Heading into the 2021 season, absolutely NOBODY predicted the Michigan State Spartans to be 6-0 and ranked No. 10 in the nation. Heck, not many thought the Spartans would win six games during the entire season, but here we are.
The Spartans have been extremely impressive so far this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, and according to ESPN’s FPI rankings, they have a 9% chance of making the College Football Playoff.
That being said, on Monday, ESPN writer Bill Connelly published a piece in which he breaks down the ‘fatal flaw’ for every College Football Playoff contender.
Here is what Connelly believes is Michigan State’s fatal flaw.
Michigan State (6-0)
Rankings: 10th in the AP poll, 15th in SP+, 14th in FPI
CFP odds: 9%
Fatal flaw: They’ll let you pitch and catch. The Spartans’ offense is exciting and explosive; the defense: less so. Despite having played only two teams that rank higher than 80th in raw QBR this season, Michigan State is allowing a 63.8% completion rate this season (94th in FBS); if you account for air yards, its adjusted completion rate allowed is 71.3% (103rd). The Spartans have played two decent passing teams (Nebraska and Western Kentucky); they needed a late punt return score to defeat the former and 48 points to defeat the latter. Even if they get to 10-0, beating Ohio State and/or Penn State late in the season will be difficult with this type of passivity.
Nation, do you think the Spartans can tighten up their pass defense enough to make a run at the College Football Playoff?