Sporting News ranks Michigan State football No. 14, Michigan No. 17 over last decade

The Detroit News

The Michigan football team has won the last two meetings with Michigan State. The Spartans, though, have won the decade.

That's according to The Sporting News, which on Friday ranked its top 25 programs of the decade. Michigan State checks in at No. 14, while Michigan is No. 17.

Brian Lewerke (14) and Michigan State defeated Michigan in 2018 in Ann Arbor.

Writer Bill Bender says that's the result of a points system the Sporting News used to determine the rankings that also can be found here.

The Spartans are coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons, but won at least 11 games in five of six seasons from 2010-2015. That run included three Big Ten titles and a College Football Playoff appearance.

"The Spartans were more of a power in the front half of the 2010s under Mark Dantonio," Bender writes, "and that peaked with a College Football Playoff appearance in 2015. Michigan State's challenge in the next decade will be dealing with Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. Dantonio had a .500 record against those schools. How will Mel Tucker fare?"

Michigan, meanwhile, has won 10 games in three of Jim Harbaugh's five seasons in Ann Arbor, but its Big Ten title drought stretches to 2004.

"The Wolverines were 38-26 over five seasons before Jim Harbaugh arrived," Bender writes. "He's 47-18 since, which has pushed the program on an upward trajectory back toward playoff contention. Michigan isn't overrated or underrated. It's stuck in perpetual playoff purgatory because Ohio State's shadow looms over the program. Michigan has not won the Big Ten championship since 2004, and the Buckeyes are the biggest reason why."

In head to head meetings since 2010, Michigan State owns a 6-4 advantage, but has lost three of the last four.

Alabama topped Sporting News' rankings.