Why expectations for Michigan State, Ohio State need to be altered
It’s time to adjust.
No longer can we sit back, and expect Michigan State and Ohio State to dominate everybody they face. We’re setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Throw away the preseason hype and get with the times. These are two very talented teams with issues. And it shows.
There are plenty of reasons why they’ve played down to their competition. Michigan State is doing everything it can just to keep guys on the field. Ohio State is doing everything it can to try and keep all of its skill players involved.
Both are failing.
Let’s forget about the national championship talk. Let’s even forget about Nov. 21. It isn’t fair to automatically assume either of these teams will breeze through the B1G and square off as undefeated teams.
Can that still happen? Certainly, but it’s time we stop evaluating based on preseason expectations.
Both teams have underachieved. They could easily continue to underachieve and we’re going to ask the same question every week. Why aren’t they destroying everyone?
After all, Michigan State had its best offensive season in school history last year. And all Ohio State did last season was truck college football’s best en route to a national championship.
So why haven’t we seen a complete game between the two that takes us back to that? That’s a greater question that can’t be defined in one fell swoop. Injuries, offensive limitations and penalties are just a few of the reasons that it’s been a stressful adventure to 5-0.
But the reality is, 5-0 is a blessing. Just go ask the four top-10 teams that lost on Saturday. We’re living in a world where Associated Press voters are making arguments for Baylor, TCU and Utah to be No. 1. It’s a week-to-week game that’s proving style points are worth less and less.
The common belief is that neither are passing the eye test right now and once they both face better teams, their demise will be real. That could easily happen. That can also work in reverse.
Everyone is rightfully picking these teams apart right now. Ohio State’s quarterback situation is a mess. Michigan State can’t score in the second half. Ohio State isn’t using its playmakers enough. Michigan State can’t keep anybody on the field.
There are some positives that can result from that approach. There’s something to be said for having weaknesses exposed in the first week of October compared to the end of November. What were teams saying about these two teams at this point last year? Michigan State can’t stop the pass. Ohio State is too inexperienced to be great. So they did what great teams are supposed to do. They adjusted.
Both of them have major adjustments to make if they want to finish this year in the fashion we all thought they once could. For now, they look like far from finished products.
Let’s take a page out of James Franklin’s book and throw out the point spreads. Let’s stop assuming that Nov. 21 will determine the B1G winner. It easily could, but that’s a slap in the face to how good the likes of Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern have been to start the season.
The B1G conversation no longer starts with Michigan State and Ohio State being heads and shoulders above the rest of the conference. They can’t run the table by putting it on cruise control. They also can’t win the conference title by beating teams by 40 points. Both are lucky to have made enough plays to avoid upsets.
It’s been a bumpy ride to get to 5-0. And if the B1G opener was any indication, it’s time to buckle up.