Final record: 11-2
Postseason: Peach Bowl win over Pitt
Surprised to see Mel Tucker’s 2021 team on this list? You shouldn’t be; the Spartans were that good last year. Yes, Michigan State in year two of Tucker cracked the top five teams since 2000 which shouldn’t be a huge shock since it was the first New Year’s Six bowl win since 2014 and first 11-win season since 2015.
And it didn’t feel like a fluke, either.
Kenneth Walker III won the school’s first-ever Doak Walker Award, Payton Thorne broke some passing records, Jayden Reed was an All-Big Ten receiver, and Michigan State beat teams like Michigan, Miami, Pitt, and Penn State en route to the 11-2 season and the Peach Bowl victory was impressive given that Walker III sat out — although Kenny Pickett also sat out.
This team was good enough to win every game outside of Ohio State and probably should have never slipped up against Purdue. This team was one game away from making the Big Ten title game.