It's much easier to predict Big Ten bowl ticket sales than the outcome of the games themselves. Michigan State isn't the only Big Ten school struggling to sell tickets. The Spartans are around the 2,000 mark for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and it won't get a whole lot better than that. People who are going to attend have already decided.
Elsewhere, Michigan has sold about 6,500 for the Outback Bowl in Tampa against South Carolina. Nebraska says it is at 3,800 for the Capital One Bowl in Orlando against Georgia. How about Minnesota, some 350 tickets sold for its game in Houston; Purdue about 2,500 sold for its game in Dallas. These are tough sells. Wisconsin isn't close to selling its Rose Bowl allotment.
I see major reform coming in the current negotiations between the Big Ten and its bowl alignment because too many empty seats are cause for alarm and econimic stress. Stay tuned.