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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Spartans Final Four Chances Hurt by Top 25 Results This Week

These comments are a continuation of the 9/23/14 post, A-TOWN AND R2G DEBATE: Is the Path to Football's Final Four Still Clear for Spartans?

The three keys I listed on 9/23/14:
1. MSU must win out.
2. Ranked at 9, there are eight undefeated teams ahead of the Spartans. In the next 11 weeks (10 games for MSU) plus the week of conference championships, five of those teams need to lose. That WILL happen, likely 6 or 7 of them will lose - it has happened every year (and many of those teams play each other).
3. Although not absolutely required, it will help if Oregon remains undefeated throughout the season.

Well, the 3rd of the three keys to Spartans accessing the Final Four is now off the table. And I think key #3 was even more important than I initially thought. That Oregon loss to Rich Rod REALLY hurt the Spartans shot. MSU would have really benefited from an undefeated #1 Oregon. To lose early and away from home to, what could have been, a number #1 Oregon team would have been "forgiven" by the committee if the Spartans were to run the table. With the home loss by the Ducks and that third key, now tossed in the river, A-Town's points carry far more weight. Without an undefeated Ducks team, the Spartans chances are dramatically reduced. They now need lots of help - way more help than they needed before this week's games.

In addition, the Spartans also lost some plan-B points. That Wisconsin loss really hurt the Spartans in the long run. Having an opportunity to beat an undefeated Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship Game is the best we could have hoped for because of all the points A-Town made about the Big Ten - because we need another highly ranked team on the schedule. Also, the two teams ranked just behind the Spartans scored huge SEC upsets and that could also have a detrimental effect. In the short term, both Mississippi State and Ole Miss will jump the Spartans in the rankings this week (one will drop off for sure when they play each other). UCLA and Texas A&M should drop behind the Spartans leaving a net change of zero for MSU for the week - or it would seem. Who knows what the voters will do with Georgia. Do they get the SEC bump and push the Spartans out of the top ten even after beating #19 Nebraska?

While there was cause for reasonable optimism with all three the keys still in play, with just two of three remaining, we rely on hope.

It's nice to say the chUMps loss was irrelevant to the conversation.


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