It may come as a surprise that a team that just took the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl, one after the other, is not the top ranked team in their conference, but for the Michigan State Spartans, that is what was revealed on Wednesday.
At least, that's how CBSsports.com national college football writer Dennis Dodd feels about it.
Dodd, who works in Kansas City, chose not to rank the Spartans as the top school in the Big Ten for the upcoming season now that the spring practices and games are over with. Instead, he's given the top spot in the Big Ten to a team that pretty much ran the conference throughout the first decade of the new millennium: the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Nationally, Dodd has the Buckeyes as the No. 2 team, trailing just behind perennial favorite, Alabama. Michigan State ranks No. 7 in the country according to Dodd's list.
Throughout his Top 25 teams for the post-spring, only a handful of Big Ten teams made the cut. Rounding out the list is Wisconsin at No. 15, Nebraska at No. 18, and Iowa at No. 23.
The Spartans' in-state rival in the Michigan Wolverines were not noted in Dodd's Top 25.
In a different list, ESPN.com recently compiled a post-spring "Way-Too-Early" set of rankings and placed Michigan State as the top team in the Big Ten, with a national ranking of No. 6 heading into the fall, followed immediately by Ohio State at No. 7.
The rest of the Big Ten teams on ESPN.com's list include Wisconsin at No. 15, Iowa No. 18, Nebraska No. 24 and Michigan is No. 25.
This is what ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach had to say about Michigan State in the upcoming season:
"The defending Big Ten champions are undergoing a complete overhaul on defense, as coordinator Pat Narduzzi must replace stars like Darqueze Dennard, Max Bullough, Denicos Allen and Isaiah Lewis. The Spartans also lost starting defensive tackles Tyler Hoover and Micajah Reynolds, who were underrated contributors to one of the country's best defenses in 2013. Sophomore Darian Hicks emerged as a potential starter at cornerback during the spring, and junior Taiwan Jones was the No. 1 middle linebacker, where he will have the not-so-envious task of filling Bullough's shoes.
The good news: Quarterback Connor Cook looked to be in complete control of the offense, and tailback Jeremy Langford is back after running for 1,422 yards with 18 touchdowns last season. The Spartans must replace three starters from what was a very good offensive line last season.''
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.