In what has been a magical 7-0 season for the Michigan State Spartans—their best start since the 1966 team which won a co-national championship—it just keeps getting better.
The first wave of official BCS rankings was released today, and they are as such (from No. 1 to No. 10): Oklahoma, Oregon, Boise State, Auburn, TCU, LSU, Michigan State, Alabama, Utah and Ohio State.
Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night made them drop drastically after their No. 1 rankings in the polls was revoked—just like Alabama last week.
All the other teams’ rankings in the BCS make sense considering that each team is undefeated, except for a one-loss Alabama team which won the national title last season.
For the Spartans, it has been a season to remember. From finishing last season with a .500 record and a bowl loss to starting the 2010 season as an unranked team, I don’t know if anybody expected this type of blistering start.
Of course, the perfect start hasn’t been without a few nail-biting moments.
Whether it was a fake field goal-turned-touchdown pass to beat Notre Dame in overtime to facing Heisman front-runner (at the time) Denard Robinson at the Big House, Michigan State has beaten all of its competitors in different variations.
Each win has shown a different element of this team: beating Notre Dame showed a sense of camaraderie and a “never say die” attitude; defeating Wisconsin showed onlookers that this team was for real; blanking an improving Illinois team in the second half showed how good the Spartans defense really is and can be; and dominating Michigan on the road showcased Michigan State’s talent in each of the game’s three phases.
But there are plenty more games to play, including some tough road tests the next two weeks.
First, the Spartans must travel to Evanston to play Northwestern. The Spartans will definitely be favored, but every Big Ten game—especially when it’s on the road—is a big sign of how your team is performing. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is playing really well, too.
The biggest gut-check game for the Spartans will be in two weeks when they travel to Iowa. If you remember last season, Iowa beat MSU on the final play of the game. Iowa barely pulled out a victory in Ann Arbor yesterday, a place where Michigan State won by double digits. It will be a nationally-watched game with plenty on the line.
The Spartans may go undefeated if they defeat both Northwestern and Iowa, shaping up what might be another year of BCS uncertainty and constant questioning from the media and public.
For now, the only thing Michigan State can do is win. As the stakes keep getting higher, the team has to continue getting better and not underestimate any opponent on the schedule. There is little room for error while plenty of room still exists to achieve a dream season.
Destiny is in the hands of the green and white. Well, at least as much as the computers say it is.
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