One down, one to go.
Michigan State finds itself in the midst of its toughest stretch of the season. The Spartans (7-2, 5-1 Big Ten) passed the first test, beating Penn State 27-24 at home on Saturday. Now they head to Ohio Stadium to try to take over the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East title race with a win over Ohio State.
Even before that showdown with the Buckeyes, Michigan State continues to get love from the pollsters. The Spartans landed the No. 16 spot in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 13 in the AP Top 25.
Do they deserve to be within that range when the College Football Playoff releases its new rankings at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday? You be the judge. But there’s not much reason to believe they won’t be. Coach Mark Dantonio’s team has beaten three ranked teams in Iowa, Michigan and Penn State and lost to Notre Dame (No. 3 in the last CFP rankings) and Northwestern (won four in a row).
Even for those who don’t really care where Michigan State ends up on Tuesday night, it must be nice for debate to even be possible. A year ago, this conversation would not have been had. After nine games in 2016, the Spartans had fallen to 2-7.
So often rankings can be based on reputation and speculation. Michigan State reached as high as No. 8 in the nation early last year before collapsing. But the CFP selection committee waits until deep into the season to start releasing its weekly poll, a much more credible look.
And these rankings should give Michigan State as accurate a look as any of where it stands nationally. It’s very unlikely the Spartans will end up in the playoff — no two-loss team has ever made it — but if they keep on rising, they could earn themselves a very attractive bowl bid.
And they could certainly make things tough on the committee. Should they win out and claim the Big Ten title, those voters would have some tough decisions to make. It starts with Ohio State on Saturday. A win there could catapult the Spartans into the top 10.
For now, they will likely come in around No. 15. Not bad for a young team largely counted out before the season had even started.
The post Michigan State projection for College Football Playoff rankings appeared first on Land of 10.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.