Michigan State football last won a Big Ten title six years ago. During the 2020 Covid-shortened season, the team went 2-5. Head coach Mel Tucker’s second year at Michigan State led the team to an 11-2 season. The Spartans surprised everyone last year with their incredible season, which included a Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl win over Pittsburgh. However, with their lead running back Kenneth Walker III, and a tougher schedule ahead than ever, do the Michigan Spartans have a chance at a Big Ten Championship win?
Tucker joined MSU’s program after spending one year at Colorado University, which led to a 5-7 season. The 50-year-old also worked as three NFL team’s defensive coordinators (Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, and Jacksonville Jaguars). His resume also includes time as an assistant head coach/defensive backs coach for Alabama and defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Georgia.
Mel Tucker’s 2021 season led him to a reported 10-year, $95 million contract extension. Detroit News, Matt Charboneau reported the “bulk of the contract,” referring to the funding for the contract extension, was taken care of by private funding. Detroit Free Press released last that it’s believed that the funds were provided by MSU alumni Mat Ishbia and Steve St. Andre. The contract extension makes Mel Tucker the second-highest-paid college football coach behind Nick Saban ($9.753 million). It also places Tucker as one of the highest-paid coaches in any sports program in the US. Only three NFL coaches make more than Tucker’s new deal: Bill Belichick ($12.5 million), Pete Carroll ($11 million), and Sean Payton ($9.8 million).
Will all the hype around Mel Tucker’s new contract extension, many fans have high hopes for the team. Michigan State currently sits 7th across most sportsbooks in the state to win the Big Ten Championship. A complete breakdown can be found below:
|Ohio State Buckeyes||-200||-215||-220||-250|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||+1400||+1600||+1600||+1400|
|Michigan State Spartans||+2500||+2800||+2500||+2500|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||+3000||+2800||+2500||+2500|
|Illinois Fighting Illini||+20000||+15000||+20000||+20000|
|Rutgers Scarlet Knights||+50000||+50000||+50000||+50000|
How could MSU pull off a Big Ten Championship win?
To have a chance this season, the team will have to hone in on their weaknesses from last season. Michigan State’s pass defense ranked last in the nation last year. To help boost the secondary from last season, the Spartans picked up Georgia cornerback Ameer Speed.
The team also picked up Jarek Broussard and Jalen Berger, who should help fill in the gap left by Kenneth Walker III.
Even with the additions, Michigan and Ohio State still stand in the way for the Spartans. Mel Tucker will be doing everything he can to rebound from some not-so-pretty stats from last year.
QB Payton Thorne is coming off a 27-touchdown, 3,233-yard season and will lead the Spartans in their first matchup this season on Friday, September 2nd. The Spartan will host Western Michigan at the Spartan Stadium at 7 pm. The team’s first Big Ten conference game is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, against Minnesota.
Mac Daniel is a South Carolina-based freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit www.playonlinecasinomi.com or www.playonlinesportsbetting.com