Michigan No. 7, Michigan State No. 23 in Sports Illustrated post-spring football top 25

The Detroit News
Michigan is ranked No. 7, and Michigan State is No. 23 in Sports Illustrated's post-spring college football top 25.

Michigan has been a staple in the top 10 of several "post-spring" college football rankings, and it's no different with Sports Illustrated, which ranks the Wolverines at No. 7.

That's slightly better than CBS Sports and the Sporting News, which listed Michigan at No. 9 in their post-spring rankings posted earlier this week.

"It still remains to be seen whether Jim Harbaugh can fully pass off control of the offense to one of his assistants," Scooby Axson of Sports Illustrated writes, "but the hiring of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and the emphasis on speed-in-space sounds like a step in the right direction.

"Among the issues the Wolverines have going into fall practice is settling the running back rotation; there are plenty of returning starters elsewhere on offense, which should set a high ceiling for quarterback Shea Patterson. Christian Turner, Tru Wilson and Zach Charbonnet will be sharing carries if projected starter Chris Evans doesn’t return from his academics-related spring suspension."

Sneaking into SI's top 25 is Michigan State, which was left out of other post-spring rankings, such as those offered by CBS Sports, Sporting News and USA TODAY, to name a few.

The Spartans are No.. 23, thanks to a "stout" defense and the presumed return to health of quarterback Brian Lewerke.

"The Spartans’ summer optimism will be dictated by the health of two players: quarterback Brian Lewerke, who struggled mightily through a shoulder injury at the end of last year, and defensive lineman Kenny Willekes, who broke his leg in the Redbox Bowl. The defense is expected to be stout again, but the offense needs vast improvement under new coordinator Brad Salem. Michigan State’s running game, which ranked next to last in the Big Ten, will be a primary camp concern."

Michigan, coming off a 10-3 season — its third in four seasons under Harbaugh — opens its season Aug. 31 at home against Middle Tennessee State. Michigan State, coming off a 7-6 season, opens its season Aug. 30 at home against Tulsa.