Sure expectations were high after the Spartans reeled off a 7-1 start, but following back-to-back losses to Michigan and Ohio State, fans are suffering from letdown.
But the Spartans need to right the ship and take care of business at Camp Randall Stadium this Saturday because that New Year's Day bowl is still on the table.
While Michigan, Purdue and Ohio State will duel for the conference championship and trips to the Rose Bowl with the loser getting the consolation prize to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, MSU can get a trip to Tampa in the Outback bowl if they can beat out Purdue for third place, they cannot beat out Michigan or Ohio State.
Purdue (8-2, 5-1 conf.) has an outside shot at the Rose Bowl. They must defeat Ohio State(9-1, 5-1 conf.) in Columbus to do so. If they split, (their last games is on the road vs. Indiana) they finish 9-3.
They also face competition from a Minnesota (9-2, 5-2) squad that could finish 10-2 if they whip Iowa (7-3, 3-3 conf.)on Saturday. That would give the Gopher a 6-2 conference mark something that Michigan State would have to match to nose out the Gophers in a tie-breaker.
So MSU must put it's nose to the grind stone and hope for help from Ohio State and Iowa this weekend. If they get it, they could still go bowling on New Year's Day.
If they win out and get no help, they could end up in either the Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX), the Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX) or the Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN).
Obviously, Tampa, FL is the destination Spartans fans prefer over either Texas or Tennessee, but after last year's 4-8 anything other than the Motor City Bowl would be a welcome change of pace.