Oh, how perceptions change so quickly in college ball.
After it beat Boise State 17-13 on the Friday night before most of the rest of their peers started the season, Michigan State had a reputation as a powerful and nasty force ready to take that next step forward and go to the Rose Bowl.
Then it got muffled 20-3 at home by Notre Dame. Then it trailed Eastern Michigan at halftime before pulling away for an unremarkable 23-7 win. Then it was outplayed at home by Ohio State in a 17-16 loss.
Saturday, the Spartans went to lowly Indiana and fell behind 17-0. They never led until the 6:35 mark of the fourth quarter, and hung on for a 31-27 victory.
Today's perception of Michigan State as Iowa enters its second week of preparation for its game at MSU Saturday: Nothing special.
The offense was already beat up, with two starting offensive linemen apparently done for the season with injuries. Now, tight end Dion Sims could be out after injuring an ankle against the Hoosiers. Sims leads MSU in catches and receiving yards.
Defense was supposed to be the heart and soul of the team, but Indiana riddled it for 27 first-half points before getting stymied after halftime. The Hoosiers had 256 first-half passing yards.
But here's the rub: It was the week after the Ohio State game, and MSU went to a lifeless stadium against a lightly regarded foe. The Spartans weren't fully awake from the get-go, Indiana clearly was engaged, and that's how things can happen in the sport.
Saturday night, Florida State never got on the throttle at North Carolina State, and fell out of the national-championship picture because of its 17-16 loss.
Michigan State did rally to survive its game Saturday, which tells you that team still has a heartbeat. Now it comes home. Does it agree with the current perception that it's nothing special, or does it build on the comeback win it cobbled together in Bloomington?
If you're Iowa, you're just worried about what the Hawkeyes will look like on Saturday. You have a weekend away from football and three players show up on the Iowa City arrest reports? And one is a captain, senior cornerback Micah Hyde?
I like Hyde. I interviewed him one-on-one for 15 minutes in Chicago in July, and came away more impressed than before he answered my questions. He struck me as smart, well-spoken, and with his ego in check. He's a team captain, and the Hawkeyes don't have dopes or goofballs as team captains.
But even the best and the brightest can do foolish things. Hyde told Iowa City police he "had drunk a vodka/Sprite, a shot and a Bud Light earlier in the night" before his arrest for public intoxication and interference of official acts. That mixture of beverages is a recipe for dumb.
Ah, the siren call of downtown Iowa City. Which is a double entendre if ever there one existed.
You would assume Hyde will be suspended for Saturday's game. The timing isn't exquisite. But college football is nothing if not constantly changing parts.
Last week, TCU starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and was promptly suspended by his coach, Gary Patterson.
That had a direct influence on Iowa State upsetting the Horned Frogs, 37-23. Pachall's replacement, freshman Trevone Boykin, threw three interceptions. Pachall was picked off just once over TCU's first four games.
What also had a direct influence in the result was the way the Cyclones' offense made big plays against the vaunted TCU defense. ISU wide receiver Josh Lenz got a helmet sticker from ESPN's Lou Holtz for catching three touchdown passes and throwing another.
When have you ever heard Holtz talk about Iowa State? Oh yeah, after ISU's win over Oklahoma State last November.
Now the Cyclones are ranked 25th in the coaches' Top 25. That's two spots behind ... TCU. Some perceptions don't change immediately.