NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.
Michigan State has had some… issues in the past of feeling like the unloved child of college football. Despite consistent double-digit win seasons, multiple marquee bowl victories, and even a College Football Playoff berth, for many Spartans it seemed the national and local media did not respect the good ole green and white.
Well I am here to tell all of Spartan nation that their fear of being forgotten or cheapened is now over. In a quite ironic twist, the proof in the real respect of the Spartan program came out in spades in what was arguably the Green and White’s worst season since the early-2000’s.
The first example of this recognition came in the form of respect for those who beat MSU in Spartan Stadium. The Wisconsin Badgers, in particular, were praised for their convincing display in East Lansing by ESPN personalities left and right. Ohio State and Michigan were equally credited for going into Spartan Stadium and attaining wins. It was odd at first to hear ESPN personalities singing the praises of those victories but as they continued, the respect for the program even at its lowest point was apparent. ESPN’s very own Kirk Herbstreit has been especially vocal in his praise of the Spartans’ rise as a program. Many nationally may have dismissed the Spartans before and especially in 2016 (I’m looking at you, Joey Galloway) but Herbstreit stuck with his admiration for what Mark Dantonio has done in East Lansing.
Secondly, and somewhat soberingly, the respect has been shown in the sheer disappointment of the 2016 Spartan team. Take this soundbite from Pat Forde on who his most disappointing team in 2016 was:
A bevy of other publications have stated similar attitudes ranging from The Detroit News to The Big Lead. All of the articles and conjecture of the season that should’ve been for MSU all comes from the same place of missed goals and expectations. In an ironic way, the respect for MSU is most apparent because they had the hype and expectation and didn’t reach it. When you are a good enough program to fall well short of lofty expectations, that proves others are finally taking you seriously.
ESPN’s FPI even put MSU in a positive light this year. Out of 128 teams, the Spartans ranked 58th in the FPI. They were the highest-ranked team with three wins and outranked 23 schools that had .500 or better records.
Time will tell if the perception turns back into reality for Spartan fans. But, at least for the time being, MSU has the nation’s respect and attention. So much so, that they were truly disappointed that we reverted back to our old ways.