With a 3rd straight loss, Michigan State looks lost, confused and out-of-sync in all phases of the game.

And forget the game, let’s mention the coaching — something that’s clearly not getting the job done, and it’s especially evident after Saturday’s 27-13 loss to Maryland in College Park.

Mel Tucker, who just signed a 10-year, $95 million deal, has the Spartans on track for their worst season since 2016, when they fell embarrassingly flat at 3-9 under Mark Dantonio. That season was a sign of the end times for Dantonio. Will this season make the Spartans regret they shoveled out all that cash to Tucker, or will 2022 simply be a bump in the road during an otherwise successful tenure?

The results of this season could drastically alter the trajectory of the Spartans, who, up until the start of the season, were consistently in national conversations due to their high level of recruiting.

MSU doesn’t have Kenneth Walker III to lead the show. Injuries have hit the RB group, with transfer Jalen Berger remaining on the sidelines.

The offense has no rhythm. The defense looks to be disengaged.

The rest of this year is going to be incredibly difficult.

Next 3 Ls

Well, the Spartans might as well count these games as losses right now, because there is no way they’re beating Ohio State next week, Wisconsin the following week or Michigan on Oct. 29 in Ann Arbor.

No. Way. Possible.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines look like College Football Playoff contenders. The Badgers, despite a 34-10 loss to Illinois, should be able to handle the Spartans. Typically, MSU vs. Wisconsin has been a good game. This year’s version will feature 2 subpar teams looking for a feel-good win. Count the Badgers in for that one, because this is not MSU’s year.

Already at 2-3, Michigan State will likely end October with a beyond-disappointing 2-6 record, with hope of contenting for a Big Ten title far removed from its psyche. Any thoughts of a major bowl game or comeback effort to win the B1G were annihilated after Saturday’s loss at Maryland.


The Spartans’ schedule is set up in waves, especially following this 3-game slide. The next 3 games won’t be a picnic and will only continue to add insult to injury. Well, after that wonderful trio of hell, the Spartans get a break with a 3-game streak of winnable games.

Winnable, as of now.

On Nov. 5, the Spartans play at Illinois — very much a winnable game for Tucker’s struggling program. Though Illinois is 4-1, it has traditionally been an easy opponent for Michigan State. But if Illinois continues to play well … this could get really rough for the Spartans. It’s to the point where not one game looks like a certain win.

On Nov. 12, they host Rutgers — another that should end with a positive result; but then again, Rutgers might sneak one and stun the Spartans in East Lansing. Losing to the Scarlet Knights at home would ignite “fire Tucker” discussions (which are heating up already).

Indiana isn’t getting much love from the media this season. The Hoosiers just aren’t going the way most expected just 2 years ago. They’re ailing and looking for confidence-building wins, and they could get one when they go to Tucker’s Wood Shed, which has been chewed up by Gophers and Huskies and just got tilted by turtles on Saturday.

It’s tough to see the Hoosiers as a definite win, but the Illini and Scarlet Knights shouldn’t stand in the way of a couple more victories for MSU, which would be 4-7/5-6 before facing Penn State in the season finale.

R.I.P. 2022

Playing at Penn State could potentially decide if Michigan State will qualify for a bowl game or have its worst season since 2016. It might be one that fires up the Spartans — something that helps build momentum heading into the offseason — or it could be the final blow of a forgettable season.

It’ll probably be the latter. The Nittany Lions, like the Wolverines and Buckeyes, are playing great football and appear to be a contender for a conference championship. There is no way Michigan State knocks off PSU at Beaver Stadium — sealing the deal on a 4-8/5-7 season for Tucker, who has 9 more years remaining on his deal.

In 2017, the Spartans rebounded with a 10-3 record and Holiday Bowl victory. But they then went 7-6 the next 2 seasons before hiring Tucker, who went 2-5 during his 2020 debut.

Was 11-2 in 2021 a fluke? It looks that way; it’s unattainable this year for Tucker, that much has already been determined. Nobody saw the Spartans as a potential national champion, or anything close to that. Most reasonable projections landed in the 8- or 9-win range, some in the 10-win realm (and that was pushing it).

Now, the Spartans look like they’ll be lucky to win 2 or 3 more games — far from what we all thought would be the case in August.