Michigan State comes into 2023 desperate to reestablish itself as a winning program. The Spartans sputtered to 5-7 last year, a resounding thud following up 2021's 11-2 mark. That, plus the losses of the starting quarterback and top playmaker on offense, has caused faith in head coach Mel Tucker and his program to crater.

The Spartans will be young in several key areas this season, none more prominent than quarterback. That's a challenge for any team, but it's going to especially difficult for MSU given it has one of the toughest schedules in the nation in 2023. But the money being sunk into the program erases any understanding or remorse fans and critics alike may have otherwise offered.

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Tucker is among the 10 highest-paid college football coaches at $9.5 million per year. MSU just renovated its football program, installing state-of-the-art facilities and amenities to the tune of $78 million. State pays both of its coordinators seven figures, which makes places them among the better-compensated top assistants. And MSU has made Chris Kapilovic college football's highest-paid offensive line coach at $1 million per year.

The fanbase is rabid for a rebound season. Earning a postseason is the bare-minimum expectation, but most Spartan fans would be pleased with anything more than seven wins. But is that even possible?

  • 9/1: vs. Central Michigan
  • 9/9: vs. Richmond
  • 9/16:  vs. Washington
  • 9/23: vs. Maryland
  • 9/30: at Iowa
  • 10/14: at Rutgers
  • 10/21: vs. Michigan
  • 10/28: at Minnesota
  • 11/4: vs. Nebraska
  • 11/11: at Ohio State
  • 11/18: at Indiana
  • 11/24: Penn State (at Ford Field in Detroit)

RELATED: The Season Hasn't Even Started Yet and Mel Tucker Is Already Making Excuses

Despite Michigan State's youth and inexperience on offensive, the roster is talented. Tucker has definitely upgraded the program's talent profile, reeling in back-to-back Top 25 recruiting classes nationally. That should start to show up on the field for State in 2023.

You also have to expect MSU to get better injury luck this season. In 2022, the Spartans' offensive line was so banged-up that they struggled to put on a regular practice regiment. Defensively, MSU started 27 different players last season. Better health will improve this team's prospects drastically, even if State has just your average amount of injuries.

Tucker has also rebuilt his defensive front through the transfer portal this offseason. The Spartans are bigger and wider up front, which ought to help their linebackers (which includes Jacoby Windmon, who has moved back to his natural position thanks to the reinforcements up front). And a better front-seven likely will improve the play of MSU's much-maligned secondary.

It's not crazy to think Michigan State is considerably better in 2023. It's also not crazy to think they'll have several painful growing pains.

But there is a path to more than just six wins.

Michigan State's Path to 8 Wins in 2023

Mel Tucker and MSU desperately need to bounce back from a dismal 5-7 season in 2022. Here's how the Spartans could get to eight wins, despite breaking in a new starting quarterback and replacing the team's best offensive weapon.

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