3. They have to win the road trip at Penn State
Yeah, it was a solid ten-win season, and whacking around Washington State in the Holiday Bowl was fun, but there were a whole lot of wins over mediocre teams, the Michigan win came in miserable conditions – of course, give Mark Dantonio and his team credit for figuring out how to deal – and there were just three regular season wins over teams that went bowling.
But the victory over Penn State was the one at the top line of the 2017 resumé.
It was one of the key moments and thrillers of the Big Ten season when MSU came up with the 27-24 victory, but now it has to do it on the road.
The Spartans have been good lately against the Nittany Lions – winning four of the last five in the series – but this time, it’s going to be really, really big considering what’s next.
Three of the next four and four of the last six games are at home. But the last time they went to Happy Valley, they were whacked around 45-12 in the 2016 season ender.
It’s still possible to lose to the Nittany Lions and still win the Big Ten title and get to the College Football Playoff, but they’ll have to be perfect the rest of the way for part two of that to kick in.
Win, though, and there can be a misfire and still be okay as long as they ….