Keeping in mind that basically you have OSU and UM on top, everyone else fighting to get in a bowl every year - and get left out and you're in trouble.
This year's non-conference schedules for the rest of the Little Nine:
(1 BCS conference mid-to-lower level; 2 non-BCS D-I, 1 D-IAA - 3 home games) Penn State:
(ND + 3 very low level D-I teams, 4 home games) Iowa:
(1 low-level BCS, 1 mid-level BCS, 2 MAC - 3 home games)
(ND, 2 MAC, 1 D-IAA, 3 home games)
N. Dakota State
(2 MAC, 1 low-level D-I, 1 D-IAA, 4 home games)
(1 solid BCS, 1 low-level BCS, 1 MAC, 1 D-IAA, 2 home games, 1 neutral)
(3 MAC (maybe they should apply for membership), 1 D-IAA, 3 home games)
EMU - in Detroit
(1 low-level BCS, 1 MAC, 1 WAC, 1 D-IAA, 3 home games, 1 neutral)
So what does that tell you? MSU needs a minimum of three home games, just to stay competitive, and no more than one non-conference game that you should have any realistic chance of losing.
The other eight schools that MSU has to really compete against in the Big 10 have scheduled 6 D-IAA opponents and 14 MAC opponents in their 32-game total.
Plus, you have the likes of Duke, Nevada, Fla. International and Florida Atlantic for 4 more games. So you've come away with 24 supposed cupcakes in 32 games....or on average, each of the other eight have 3 games they simply should not lose.
And three, or almost half, the other Big 10 schools have schedules that should virtually guarantee them 4 wins, which means they need to go 2-6 to become eligible for a bowl game.
And combined, they will play only THREE (3) BCS teams that went to a bowl game last season.
Now, someone please explain to me why MSU has two BCS bowl teams on their schedule this year and next?
Sure, it's challenging, but don't think for a second that it doesn't put MSU at a disadvantage in reaching a bowl game, and hence, recruiting.