MGoBlog Ranks MSU As Michigan’s 8th Toughest Game, Isn’t Wrong
In a season filled with attrition and lost talent Michigan State has apparently fallen so far down the ladder that their rivals don't even consider them in the top half of their opponent quality rating for next season.
Michigan fan site MGoBlog has ranked the Wolverines' 12 opponents for the 2017 season and Michigan State came in 8th in terms of expected difficulty.
Here's what they have to say about Michigan State this season:
Even putting aside the legitimate, lingering questions about how this program will deal with a disastrous offseason, State has lost a good deal of its top-end talent and will be paper-thin at just about every position that isn't running back. The defense is down five of its top seven tacklers and could still lose its top returning D-lineman after Demetrious Cooper violated the terms of his plea deal. Brian Lewerke will be handed the keys to an offense that returns only one receiver with double-digit catches to his name. The O-line is a mess.
Honestly, MSU is only ranked this high because they'll treat the Michigan game like it's the Super Bowl. This team has significantly less talent and depth than last year's 3-9 squad, and a hopefully improved locker room culture can only go so far to make up for that.
Say what you want about "disrespect" or whatever moniker that MSU will throw at something like this but that is pretty accurate. Michigan State will get up for the Michigan game no matter who is on the field but barring a rash of injuries on the Michigan side the Spartans will be severely outclassed and on the road too.
Here's another way of looking at it, from last season only Rutgers had a worse record than Michigan State at 2-10 and Purdue also finished 2016 at 3-9. MSU is ahead of both of those teams and even a 10 win Air Force team from 2016 according to MGoBlog's rankings. None of those teams had near the tumultuous offseason Michigan State has had losing seven starters and counting through the offseason through various means of attrition. So MSU's ranking being this high is really dependent on the rivalry aspect of the game.
In case you were wondering the seven teams ahead of MSU in order are Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, and Minnesota.