Yes, a playoff would be better. The BCS system is what we have right now though, and in the first rankings Michigan State is 16th. The Big Ten has been represented well -- Illinois at 24, Penn State at 21, Michigan at 18, Nebraska at 13, and Wisconsin pacing the Big Ten at the six spot. I thought the Badgers would be higher, but I guess the soft nonconference schedule really hurt.
What does this mean for Michigan State that you didn't already know (e.g. they're not getting anywhere near the title game without half the SEC contracting leprosy)? Well, 16th puts them in a pretty good position to make a BCS game, assuming they win out (big assumption), or suffer only one more loss on the schedule (doable, but still unlikely).
Still, it's nice to have the Spartans back up in the top 25, even if they're not in the top ten like they were last year. The system is horribly flawed, but it's all we got, so go State, and hopefully enough carnage happens in the next few weeks that can push MSU higher.
P.S. SB Nation has the entire BCS standings hyuh; LSU and Alabama are 1-2.