What impact does whether MSU beats TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl have on the program?

The rhetoric surrounding a the importance of a second- or third-tier bowl game usually involves the following:

– Recruiting, in terms of what it allows with on-campus visits during bowl-game prep, as well as ability to sell the program as on solid footing.

– Perception, both within and outside the program.

– Carryover to next season, from positive vibe and extra practices.

– And, in this case, the chance at a winning record, which can be tied to the aforementioned elements.

What’s unclear is the true impact of playing in a bowl game such as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, in which Michigan State will take part on Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz., against TCU.

How much does it really matter, long-term, that MSU is in this game? And, how significant is winning and losing?

This is not to demean this bowl game or MSU’s opportunity. Bowl games are usually good experiences, for fans, players and others close to the program. Football season is so short and precious to our sports culture, one more chance to see your team play has value regardless of the circumstance.

My question, though, solely involves the usual talking points (which don’t include money, because bowl games beyond the BCS games are rarely profitable for the schools participating).

I think it does matter for recruiting (though an open December allows for more time on the road for coaches). And if it matters for recruiting, then it really matters.

And, in the short-term, whether a team is in a bowl game or not impacts perception, probably more so than the result of the game.

But we’re a society of short memories. For example, consecutive 11-win seasons didn’t spare coach Mark Dantonio or offensive coordinator Dan Roushar much grief from fans this year. That’s OK. This is big business and comes with high emotional stakes for those that follow it.

But, along those lines, a 10-win season next year and whatever happens in Tempe later this month will probably be forgotten. Right?

Similarly, I don’t think there’s much carryover within the program, other than possibly being in a better mood heading into the beginning of offseason workouts.

As I mentioned in Monday’s column, Dantonio pointed out the difference in vibe the last two seasons, based on bowl results. But it was the walloping at the hands of Alabama that then became an 11-win season, while the emotional win over Georgia became, well, this season.

What do you think? How much does playing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl matter for MSU’s program? And how important is it that the Spartans win?

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17 Responses to What impact does whether MSU beats TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl have on the program?

  1. avatar AGSpartanFan says:

    It matters. It matters for perception. For being able to point to six consecutive and counting winning seasons. These kids don’t get to boondoggle all over the country. These trips, 1st, 2nd or 3rd tier, allow for that. Great experiences mean great social media sharing mean great extra pushes to get a recruit off the fence.

    The luster of the Jan 1 date has diminished with so many bowls that day and the BCS spread out, so playing Dec 29 v. Jan 1(unless in the Rose, MAYBE Cap One and Outback) doesn’t matter anyway.

    This is important for reps, position change experiments and building for the future.

  2. avatar MSUDersh says:

    I agree that it does matter. You play to win the games – just ask Herman Edwards. It might be a low profile bowl, but it’s a bowl. It’s a free trip for the kids to go to AZ, and I have a feeling that most of the guys on the roster have never been there.

    It’s a chance for them to be pampered, treated like rock stars, and line up against a team that MSU hasn’t faced in the better part of a century.

    And it’s another trophy in the case, and notch in the belt of the coaching staff. It may be a small notch, but it counts.

  3. avatar MAB says:

    I agree with the two above posters. Win or lose, it does matter mostly because of the extra practice time and the extension of Dantonio’s bowl streak. It at least shows that even down years at MSU still result in bowl games. Does a win or loss change perceptions? Probably not, unless its a blowout either way. I think what could be very important this year is if Maxwell and the receivers look sharp after the extra practices. Still holding out hope for that.

  4. avatar Trophy says:

    The bowl games are a great reward for the players, and a great party opportunity for the fans. The team gets to travel to a nice location and have some fun. Life can’t be all work, need some R&R to keep it fresh.

  5. avatar NAZSpartan says:

    For those of us in AZ, this bowl is the silver lining to an otherwise disappointing season.

  6. avatar MLM89 says:

    Priorities for this bowl game:
    1 – No significant injuries.
    2 – Put up at least 24 points and 400 total yards by the offense just to give the offense a good mindset going into spring.
    3 – Win (which should happen if # 2 happens).

  7. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    With Apology’s to the intellectual property of the Animals
    There is a house in Fayetteville
    They call the Rising Bum
    And it’s been the ruin of many a poor coach
    And God Brett knows he’s one

    Brett’s predecessor was a failure
    He screwed up special teams
    JLS predecessor was a gamblin’ man
    Facedown in Volleyball Queens

    Now the only thing that Brett Bilema needs
    Is a suitcase and a trunk
    And the only time he’s satisfied
    Is when he’s on a drunk

    [Organmonkey Solo with JLS tapdance]

    Oh Frank Broyles tell your children
    Not to do what John L Smith has done
    Spend your millions in sin and bankruptcy
    In the House of the Rising Bum

    Well, Brett’s got one foot on the presser platform
    The other foot on a plane
    He is goin’ back to Fayetteville
    To wear that SEC West ball and chain

    There is a house in Fayetteville
    They call the Rising Bum
    And it’s been the ruin of many a poor coach
    And God Brett knows he’s one

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      Brett baby couldn’t resist when they offered him his own volleyball queen. He’s been face down in a lot of things but not that.

  8. avatar Drew says:

    Nowhere near as important as the costumes, er I mean uniforms.

  9. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    I’m glad the Wiscy coach is out of the B1G. He was an idiot.

    Back to whether the BWW Bowl matters. Yes. It matters alot that they pulled together and made the Bowl.

    Winning is less important than playing well. If they play weel on both sides of the ball and lose a game lake last year’s BT Championship, then I think we will all feel better going into next year. This year the offense hasn’t only played poorly, they have looked bad doing it. This is a good chance for Maxwell to show how much he wants it.

  10. avatar GreenGuy says:

    I’d say there is great validitiy in all of the “usual talking points” that GC references: perception, recruiting, potential momentum for the following season. BTW – as great as that Outback Bowl wins was – and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and good fortune to see that game in person with my wife and daughters – we all knew that the new players at QB and WR would drop the offense a notch or two. Still, I feel like Dantonio has finally recognized the need to diversify his offense with his “change with the times” comments. How radical is it to design and use some simple roll out pass/run stuff for Maxwell?

    I’d say the real value is the extra 15 practices – usually described as “an additional Spring practice”. Player position changes (Kerrick has already moved to DB, what do they do with LT, Caesar etc.?) are an added bonus. For MSU, the extra development time of the OL 2-deep is probably the most critical opportunity.

    As an aside: I will not be able to go to the BWW Bowl this year (family situation and distance/cost), but would love to support a Spartan Nation effort to purchase tickets contributed to a local Phoenix youth organization…we have done that in the past quite successfully. Graham – if you hear of such an effort, please report on it.

    • avatar MSUDersh says:

      Kerrick moved to DB? I hadn’t seen anything about that, but it makes sense considering the glut of young talent we have in EL & coming shortly. And I suppose this makes it an even offense-defense trade, with Lippett being a full time WR now.

  11. avatar ceguru92 says:

    It matters a good deal. Winning a second consecutive bowl game can help erase any lingering S.O.S. inside the program and , to a lesser extent outside of it. There’s a legit question right now as to which was the anomaly; back-to-back 11 win seasons or going 6-6 and losing five games that could have easily gone the other way. Looking at the schedule, 10 wins in each of the next two seasons isn’t far-fetched, especially for a veteran team with some self-confidence. A win in a bowl, even a second-tier bowl against a less-than-sexy opponent is a step in the right direction.

  12. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    I agree, an invitation to a non-BCS or a bowl after Christmas is a positive for the any AQ program. All participating teams benefit from additional practices, the program gets more TV exposure for recruiting and the school enrollment. The players are rewarded for not quitting and the fans get to watch our Spartans play one more game in a precious and finite schedule of 14 days a year for most.

    As we witnessed, a bowl win does NOT necessarily create momentum and have a positive impact on the team for the upcoming season. It may reinforce good habits among the returning players, but doesn’t guarantee anything.

    If MSU wins the BWW bowl, I’ll feel good for awhile, probably longer if the team looks to have improved in many areas. IMO a win shouldn’t create unrealistic expectations for the following season by the media or the fans. Things change from year to year, and we as fans know very little about the dynamics within the team that made the previous years team really good or average.

  13. avatar MAB says:

    Mayo’s comment made me think of another bonus that can come with a bowl game. Any bowl game (other than the Little Ceasar’s Bowl) allows MSU to play a game in a different part of the country, which can help recruiting, especially when they play in the Florida bowl games. If I remember correctly, Notre Dame used its Hawaii Bowl appearance a few years back to heavily recruit Manti Teo. That certainly proved to be a big upside for a bowl game for a 6-6 team that year. Not saying that the BWW Bowl will land MSU some future star from Arizona, but bowl games every year at least make this type of situation more likely.

  14. avatar Robert Wallace says:

    Msu is ranked 10th from the bottom in NCAA division passing efficiency
    And while he’s a nice guy or qb can’t run and he can’t pass
    Next year either a new qb AND coordinator OR more of the same old

  15. avatar Come on eh says:

    Couch on fire

    First- good post. Second, Yes it does matter. I believe once you are at a bowl below a BCS, most bowls are the same in terms of perception. But even better if you win that bowl its better in preception AND adds team confidence. For example I think we will be ‘better off’ if we win our bowl and say the clowns from “Ann Arbor the whore” loses her bowl.

    My issue is that this program needs to stay ahead of the curve even if it means canning an OC or sitting a QB for a half. I pay too much money to ‘hope’ roushar can tend to his flock.

    Simple math people happens in business all the time.

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