Monday, May 5, 2014
MSU falls, Huskers rise in latest Top 25
By Brian Bennett
With spring practice done throughout the land, colleague Mark Schlabach checks in with his latest preseason Top 25.
There was some notable movement among the Big Ten contingent, including a new league team joining the ranks of the ranked. Michigan State, which checked in at No. 4 in the pre-spring rankings, is now No. 6. While Schlabach offers no explanation for the drop, it appears it's more about other teams moving up in his mind than the Spartans falling off.
Ohio State maintains its previous spot at No. 7, while Schlabach has Wisconsin as the third-highest-ranked Big Ten team. The Badgers, though, fell one spot from No. 14 to No. 15.
Iowa climbs one spot from No. 19 to No. 18, while Nebraska moves into the rankings for the first time at No. 24.
"Coach Bo Pelini's love-hate affair with the Big Red Nation seems to be warm and fuzzy again," Schlabach writes.
Michigan dropped from No. 21 to No. 25 in the new rankings, rounding out the Big Ten contingent.
I haven't been nearly as high on Wisconsin as Schlabach this preseason, as the Badgers just seem to have too many question marks right now (although the schedule beyond the opener is friendly). I thought Nebraska should have been ranked all along and am glad to see the Huskers break in. I'm still not sold on Michigan being a Top 25 team and don't think the Wolverines did much last season to merit a preseason ranking.
If you want another perspective on a preseason Top 25, Football Outsiders' Brian Fremeau also offers his rankings Monday. It's an Insider post, so I won't give too much away, but Fremeau is not quite as high on the Spartans as Schlabach. In fact, Fremeau has a different team winning the Big Ten East Division and has Nebraska lower than many Huskers would like to see in his preseason Big Ten predictions piece.
Long way to go before the start of the season, but with no actual football happening right now, it's fun having some preseason rankings to debate.