Once upon a team there was a football team. This team had just finished a disappointing season, when it didn't do as well as its fans and coaches expected. But it started the year fresh with a series of fairly easy games at home, which it win. Then it managed to win a couple big ones against serious teams.
Along the way, though, this team had to play a tough team on the road, one with a veteran quarterback and impressive defense. They lost, 37-6.
Around that time there was another foootball team, which had high hopes for the season. This one bulled through the first four teams on its shedule and looked pretty darn good, until it played the first team in our story, that is. On the road. They lost 34-24.
The thing is, though, that despite these disappointing--and emphatic--losses, both of these teams went on to finish 11-1 and share the conference title. Both went to BCS bowl games.
The moral of this story isn't to say we'll finish 11-1 or are a perfect analogue to 2010 MSU or Wisconsin, but rather to show how one loss--however crushing it seems at the time--isn't the end of the world. A win over Purdue at home and another at Iowa and we're back on track to a expectations-beating season.
For the record, neither of those teams is as good as MSU. Let's keep all this in perspective before assuming we're melting down a la 2009/2010, okay? It's still way too early for that.