expecting too much at this point, but I don’t think we need to reset those expectations, yet.

We still don’t know much about this team

We are three games into the season yet we still don’t how good, or bad, this Michigan State team really is. Our first two games were against significantly inferior opponents. We expected to beat them by as much as we did and those wins didn’t prove we were a great team.

On the flip side, losing to Washington was no surprise either. I think most expected Washington to dominate MSU, just maybe not as much as it did. Regardless, losing to Washington was pretty expected as well. Washington is also one of the best teams in the country, so losing that badly to a national title contender doesn’t tell us much about this Michigan State team either.

The Spartans need to play a team more on their level to find out how good, or bad, they really are.

We will find out how good — or bad — MSU really is this weekend

Michigan State will face Maryland this weekend in its Big Ten opener. Maryland is a good team, but it’s no juggernaut like Washington. The Terrapins are also significantly better than both Central Michigan and Richmond. Based on this season so far they do look to be a little better than us, but it’s safe to say they are on a similar level as us.

That is why this weekend will be very telling. If Michigan State goes out and beats Maryland, then 7-8 wins might still be possible. However, if Maryland comes into Spartan Stadium and dominates the Spartans, then that’s when we should adjust expectations. Losing to Maryland will make it difficult to make a bowl game, and that is not something we can miss out on again.

After Maryland, Michigan State will travel to Iowa and then to Rutgers. We will learn a lot about our team these next three games. After playing three teams more on our level, we can then adjust our expectations to something we know for sure is more realistic.