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Athlon Sports predicts Big Ten East standings in 2022

After a third-place finish in 2021, can Michigan State climb the ladder in one of the toughest divisions in college football?

Michigan State football is on a steep, upward trajectory entering Year 3 under head coach Mel Tucker. In 2021, the Spartans combined an excellent 11-2 record with a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail, and it appears the building blocks are in place in East Lansing to begin contending for Big Ten Championships.

However, Michigan State's path to a conference title and College Football Playoff berth is a difficult one. The Spartans compete in the Big Ten East, arguably the toughest division in college football, alongside the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.

Looking ahead, Athlon Sports recently released an early projection on how they see each of the Big Ten's divisions playing out in 2022. Athlon's order of finish for the Big Ten East is listed below.

Big Ten East Division

7. Indiana Hoosiers


6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights


5. Maryland Terrapins

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4. Penn State Nittany Lions


3. Michigan State Spartans


2. Michigan Wolverines


1. Ohio State Buckeyes