College football rankings: Michigan State rises in AP Top 25 after fourth straight win

Michigan State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten) once again rose in the national polls after stealing a late 17-9 win from Indiana on Saturday. The Spartans sit at No. 16 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

The Spartans have won four straight games and are one of four teams still undefeated in Big Ten play, along with Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. They are also the four Big Ten teams still ranked in the AP poll after Michigan dropped out following its loss to Penn State.

Previous rankings (AP/Amway Coaches Poll): 18/19

New rankings (AP/Amway Coaches Poll): 16/18

What it means: Michigan State has yet to win a Big Ten game convincingly, with Saturday’s eight-point margin proving to be the widest so far. But the Spartans keep winning, and that’s what matters most to voters.

Coach Mark Dantonio’s team has mustered just 22.7 points per game this year, better than only Rutgers and Illinois in the Big Ten. But the Spartans boast the conference’s best — and the nation’s fourth-best — total defense, allowing 262.3 yards per game.

Michigan State started 4-0 in conference play for the fifth time under Mark Dantonio. Three of the previous four times, the Spartans ultimately won the Big Ten.

What’s next: Michigan State hits the road to face Northwestern on Saturday. ESPN will broadcast the game, which is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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