Michigan State has been an undervalued team for the past few years. I think a playoff system in 2013 might have shown Sparty to be the top team in the nation. They settled for a Rose Bowl Win over Stanford thanks to the BCS system. This team was the Big 10 Champs and played a great season except for an unfortunate loss at Notre Dame.
Then last year Sparty’s only losses were to Oregon the eventual playoff runner up and Ohio State the eventual Champion. They played a tough Big 10 schedule. But those two hiccups against the two participants in the playoff game I believe demonstrates that Michigan State is a very good squad these past two years.
Going into week 10, Sparty was basking in both an undefeated record and #7 ranking from the committee. They were likely confident going into Lincoln to face the Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have been mostly irrelevant since losing to BYU in their opener in one of the weirdest endings to start a season on.
But this time; the unranked Nebraska stunned Sparty 39-38. The Cornhuskers last touchdown should not have counted since the receiver went out of bounds and came back in but it did. And Sparty was not able to score any more points with the few seconds left. So the score stands in the record books.
Even if Michigan State can get into the Big 10 Championship, I don’t think the committee will take them seriously. This loss was a fluke. Still Michigan State doesn’t have the “brand awareness” of a school like Notre Dame. The Irish fans are said to “travel” better than the Spartans. So a one loss Notre Dame will be taken more seriously than Michigan State, I assume. That is just my feeling based on last year and the first rankings.
If the winners on the field got into the Championship based on standings; this would change things.