January 17, 2022

Takeaways from Michigan State football’s new 2022 schedule – MLive.com

A Big Ten football schedule release at noon on a Wednesday in January?

Well, there were three different versions of the 2020 schedule due to the pandemic so an update more than seven months before the games start isn’t that ridiculous anymore.

Check out Michigan State football’s revised 2022 schedule

The Big Ten on Wednesday announced new schedules for the 2022 season with changes made due to revisions in 2020.

Michigan State’s nonconference schedule remains the same with home dates against Western Michigan and Akron to start the season, followed by a trip to Washington. The nine-game conference slate features a lot of changes with a different date or location every week, except for a Nov. 12 game against Rutgers in East Lansing.

Here are takeaways from Michigan State’s new schedule:

Big Ten opener tough but not as daunting

The previous schedule featured Michigan State hosting Ohio State in the conference opener on Sept. 24 – a week after traveling to the West Coast to close nonconference play at Washington. That would have been a very difficult back-to-back with the latter shaping the Spartans’ conference title hopes before the first month of the season even ended. The Spartans now host the Golden Gophers to open Big Ten play.

Michigan State – like almost every other program in the nation – hasn’t had much success against Ohio State in recent years. The Buckeyes have won six straight in the series and the last five by a margin of 216-38, including 56-7 this season.

In five seasons at Minnesota, coach P.J. Fleck has compiled a 35-23 record and is coming off a 9-4 campaign, so it won’t be an easy Big Ten opener for the Spartans. Michigan State has won five straight against the Golden Gophers but they haven’t played since a 30-27 victory for the Spartans in Minneapolis in 2017.

Return to Ann Arbor

The new 2022 schedules feature location changes for six games due to switches made in 2020, including two for Michigan State. The Spartans played at Michigan in both 2019 and 2020 and hosted Indiana both years before hosting the Wolverines and facing the Hoosiers on the road this season. As expected, the locations for the 2022 games for both opponents changed with Michigan State now playing at Michigan on Oct. 29 and hosting Indiana on Nov. 19.

The change will annoy some Michigan State fans but the Spartans hosted the Wolverines in back-to-back seasons in 2013-14 – when conference divisions were realigned – and won both. The new changes worked out well for the Spartans as they upset the Wolverines 27-24 in 2020 with no fans allowed at Michigan Stadium, then rallied for a 37-33 victory in front of a sellout crowd in East Lansing this season.

Michigan State’s bye moved back a week to Oct. 22 but remains the week before facing Michigan. The Wolverines’ bye week is also on Oct. 22 so both teams have extra time to prepare for the rivalry.

Defining October

Michigan State posted a 4-0 record in October this season, capped by the win against Michigan, to improve to 8-0 and keep conference title and College Football Playoff chances alive. The Spartans’ Big Ten title hopes will likely be defined by a difficult October stretch in 2022 against four opponents that posted winning records this season.

Revisiting my Michigan State football preseason predictions

The month begins with a trip to face Maryland on Oct. 1, followed by hosting Ohio State and Wisconsin over the next two weeks, a bye, then a bus ride to Ann Arbor. Michigan State has won four straight against the Terrapins but, in addition to struggling against the Buckeyes, lost its last two games against Wisconsin by lopsided scores. The Badgers rolled to a 38-0 win in Madison in the last matchup in 2019.

Fitting finale

The Land Grant Trophy – the ugliest in all sports – will be on the line in the regular-season finale. Michigan State was previously scheduled to play at Penn State on Oct. 29 but the game was moved to Nov. 26 in State College.

That puts the game back in the final week of the regular season – where it frequently resided since 1993. There have been memorable games in the series in recent years, mostly for Michigan State. The Spartans topped the Nittany Lions on a field goal as time expired in 2017 – after a lightning delay of more than three hours – and won on a final-minute touchdown pass at Penn State the next year. Michigan State pulled out a 30-27 win in the snow on Nov. 27 to snap a two-game skid in the series.

Final grades for Michigan State football’s 2021 season

Penn State remains a challenge but caps what should be a manageable November schedule, following a trip to Illinois and hosting Rutgers and Indiana.

Michigan State football’s 2022 schedule

Sept. 3 vs. Western Michigan

Sept. 10 vs. Akron

Sept. 17 at Washington

Sept. 24 vs. Minnesota

Oct. 1 at Maryland

Oct. 8 vs. Ohio State

Oct. 15 vs. Wisconsin

Oct. 22: Bye

Oct. 29 at Michigan

Nov. 5 at Illinois

Nov. 12 vs. Rutgers

Nov. 19 vs. Indiana

Nov. 26 at Penn State

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Michigan State football finishes in top 10 of national rankings for first time in six years

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Michigan State’s early enrollees arrive this weekend ready to get head start

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