U-M and MSU both ranked high in ‘Very Early’ College Football 2016 rankings

Let’s face it, we cannot get enough ‘rankings’ in our life. Whether it’s a college top 25 poll, or and NFL Power Rankings piece, it seems to catch our attention every time.

Well, Athlon Sports and Life is taking things to a new level. The college football final top 25 will not be announced for at least another week, but AS&L has already released their “Very Early Top 25 Teams for 2016.”

Their rankings have the University of Michigan checking in at No. 7 in their second season under Jim Harbaugh and Michigan State coming in just outside the top 10 at No. 11.

Here is AS&L’s reasoning for each ranking.

#7 Michigan

The Wolverines took a step forward in Jim Harbaugh’s first season, winning double-digit games (10) for the first time since 2011. And despite a few personnel losses, Michigan is positioned for a run at the Big Ten title in 2016. Finding a quarterback to replace Jake Rudock is the No. 1 priority for Harbaugh, but the offense returns leading rusher De’Veon Smith, and the top three receiving options – wide receivers Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh and tight end Jake Butt. New defensive coordinator Don Brown was one of the top assistant hires for 2016 and inherits a group that finished third in the Big Ten in scoring defense (16.4 ppg). The Wolverines are stocked up front and in the secondary, but the linebacking corps loses all three starters from 2015. Michigan’s road schedule in conference play is brutal, as trips to Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State await next season.

#11 Michigan State

Coach Mark Dantonio is losing several key pieces from the 2015 edition that won the Big Ten Championship and earned a playoff spot in the Cotton Bowl against Alabama. While the Spartans are due to take a step back in the win column, Dantonio has this program on solid ground and a quick rebuild is in store. Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry will battle this offseason to replace Connor Cook at quarterback, while Dantonio must find replacements for receiver Aaron Burbridge and center Jack Allen. End Shilique Calhoun and linebacker Darien Harris will be missed on defense, but tackle Malik McDowell is back, and linebacker Ed Davis returns after missing all of 2015 due to injury.

Other Big 10 teams that are listed in the top 25 are as follows:

#4 Ohio State

#17 Iowa

Northwestern and Wisconsin were listed in the “Teams to Watch” section.

What do you think Nation, how accurate do you think these rankings will end up being when the 2016 season rolls around?




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