East Lansing, Mich. – Let's be real.
Last year's COVID-filled football season, which included two canceled games on the Spartan football calendar due to COVID-19, wasn't a true showcase of the state of the Michigan State football program.
Sure, the Spartans are in a rebuild, and it's evident that it will take a couple of seasons until head coach Mel Tucker is fully settled in.
Last year's record, a 2-5 conference mark, didn't include any non-conference games. Every season, non-conference games allow teams to get in gear for the season and get game-time reps in.
At the college level, it's quite important. It allows teams to test different lineups and different player combinations. It prepares teams for the conference game portion of the season.
With that said, the Spartans two wins last season, one against rival No. 13 Michigan in Ann Arbor and the other against No. 8 Northwestern, proved that Michigan State has the tools, the plays, and strategies to win.
Yet, Tucker's strength comes in recruiting. Many have left through the transfer portal, and others have come to East Lansing. Sports Illustrated's Spartan Nation has covered in-depth and followed MSU football recruiting during the off-season.
Plus, the departure of big-time players in the Big Ten Conference to the NFL means a "new team" throughout the conference, including the Green and White.
Assuming this season returns to "normal," the Spartans can get back into regular-season form without the outside interruption COVID-19 introduced.
Mel Tucker's true test begins this fall.
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