Looks like Sports Illustrated considers Michigan State one of the top 25 for the 2018 football season, after all.
SI's Joan Niesen says the Spartans' omission from the publication's "Way-Too-Early" Top 25 rankings was a simply mistake, and actually had to do with MSU's rival, Michigan.
In shuffling Michigan around (I wanted it ranked lower than everyone else did),," Niesen tweeted, "somehow Michigan State lost its spot."
Not anymore. Michigan State is No. 12 in the rankings, while Michigan was bumped from No. 22 to No. 23.
"The 2017 season was enough to prove 2016 was an aberration in East Lansing," Niesen writes. "Between quarterback Brian Lewerke’s continued development and the slew of returning starters, including leading rusher LJ Scott, things look good for the Spartans."
The Spartans went 10-3 in 2017, capped by a dominant victory over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl and a ranking of No. 15 in the final Associated Press poll.
Michigan, meanwhile, finished 8-5, including an Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina, but returns plenty of starters, too, and figures to get a boost from Ole Miss transfer quarterback Shea Patterson, if he's ruled immediately eligible.
"This was one of the tougher rankings to assign," Niesen writes, "and it depends a lot on the eligibility of Shea Patterson. Should the Ole Miss transfer play in 2018, Michigan might be a top-15 team, but that’s still uncertain.”
SI’s top five are Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Auburn.
By the way, the team that lost its spot in SI's Top 25 with MSU's inclusion in the updated rankings? Big Ten mate Northwestern, which had a strong argument it deserved a better bowl fate than Michigan State and Michigan after a 9-3 regular season that included a triple-overtime victory over the Spartans. Instead, it landed in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn, where it defeated Kentucky.
Looks like the Wildcats got bumped again.