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Michigan State football debuts inside Top 15 of preseason Coaches Poll

The Spartans are in a good spot with room for improvement...

Michigan State football will begin the 2022 season as a Top 15 team in the USA Today AFCA Coaches Poll.

On Monday, the Spartans debuted at No. 14 in the preseason poll, one of four Big Ten teams included in the Top 25 of the first rendition of rankings.

Perennial powerhouse Alabama begins the season ranked No. 1 by the coaches, having received 54 out of 66 first-place votes. The Crimson Tide are followed by No. 2 Ohio State, and No. 3 Georgia.

After a 10-3 campaign in 2021, Clemson maintains a high level of respect from the coaches, as the Tigers debut at No. 4 in the preseason poll.

No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 6 Michigan appear next, followed by No. 7 Tesax A&M, No. 8 Utah and No. 9 Oklahoma. Rounding out the Top 10 is Baylor, the champion of the Big 12 in 2021.

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Michigan State is the third-highest ranked Big Ten team in the preseason Coaches Poll, coming in behind the two programs that finished ahead of the Spartans in the Big Ten East a season ago.

No. 20 Wisconsin rounds out the Big Ten's representation in the preseason Coaches Poll, though Iowa and Penn State were the first two programs listed among "Other receiving votes", essentially making them the No. 26 and No. 27 teams, respectively.

Minnesota and Purdue were also listed among "Other's receiving votes".

Michigan State's schedule features all three of the other Big Ten teams ranked by the coaches, as well as Penn State and Minnesota. The Spartans kick off their season on Friday, Sept. 2 against Western Michigan.

Other notable rankings

No. 15 USC begins the season ranked under new head coach Lincoln Riley, who left Oklahoma to take over the Trojans' program. Michigan State's opponent in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Pittsburgh, debuted at No. 16 in the Coaches Poll. No. 17 Miami will begin the season ranked under new head coach Mario Cristobal, who left Oregon to coach his alma mater. No. 18 Texas received a surprising first-place vote from one of the coaches. No. 22 Cincinnati will begin the season ranked, despite losing a plethora of talent that led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff in 2021.