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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Michigan fans got carried away by the early season victories over such football juggernauts as Oregon State and University of Nevada at Las Vegas. They went absolutely bonkers at the big win over Brigham Young. And they started to look at their defeat against Utah as a "quality-loss".

Then they claimed that Michigan State didn't actually beat them, invoking their newfound belief that the last play of a game does not actually count towards the final score. And they began bashing the schedule-strength of MSU this season, pointing at their own vanquished opponent list as if it was the "murderer's row" of college football in 2015.

Hold your horses, chUMps!
But the MSU schedule looks better and better.

Last weekend the eight teams previously defeated by the Spartans went 3-5, with three of those five losses by a touchdown or less. So with a little luck here and there, that group of teams may have gone 6-2. (Unlike the Michigan opponents, many of whom were soundly thrashed last weekend.)

Indiana and Purdue each lost by seven points, while Central Michigan lost by five points. Oregon had the huge win over Stanford, and Air Force kept on truckin'. Here are the current records of the eight teams MSU beat prior to the Maryland game, listed in the order they were played:

  • 6-4 Western Michigan
  • 7-3 Oregon
  • 7-3 Air Force
  • 5-5 Central Michigan
  • 2-8 Purdue
  • 3-7 Rutgers
  • 8-2 Michigan
  • 4-6 Indiana
  • 39-33 combined season record (54%)

The Oregon game is increasingly looking like the Spartans' "signature win" heading to Columbus. Air Force and Michigan are also quality-wins, while Western Michigan is the fourth bowl-eligible team to lose against MSU this season.

Michigan's defeated opponents = 41% winning percentage
Michigan State's defeated opponents = 54% winning percentage

With the Ohio STATE game impending, the need for schedule-strength analysis gradually subsides as teams play out their final games. But it was annoying to hear all of the chatter from Ann Arbor about the glorious wins against teams that are now well under .500 with no post-season hopes. The MSU schedule may not be the toughest in the country, but by comparison to UM, it is a more respectable group of teams.

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