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Michigan State Spartans: Linking Loquaciously Ranks 11th In the Polls

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Zach recaps some MSU football and basketball updates

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

First Thing: College GameDay returns to East Lansing.

When No. 3 ranked Maryland arrives at the Breslin Center on Jan. 23, the ESPN televised pregame show will follow suit. It'll be the fourth time GameDay is shot from Michigan State, most recently on Jan. 25, 2014, against Michigan.

Second Thing: Are you ready for some football?!?!

Are you also ready to watch Kirk Cousins get his first playoff start for the Washington Redskins this Sunday?

Because the Green Bay Packers dropped their home finale against the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC North division title last weekend, Aaron Rodgers' journey to his second Super Bowl rings starts at FedEx Field.

Cousins' first playoff experience featured him standing on the sidelines during his rookie year, while watching the Redskins get trounced by the Seattle Seahawks back in 2012.

Starting in every game this season, Cousins finished second all-time in Redskins history with 29 passing touchdowns and a 69.8% completion percentage in a single season.

Third Thing: Two former Spartans reunite in Grand Rapids.

The first time both Branden Dawson and Derrick Nix teamed up as members of the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA D-League, it lasted just a day after Dawson returned to the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the forward is back, and will remain in the west side of the state until Sunday. And for now, the two hope to play on the court simultaneously in the D-League Showcase in Santa Cruz, California, over the weekend.

Fourth Thing: Donnie Corley has made his decision.

Sort of trumps what was said in the 'Crootin Roundup this past Tuesday, as it took just four days for the Detroit King High recruit to know where he'll play at the next level.

It's been reported numerous times that Corley has narrowed it down to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Tennessee. But if Jim Harbaugh or the Volunteers somehow land the Top 25 ranked wide receiver, it'll be a surprise.

Corley is scheduled to verbally commit at the U.S. Army All-American game this Saturday.

Fifth Thing: Say your goodbyes to Jack Conklin.

Conklin, the junior offensive tackle, will forego his senior year and enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Upon announcing his decision, he wrote a letter published on msuspartans.com to thank his coaches, teammates and fans.

The USA Today and Sporting News first-team All-American is projected to be a mid-to-late first rounder. In the latest mock draft conducted by Walter Football, Conklin will stay close to East Lansing and play for the Detroit Lions as the No. 16 overall pick.

Final Thing: Athlon Sports posted a way too early Top 25 list for next season.

And sure enough, if it wasn't obvious, Michigan State has landed in said ranking. But its the No. 11 ranking that might cause some eyebrow raising, being that they're the only College Football Playoff team this year to not reside in the Top 10.

Why? Because of the departures of Connor Cook, Aaron Burbridge, Darien Harris, Lawrence Thomas, Shilique Calhoun and Darien Harris, among others.

Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Tennessee, LSU and Baylor round out the top 10.

Big Ten West division champion Iowa came in at No. 17 after laying an egg in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.