With the college football offseason in full swing, the preseason top-25 polls continue to roll in.
For the Michigan State Spartans, they figure to be among the nation's better teams once again thanks to a stout defense and smash-mouth ground game. However, as we've seen many times in the Mark Dantonio era, the national media is sleeping on MSU before the regular season begins.
At ESPN, Mark Schlabach just put out his updated Way-Too-Early Top 25, and it has the Spartans coming in at No. 16.
16. Michigan State Spartans
2015 record: 12-2, 7-1 Big Ten
Returning starters: 3 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams
Key losses: QB Connor Cook, WR Aaron Burbridge, C Jack Allen, G Donovan Clark, OT Jack Conklin, DE Shilique Calhoun, DT Joel Heath DE Lawrence Thomas, LB Darien Harris
Post-spring outlook: The Spartans have been as steady as any FBS program during the past three seasons, winning two Big Ten championships and 36 games. But Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio faces a major rebuilding job this coming season, having to replace quarterback Connor Cook, a three-year starter, and three starting offensive linemen. Fifth-year senior Tyler O'Connor will finally get his chance to start at quarterback. The offensive line remains in flux, with projected starting left tackle Dennis Finley still making his way back from a broken leg. The back seven of the defense largely remains in place, and sophomore tackle Malik McDowell looks like a budding All-American.
There's no question the Spartans are facing a lot of questions in several key areas next season, but the notion that there are 15 teams better than them is a bit of overkill. I just can't make a case for Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Notre Dame all being better than MSU.
Oh, and then there's Michigan all the way at No. 3. If we're talking about offseason headline-making, Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines definitely deserve that ranking, but that's the only thing they deserve to be ranked that high in.