ANN ARBOR – If Michigan and Michigan State want to be successful on the gridiron in 2017 they’ll both have to do it against tough schedules.
Both the Wolverines and Spartans have been pegged by multiple experts to have two of the toughest schedules in all of college football next season. Bleacher Report ranked its top 25 hardest schedules in 2017 with Michigan landing at the top of the list, and Athlon Sports agrees with the Wolverines ranking third on its list.
Greg Wallace of Bleacher Report points out Michigan will not only have a tough non-conference slate but will also have its hands full in Big Ten play.
“The Wolverines begin the season with a neutral-site battle against Florida, winner of the last two SEC East titles, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. On Sept. 16, they welcome Air Force, coming off a 10-3 season, to Michigan Stadium,” Wallace writes, with the Wolverines’ other non-conference match up being against Cincinnati. “Michigan must travel to Big Ten champion Penn State on Oct. 21 and finishes the season with a trip to Wisconsin and the annual rivalry clash with nemesis Ohio State on Nov. 25.”
Michigan State didn’t crack either of these lists but that doesn’t mean it’ll be a walk in the park for the Spartans either.
It won’t be easy for the Spartans as they find themselves at the top CBS Sports list for hardest schedule next season. Tom Fornelli ranked only the top five hardest schedules in 2017 with Michigan State being considered to have the toughest. Fornelli said the Spartans non-conference schedule isn’t incredibly tough — home games against Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Notre Dame — but Big Ten play will prove to be challenging for Michigan State.
“The Spartans not only have to play Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State this season, but only Penn State will be coming to East Lansing,” Fornelli writes on the Spartans, who are coming off a 3-9 season. “Also, five of Michigan State’s Big Ten games will be on the road this season.”