Michigan State football has the hardest schedule in the Big Ten in 2023 and the second-hardest in the NCAA. MSU’s opponents have a combined record of 96-57 with a win percentage of 62.7%. On top of that, eight of the teams they play had winning records last season, which is the most for a team on a Big Ten team’s schedule. It won’t be an easy road for the Spartans after coming off a season where they went 5-7 and failed to make a bowl game. So what should the expectations be for MSU fans heading into 2023?
MSU Football Home Games
The Spartans start off their season with four straight home games against Central Michigan, Richmond, Washington, and Maryland. The one big positive for MSU football is that they do get a lot of those tough games at home. Washington, Michigan, and Penn State all have to come to Spartan Stadium. The hope for Coach Tucker and this team is that they could obviously win all three, but is that possible?
CMU, Richmond, Maryland, and Nebraska
These are four games that are all very winnable for MSU football. With CMU and Richmond, it’s about staying healthy in those games and getting to see the warm-up of the 2023 squad. That Central game will have a lot of buzz due to the current limbo of who will be playing QB at that time for the Spartans. There’s a good chance we could see at least two of the three guys, Noah Kim, Payton Thorne, and Katin Houser, out there during that game.
With MSU being 2-0 after CMU and Richmond, they take on Maryland after a very good Washington opponent. This is a Terps squad that should still have an above-average air attack with Taulia Tagovailoa coming back for another season. MSU dropped this game on the road in an ugly fashion and needs to not overlook this game because this team could sneak up on a lot of teams.
For Nebraska, it’s about a team that’s rebuilding under first-year head coach Matt Rhule and has a lot of new transfers along with freshmen. This game isn’t until Nov. 4, and we’ll have a good idea of what both teams are made of by then, but Nebraska is full of question marks.
Washington, Michigan, and Penn State
All three games will be incredibly hard to win, with the Washington game on Sep. 16. This game is going to be insane, with the possibility of it coming in a prime time slot and being one of the best games that week. Washington is not only bringing back Michael Penix Jr., who has torched Michigan State every year he has played them, but also their entire receiving core. Germie Bernard is a name that MSU fans are also familiar with after he transferred to the Huskies during this offseason after playing his freshman year in East Lansing. With an elite offense and a very good defense, this team is going to be a college football playoff contender.
This Michigan game will be the Wolverines revenge game. Both teams have not forgotten the events of Oct. 29 and will be constantly reminded of them during rivalry week. No matter what each squad’s record is, there’s going to be a lot of emotion in this game. Obviously, the last time the Wolverines came to East Lansing, Kenneth Walker put up five touchdowns and couldn’t be stopped. I would be highly surprised if that were the case again, with Michigan being national champion contenders and hungry for revenge.
The battle for the Land Grant Trophy is on Nov. 25th, and last time it was in Spartan Stadium, it was a snow bowl and quite the game. Penn State has a lot of weapons once again. At this point in the season, this game could be potentially massive for PSU if they put themselves in a situation to go to the Big Ten Championship game. It’s a long way away, but it would be really cool to see it be a winter wonderland once again.
Final Home Game Record: 3-4
Michigan State doesn’t start their road schedule until Sept. 30, and Spartan fans will know what to expect of this squad by the time they head to Iowa. The hardest game is at Ohio State on Nov. 11 and will more than likely be a blowout loss. Included in those games are Rutgers, Indiana, and Minnesota. In those games, Michigan State should at least have two wins, if not all three. No road game is easy, but those are games that they should win. That’s also not saying much since they should have beat Indiana last year but couldn’t kick multiple short field goals to seal the deal.
The road games aren’t nearly as difficult compared to the home ones, but any of them are also very losable.
Michigan State Football Season Summary
When it’s all said and done, Michigan State will more than likely be a very average team with improvements from last year. It would be an ugly situation if they missed another bowl game in back-to-back years. This will be Tucker’s biggest season as head coach, and we’ll have to see how this team handles it. Despite how difficult this season is, there’s going to be a ton of fun games to tune in to see this team play, starting with that Washington game. If MSU is able to somehow win that game, this season will continue to get even more interesting. We’re going to find out real quick what 2023 is going to be like for the Spartans.
Final Record: 7-5
Photo Credit: Lansing State Journal
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