Spartans Ranked No. 15 in Final Associated Press Poll
Dantonio ties school record with his seventh AP Top 25 finish; Spartans also finish No. 16 in the Amway Coaches Poll.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State, which finished the 2017 season with a 10-3 record and a victory in the Holiday Bowl over Washington State, is ranked No. 15 in the final Associated Press Poll and No. 16 in the final Amway Coaches Poll, released Tuesday, Jan. 9. MSU’s seven-game win improvement from last season established a school record for the biggest turnaround in program history.
This marks the seventh time Michigan State has finished in the national rankings under head coach Mark Dantonio, who is now tied with legendary Hall of Fame Coach Duffy Daugherty for the most AP Top 25 finishes in school history. It’s also the 26th time overall the Spartans have finished in the AP Top 25. Dantonio has led Michigan State to Top 25 finishes in seven of his 11 seasons (2008: No. 24 in both polls; 2010: No. 14 in both polls; 2011: No. 10 Coaches/No. 11 AP; 2013: No. 3 in both polls; 2014: No. 5 in both polls; 2015: No. 6 in both polls; and 2017: No. 15 AP/No. 16 Coaches).
“Our program has established itself,” said Dantonio, who coached one of the youngest teams in the nation in 2017 with nearly 80 underclassmen on the roster while finishing ranked in the polls for the seventh time in the past 10 years. “We will continue to build upon our past success and we’re looking forward to the new challenges of the upcoming season. We have an outstanding football team coming back and we’re extremely excited about the future of Spartan football in 2018. Go Green.”
For the fourth time in his career, Dantonio was named a semifinalist for the George Munger Coach of the Year Award in 2017. The Spartans recorded double-digit wins for just the eighth time in school history – and the sixth time under Dantonio – after thrashing No. 18 Washington State in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, 42-17, for their 10th win of the season. MSU also defeated two AP Top 10 teams (No. 7 Michigan on Oct. 7; No. 7 Penn State on Nov. 4) and finished 7-2 in Big Ten play, tied for second in the East Division standings. According to the NCAA, the Spartans played the 13th toughest schedule in the Football Bowl Subdivision, as their opponents had a combined record of 86-59 (.593).
Dantonio won his 100th game as head coach at Michigan State with the victory in the Holiday Bowl and is one of just eight active FBS coaches to own at least 100 victories at his current school. He is 100-45 overall in 11 seasons at Michigan State. The second-winningest coach in school history, Dantonio also extended his school record by winning his fifth bowl game (5-5 in bowl games at MSU). He is nine victories shy from tying Daugherty, who coached at MSU from 1954-72, for the most wins in school history (109).
Michigan State is in the midst of its winningest decade in school history based on total wins, as the Spartans are 78-28 (.736) since the beginning of the 2010 season. During that span, MSU has won five bowl games (2012 Outback, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings, 2014 Rose, 2015 Cotton, 2017 Holiday), three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015) and three Big Ten Division titles (2011, 2013, 2015). MSU’s .736 winning percentage this decade is second best in school history (.766 in 1950s). The Spartans’ 78 victories since 2010 rank tied for 10th most in the FBS, and the 49 wins since 2013 are tied for ninth most.
Michigan State's 2018 season opener is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 31 vs. Utah State in Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are featured in several way-too-early Top 25 rankings for the upcoming season, including No. 5 by CBS Sports, No. 9 by ESPN, No. 10 by USA TODAY and Athlon Sports, No. 12 by Sports Illustrated, and No. 16 by Sporting News.