Michigan State finishes No. 5 in final AP poll

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — For the second straight season, Michigan State is a top-five team in the nation according to The Associated Press.

After finishing 2013 as the third-ranked team in the nation, the Spartans closed 2014 as the No. 5 team after a 42-41 victory over Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. Michigan State also finished No. 5 in the coaches poll.

It is the first time the Spartans have finished with back-to-back top-10 finishes since the 1965-66 seasons and is the 14th time they have finished in the top 10 in the history of the AP poll.

Michigan State (11-2) finished tied for fifth with Florida State. Ohio State, which won the national championship on Monday, was No. 1 followed by Oregon, TCU and Alabama. Baylor was No. 7 while Wisconsin, at No. 13, was the only other Big Ten team ranked.

The fifth spot was the highest ranking this season for the Spartans, who were No. 8 entering the year before suffering their only two losses to Ohio State and Oregon, the teams that played for the national championship. Michigan State finished with 11 victories for the fourth time in the last five seasons and has won four straight bowl games, adding this season's Cotton Bowl to a string that includes the Outback Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Rose Bowl.

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The Associated Press Top 25

1. Ohio State (59 first-place votes) 14-1

2. Oregon 13-2

3. TCU 12-1

4. Alabama 12-2

5. (tie) Florida State 13-1

5. (tie) Michigan State 11-2

7. Baylor 11-2

8. Georgia Tech 11-3

9. Georgia 10-3

10. UCLA 10-3

11. Mississippi State 10-3

12. Arizona State 10-3

13. Wisconsin 11-3

14. Missouri 11-3

15. Clemson 10-3

16. Boise State 12-2

17. Mississippi 9-4

18. Kansas State 9-4

19. Arizona 10-4

20. Southern Cal 9-4

21. Utah 9-4

22. Auburn 8-5

23. Marshall 13-1

24. Louisville 9-4

25. Memphis 10-3

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 28, Stanford 27, Nebraska 22, Air Force 21, Duke 18, LSU 12, Utah State 11, Arkansas 10, Minnesota 9, Oklahoma 7, Texas A&M 7, Northern Illinois 4, Colorado State 2.

Coaches poll

1. Ohio State (62 first-place votes) 14-1

2. Oregon 13-2

3. TCU 12-1

4. Alabama 12-2

5. Michigan State 11-2

6. Florida State 13-1

7. Georgia Tech 11-3

8. Baylor 11-2

9. Georgia 10-3

10. UCLA 10-3

11. Missouri 11-3

12. Mississippi State 10-3

13. Wisconsin 11-3

14. Arizona State 10-3

15. Clemson 10-3

16. Boise State 12-2

17. Arizona 10-4

18. Kansas State 9-4

19. Mississippi 9-4

20. Utah 9-4

21. Southern Cal 9-4

22. Marshall 13-1

23. Auburn 8-5

24. Louisville 9-4

25. Memphis 10-3

Others receiving votes: Nebraska 79, Air Force 45, Notre Dame 26, Duke 23, Stanford 22, Minnesota 20, Arkansas 18, LSU 13, Utah State 8, Texas A&M 7, Rutgers 4, Oklahoma 3, Washington 3, Oklahoma State 2, Louisiana Tech 1, Navy 1, Northern Illinois 1.