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Where Michigan State is being projected in national way-to-early 2022 Top 25 rankings

After an 11-2 season in 2021, where do national publications project the Spartans to be next season?

In just two seasons at the helm in East Lansing, Mel Tucker has returned Michigan State football to the heights of the Mark Dantonio era.

After an 11-2 season in 2021, which ended with a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory, national publications have high expectations for the Spartans in their way-to-early Top 25 rankings for 2022.

We've compiled a complete list of where those publications' rank Michigan State, as well as their thoughts on the Spartans:

Bleacher Report — No. 8

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 15 Penn State, No. 17 Iowa

On Michigan State: "Breakout teams Baylor and Michigan State have the challenge of sustaining that success. Return-eligible seniors and the transfer portal, respectively, will have a significant influence on their perceptions."

247Sports — No. 9

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan, No. 16 Iowa, No. 20 Penn State

On Michigan State: "Michigan State won 11 games this season and did so with one of the nation's worst defenses against the pass. That in itself should bring optimism ahead of Mel Tucker's third season in 2022. On the other side, the offense may ask quarterback Payton Thorne to handle much of the load since it's hard to imagine the Spartans being as productive on the ground without Kenneth Walker III and several veteran offensive linemen. We're sure Michigan State's backfield will see this as motivation, however. The exit of playmaking wideout Jalen Nailor is a substantial loss, too."

Sporting News — No. 15

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan, No. 17 Iowa

On Michigan State: "The Spartans are coming off an 11-2 season which included a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory, and Mel Tucker has proven he knows how to work the transfer portal. Kenneth Walker III is gone, so the challenge will be maintaining that power running game around a cast that includes Payton Thorne, Jayden Reed and Jailon Nailor. Tucker has revamped the culture in East Lansing. September is a challenge with a road date at Washington on Sept. 17 before a home matchup against Ohio State on Sept. 24."

Sports Illustrated — No. 11

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 22 Iowa, No. 24 Purdue

On Michigan State: "Losing Kenneth Walker III’s production hurts, but there are other weapons on hand. Payton Thorne had an excellent sophomore season at QB, and Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger arrives with a chance to fill Walker’s shoes and reenergize his career. The defense returns many of its key parts, and let’s face it—the secondary can only get better."

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The Athletic — No. 10

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 7 Michigan, No. 18 Minnesota, No. 19 Wisconsin, No. 23 Iowa

On Michigan State: "That the Spartans won the Peach Bowl without star RB Kenneth Walker III bodes well for 2022. Quarterback Payton Thorne gets back star WR Jayden Reed, with Tre Mosley coming on as well. Star S Xavier Henderson put off the NFL, but the rest of the secondary needs an upgrade. Linebacker Cal Haladay had a fantastic freshman season. Mel Tucker's many portal adds include Wisconsin RB Jalen Berger and Florida DE Khris Bogle."

Fox Sports — No. 10

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 18 Iowa, No. 22 Purdue

On Michigan State: "The loss of Kenneth Walker III to the NFL will be felt, but the addition of former Wisconsin tailback Jalen Berger means that Mel Tucker will have a new bell cow back."

ESPN — No. 10

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 15 Iowa, No. 24 Wisconsin

On Michigan State: "Mel Tucker is convinced he can build a national championship caliber program at Michigan State, and he took a big step toward credibility in his second season. The nine-win improvement from 2020 is the biggest in school history. The Spartans started 8-0 and were No. 3 in the initial CFP rankings before cooling off. They'll undoubtedly miss Walker, who was the second-leading rusher in the FBS with 1,636 yards in 12 games. The Spartans added Berger, a transfer from Wisconsin, and might be looking for another running back to help. Three starting offensive linemen are expected to exit, along with Nailor, the team's second-leading receiver. Much of the defense will return, but the Spartans need better pass-rushers, which is why they added Brule from Mississippi State and Windmon from UNLV."

Athlon Sports — No. 10

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Michigan, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 17 Iowa, No. 21 Penn State

On Michigan State: "Mel Tucker successfully used the transfer portal to make the Spartans one of the most improved teams this past season, jumping from 2-5 in the abbreviated ’20 campaign to 11-2. Tucker’s rebuilding effort will continue into ’22 with running back Kenneth Walker III and receiver Jalen Nailor off to the NFL, but quarterback Payton Thorne and receiver Jayden Reed are back to guide an offense that averaged 31.8 points a game this year. Restocking the line and replacing Walker top the list of offseason priorities for Tucker in ’22. Defensively, Michigan State has room to improve after giving up 5.6 yards per play and struggling mightily in pass defense. This unit isn’t going to lose a ton of key contributors, but end Jacub Panasiuk (11 TFL) will be missed."

CBS Sports — No. 20

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 19 Wisconsin, No. 24 Penn State

On Michigan State: "No Kenneth Walker III, but Mel Tucker has established himself as a master of the portal. Inspirational Payton Thorne will play behind an experienced offensive line."

Yahoo Sports — No. 15

Other ranked Big Ten teams: No. 3 Ohio State, No. 8 Michigan, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 23 Iowa

On Michigan State: "The Spartans will be without Kenneth Walker III, but will be able to continue to build around QB Peyton Thorne."