My how things have changed.
Last season was one of the most successful ones in Michigan State history. In 2015, 12 wins, second-most in school history, were capped off by the program’s first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff. Nine months later?
In East Lansing Saturday, MSU jumped out to a quick 14-point lead on Northwestern midway through the first quarter. That was essentially the high-water mark in the game as the Wildcats outscored the Spartans 54-26 the rest of the way to claim a 54-40 win.
With the loss, MSU drops to 2-4 on the season — the same number of losses they had in their previous 27 games heading into this season. It’s also the team’s fourth straight loss, the longest same-season streak since 2006. That was also the last time the Spartans failed to qualify for a bowl game.
Given the remaining schedule, that streak of nine straight bowl appearances since is in jeopardy.
MSU still has to face rivals No. 4 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State, although the silver lining there is they get both Big Ten East powerhouses in East Lansing. They also have to go on the road to face a pair of teams currently 4-2 in Maryland and Penn State. Arguably the only gimmes on the remaining slate are 2-5 Rutgers and 2-4 Illinois, with both of those teams serving as the current basement dwellers in the B1G East and West, respectively.
Suffice to say, Sparty will have a tough row to hoe in just getting to within shouting distance of six wins, let alone getting to that postseason plateau.