Michigan State Spartans Football Looking for More Student Support in 2013

By Scott Peceny
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan State Spartans hope they can give fans something to cheer about in 2013. As the Spartans begin spring practice and look ahead to this season, they hope to improve upon a disappointing 7-6 record from last year.

Maybe it was the poor football, or the cold weather, or the departure of Kirk Cousins that kept students away from Spartan Stadium in 2012, but one thing’s for sure: student attendance wasn’t on par with the Big 10’s best schools.

Take a look around at the Big 10, and you’ll find that the best programs and the best student sections go hand-in-hand. Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State all come to mind when I think of the conference’s top student fans.  Call it coincidence, but these programs are historically some of the best in all of college football.

Michigan State’s student fans have their moments, but overall were disappointing in 2012.

Believe me, I was one. As a guy who stood in the student section through sunshine and rain, good times and bad, I can tell you that MSU’s student section leaves a lot to be desired.

Sure, the house was packed for Notre Dame and Ohio State, but a look at a few other games will show you the truth: by the fourth quarter, the place looked pretty sparse.

The game that most displayed the student section’s shortcomings was against the Iowa Hawkeyes. I got to the game just about at kickoff, and ended up standing probably 40 rows up. By the end of the game, my friends and I had seats practically on the field, which were perfect for watching Iowa score the game-tying touchdown with under a minute left. Two overtimes later, the Hawkeyes emerged with a 19-16 victory.

So many students had vacated their seats by the end of the game, head coach Mark Dantonio elected to defend the north end zone in overtime. The students sit in the south end of the stadium.

This may not sound like it means anything, but on defense, the noisier the better. It makes things harder for the offense to communicate and audible. A team will want to defend the end zone that is the loudest, which in theory should be where your students sit.

For the Spartans, this obviously wasn’t true.

Michigan State has some fantastic student fans. I’ve heard of people lining up hours or even days before games to get the best seats in the first-come, first-serve student section.

But there are still too many fair weather fans that hinder the atmosphere in Spartan Stadium. The student fans show up in 2013 and try to breathe life into their team.

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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