MSU Ranked No. 13 in Preseason USA TODAY Coaches Poll
Aug. 2, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State, which has won 11 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history, is ranked No. 13 in the Preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, released Thursday, Aug. 2. It marks MSU's highest preseason ranking in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll since the national newspaper began administering the poll in 1991. In addition, the Spartans have been ranked in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll for a school-record 30 consecutive weeks, dating back to the 2010 season.
Sixth-year head coach Mark Dantonio welcomes back 15 starters from last year's 11-3 team, including five on offense, eight on defense and two specialists.
Thanks to its 33-30 triple-overtime victory over Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, Michigan State moved up three positions to No. 10 in the final USA TODAY Coaches Poll. It marked the MSU's third Top 10 finish in the history of the USA TODAY Coaches Poll and its first since 1999 (No. 7 with a 10-2 record). It also marked the third time in the last four years that MSU has appeared in the final poll, as the Spartans were ranked No. 24 at the conclusion of the 2008 season and No. 14 in 2010.
The Spartans have won more Big Ten games (24) over the last four years than any other conference team, including a 14-2 mark the past two seasons that included the 2010 Big Ten Championship and the 2011 Big Ten Legends Division title. In addition, Michigan State's 22 wins since the beginning of the 2010 season are the highest two-year total in program history and ties for seventh most among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Teams during that same period.
Five of MSU's 2012 opponents are ranked in the Preseason USA TODAY Coaches Poll: No. 8 Michigan, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 16 Nebraska, No. 22 Boise State and No. 24 Notre Dame.
"I'm interested in the bottom line - what's our end result," junior linebacker Max Bullough said. "I saw some threads on Twitter about the release of the coaches preseason poll, and obviously, I don't agree with our ranking, but unless your team is ranked No. 1, I'm sure many players around the country share my feeling. We're focused on our team, so that we can build upon what we've accomplished the last two years. We look forward to proving everyone wrong again."
"The preseason poll definitely provides some motivation, but we all know there are only two polls that matter: the one that comes out at the end of the regular season and the final poll after the bowl games," junior running back Le'Veon Bell said.
Michigan State was ranked No. 17 in last year's Preseason USA TODAY Coaches Poll. The Spartans were also ranked in the USA TODAY Preseason Coaches Poll in 2002 (No. 18), 2000 (No. 22), 1998 (No. 23) and 1991 (No. 22).
The MSU football team reports to campus Friday at 12 p.m. for physicals, compliance and academic meetings as well as a media workshop. The Spartans open preseason practice Saturday afternoon.
Michigan State's 2012 season and home opener is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 31 against No. 22 Boise State, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. on ESPN.
PRESEASON USA TODAY COACHES POLL TOP 25
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