Michigan State Football 2022 Season Prediction, Preview, Awards, Bowl Game 2022
Mel Tucker has Michigan State Football in a great place, but how seriously can the Spartans compete in the Big Ten in the 2022 season?
It was a quick turnaround for Mel Tucker at the helm of Michigan State Football in the two years that he led the program. After a 2-5 season in 2020, the Spartans found their mojo last year to post double-digit wins and a top-10 finish on the AP Top 25.
What’s next in East Lansing? There are some big departures for Tucker to deal with now, but he’s hit the transfer portal hard and is looking for Sparty to become a consistent force under his well-compensated guard.
Arrives at #18 FanSided’s Preseason Top 50 RankingMichigan State Spartans!
Michigan State Football Season 2021 in Recap
While the early part of Michigan State’s 2021 schedule wasn’t particularly trying, the Spartans made a habit of notching up impressive victories from behind running back Kenneth Walker III’s extremely capable legs, including a convincing early win over Miami and one eventual tee off CFP participant and rival Michigan in East Lansing.
This propelled the Spartans to No. 3 on the AP Top 25 and had a legitimate shot at a place in the College Football Playoffs. Unfortunately, the Spoilermakers from Purdue did what they’re always supposed to do, clipping MSU in West Lafayette before the Spartans also lost to Ohio State in Columbus two weeks later.
It ended positively for Tucker and his team, however, as they ended the regular season by beating Penn State to secure a berth in the Peach Bowl, a game in which they defeated the mighty Pitt to end the year with an impressive 11th overall to finish -2, a nine-win turnaround from Tucker’s freshman season (although they only played watched games in 2020).
Michigan State Spartans offense preview for the 2022 season
- Returners (5): QB Payton Thorne, WR Jayden Reed, WR Tre Mosley, LT Jarrett Horst, LG JD Duplain
- Newcomers: RB Jarek Broussard (Colorado), OG Brian Greene (Washington State), TE Daniel Barker (Illinois), RB Jalen Berger (Wisconsin), 4-Star WR Germie Bernard, 4-Star WR
Antonio Gates Jr.,
- striker: Jarek Broussard
While Payton Thorne returns as quarterback in hopes of making a step forward in 2021 after an up-and-down campaign, he will be without his two greatest weapons from a year ago as both Kenneth Walker III and All-World Both running back and wide receiver Jalen are absent. Nailor has now left for the NFL.
Much like Tucker did to bring Walker into the program, however, he visited the transfer portal and found not one, but two great options to be the answer in the backfield. Jarek Broussard has found great success in Colorado but has been fickle, due in part to the lack of talent around him on the Buffs offense. In this system he could potentially thrive. And Jalen Berger, spelling it, makes for a powerful 1-2 punch.
Although Nailor is gone, Jayden Reed was a nice cast last season who seems poised to seamlessly fill the WR1 role. Additionally, Tre Mosley has also produced decently up to this point and there’s depth including 4-star wideouts Germie Bernard and Antonio Gates Jr. And if that wasn’t enough, Illinois transfer Daniel Barker is a sleeper to one being a breakout player that offense.
The offensive line only brings back two starters, which is a little concerning, but there are bodies in the building that the team seems confident of maintaining a stable front in the trenches.
Michigan State Spartans defense preview for the 2022 season
- Returners (6): DT Jacob Slade, DT Simeon Barrow, LB Cal Halladay, NB Darius Snow, S Xavier Henderson, S Angelo Grose
- Newcomers: DE Khris Bogle (Florida), CB Ameer Speed (Georgia), LB Jacoby Windmon (UNLV), LB Aaron Brule (Mississippi State), 4-star CB Jaden Mangham, 4-star CB Dillon Tatum, 4-star -DL Alex VanSumeren
- striker: Ameer speed
There’s no question that Xavier Henderson is the best player on Sparty defense, but Michigan State will be relying heavily on Ameer Speed, who moves to Georgia, to rebuild cornerback space this season and be a big factor becomes. Extremely athletic and with SEC pedigree, he’ll be great for figuring out cornerback space.
That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Tucker is using the transfer portal so heavily throughout defense to fill in holes given the success he’s had there and the fact that he’s done the same on offense. In addition to Speed, Jacoby Windmon and Aaron Brule are the most notable, both of whom come to East Lansing with a wealth of experience and, together with Cal Halladay, are trying to maintain a good place in this group.
Looking at the defensive line, this group needs to replace both ends but should be in a good position both in terms of new starters Khris Bogle and Jeff Pietrowski and the depth of quality behind them.
Michigan State Football Players Awards clock for the 2022 season
There are a few Spartans players who made the awards watchlists last preseason, but these three nominees stood out from the crowd in their respective categories.
Xavier Henderson, Nagurski/Jim Thorpe/Bednarik
As previously mentioned, Henderson is arguably the heartbeat of defense, so it’s no surprise he’s being sought out for multiple awards that basically reflect that. When Michigan State stays strong on this side of the ball, Henderson gets a lot of credit, and he deserves serious consideration for each of those trophies.
Jarek Broussard, Doak Walker
There’s a chance that I rate Broussard’s potential higher than some people, and also that I’m unconsciously quick to compare him to Kenneth Walker III. But I loved the raw talent in the Pac-12 and think the move to a better offense with better overall coaching will see him have a great year. The Doak Walker Award will be hotly contested, but Broussard could be a dark horse.
Jayden Reed, Biletnikoff/Paul Hornung/Maxwell
Reed takes on the role of the team’s best pass catcher, but he’s used all over the field, which actually works in his favor. This offense will just want to get the ball in the playmaker’s hands, so Reed will be making waves for the Spartans this season.
Michigan State Football Biggest Game on 2022 Schedule
It will be difficult for the Spartans to repeat an 11-win season with the schedule they have. A trip to Seattle to play Washington to finish the non-conference list could be difficult, and then a Big Ten opener against Minnesota and in Maryland won’t be a cakewalk. That leads to a matchup at home against Ohio State. However, it’s the game after the Buckeyes encounter that could be most critical.
Even if Michigan State finds their groove early, I don’t see them taking on OSU. But the following week on October 15th is the home game against Wisconsin before their open week and then their trip to Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin will be a major threat to the Big Ten this season as they reestablish their identity, an identity that could cause some trouble for this Spartan defense given the MSU staff. Additionally, between Ohio State and Michigan games, it’s a tricky spot for this game. In order not to run the risk of losing three straight games in the conference, this game will be a real moment of gut control for Tucker and his team.
Best case scenario for Michigan State Football
The best-case scenario for the Spartans depends heavily on how they fare from September 17th to October 29th. Michigan State opens the season against Western Michigan and Akron before ending with Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana and Penn State. The Nittany Lions might be boisterous in the season finale, but other than that it feels like five sure wins and one more they should win.
But this midseason, they’re in Washington against Minnesota, in Maryland, against Ohio State, against Wisconsin and in Michigan. This is an absolutely brutal run through the Big Ten with a Pac-12 topper.
If we’re talking about the ideal scenario for Sparty, with Broussard picking up where Walker III left off and the defense picking up a foothold early, this team should do the business against the Huskies, Golden Gophers, and Terps. Again, I don’t think they’ll get past Ohio State, but they could go toe-to-toe in a grueling affair with Wisconsin and take them and the Wolverines have owned for the last several years.
Consequently, it’s not too crazy to think that with the right breaks for their roster, Michigan State can end the regular season 11-1 but still be 8-1 in the conference outside of the Big Ten Championship Game (thanks, Ryan Day).
Michigan State Football Worst Case Scenario
Here’s the part Michigan State fans don’t want to hear: There’s a world where things are going sideways for the Spartans this midseason.
Washington isn’t as talented as MSU, but if the Spartans’ offense is slow to find their mojo with the new staff, it’s a game Kalen DeBoer could beat Tucker in. And if this offensive is struggling at this point, it’s raising concerns against an experienced Minnesota team and an explosive Maryland offense. I don’t think Tucker will let his team lose both games, but losing one is plausible if Sparty is stuck on the runway.
That would put Michigan State 3-2 into that brutal three-game stretch and make it hard to believe they could get out of that run with just a single win, dropping them to 3-5. The silver lining is that they will recover to get up to 6-5 before taking on Penn State. That should be enough of a confidence boost to put the Spartans past the Nittany Lions, but a 7-5 season still isn’t what fans are hoping for.
Michigan State Football Season 2022 Prediction
Considering they’re ranked 18th in the FanSided Top 50, I obviously adore the Spartans and how they’ve reloaded in the portal, so I don’t think we’re looking at anything in this seven-win season range.
My gut tells me this team will lose a game to Washington, Minnesota or Maryland early in the season before losing to Ohio State. And I’m not convinced they have the defenses to smother a deadly attack on Wisconsin. But I believe they can win Michigan again to start a winning streak that will last through the end of the regular season.
That would mean Michigan State Football 9-3 overall in the regular season and either 7-2 or 6-3 in the Big Ten. It’s not fighting for the conference title, but it does give Tucker a chance to compile back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins at East Lansing if they can pull off another bowl win.
Michigan State Football 2022 Bowl Game Prediction
flirting with a big bowl game, College Football News the Spartans are scheduled to play the Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 2 at the Tampa Bay Bowl.
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