To take it a step farther, here's a breakdown of the starters by classifications.
|1998 (8-5)||D-4 O-8||D-7 O-1||D-0 O-1||D-0 O-1|
|1999 (10-2)||D-8 O-7||D-1 O-2||D-2 O-2||D-0 O-0|
|2000 (8-4)||D-6 O-3||D-3 O-5||D-2 O-2||D-0 O-1|
|2001 (3-8)||D-4 O-4||D-5 O-2||D-2 O-3||D-0 O-1|
|2002 (3-9)||D-7 O-4||D-3 O-4||D-0 O-3||D-1 O-0|
|2003 (2-10)||D-4 O-4||D-1 O-4||D-4 O-2||D-2 O-1|
|2004 (3-8)||D-2 O-2||D-4 O-4||D-2 O-3||D-1 O-2|
|2005 (3-8)||D-2 O-3||D-6 O-3||D-2 O-3||D-1 O-2|
|2006 (3-9)||D-6 O-2||D-2 O-3||D-3 O-4||D-0 O-2|
|2007 (6-5)||D-3 O-4||D-6 O-4||D-2 O-2||D-0 O-1|
So, why the improvement in 2007 compared to the previous 6 years? Less youngsters (freshmen and sophomores) having to start and an improving offense.
The offense, over the course of the last three years, has slowly increased by 4.5 points per year. And, as the stats point out, starting a lot of freshmen and sophomores guarantee losses, especially when you don't have a lot of seniors starting. Don't believe me? Look at the stats again, especially for years 2004-2007. For every starting freshman and sophomore, MSU incurred a loss. The only year this didn't come close to being accurate was 2002. All the other years were dead on or fairly close. Just in case you are wondering, MSU will probably start 0 freshmen and 3 sophomores (Derek Sherrod, Wesley Carroll, K.J. Wright) next season.
The bottom line is while the 2007 team figures, at best, to win 7 games during the regular season, based on the upward trend on offense, a solid defensive trend and the experience coming back, things look pretty good for an eight-win regular season next year.