By Dan Jenkins

(97.1 The Ticket) — It seems like every year after a champion is crowned it doesn’t take long for everyone to begin looking toward the next season. Rankings are even given out for the following season months before teams even begin to think about training camp.

Well, the college football season is just about upon us and pretty soon there will be rankings galore. ESPN released its conference-by-conference rankings on Monday, and their Big Ten poll may surprise you.

Defending conference and Rose Bowl champs, the Michigan State Spartans, came in at second place behind the Ohio State Buckeyes. Here’s their reasoning:

“The Spartans nearly earned the pole position after a Rose Bowl victory that followed 12 regular-season wins, all by 10 points or more. QB Connor Cook, RB Jeremy Langford and the wideouts are underrated, and the defense, while rebuilt, will be traditionally stout.”

The list reasoned that because the Buckeyes have the “conference’s best quarterback and most accomplished coach” that they should be worthy of the conference’s top spot.

The Wolverines, on the other hand, have worse news. Brady Hoke’s squad placed in sixth — behind OSU, MSU, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa. Ouch.

“Talent is not the problem for the Wolverines. It’s everywhere on this roster, headlined by WR Devin Funchess and LB Jake Ryan. The hope is that new coordinator Doug Nussmeier finds a way to build a stout running game so QB Devin Gardner has room to operate.”

Newly added to the conference, Maryland and Rutgers debuted at No. 9 and No. 13, respectively.

What do you think about ESPN’s rankings? Fair or unfair? Let us know in the poll below.


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