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Where Michigan State Football’s Strength of Schedule Compares to Rest of Big Ten

Michigan State football is in rebuild mode, and if that isn’t an unideal situation in itself, the road back to relevance won’t be any easier with the schedule laid out before Jonathan Smith and his squad.

The Spartans have a diffuclt 2024 schedule ahead, one that has them facing three conference Titans — Ohio State, Oregon, and Michigan — in the span of just four games, all of which are right in the middle of the season. Fortunately for them, they do play at home in three of their last four games of the season, including their final two contests.

Sports Illustrated’s James Parks recently ranked Michigan State around the middle of the pack in his Big Ten football 2024 strength of schedule rankings, placing the Spartans at No. 9.

Here’s what he had to say about Michigan State:

“Jonathan Smith steps in to lead Sparty through a tough midseason conference slate that includes home games against the Buckeyes and Iowa and road trips against Oregon and Michigan.”

The following is Parks’ entire rankings:

18. Rutgers

17. Indiana

16. Iowa

15. Nebraska

14. Maryland

13. Minnesota

12. Penn State

11. Northwestern

10. Ohio State

9. Michigan State

8. Oregon

7. Washington

6. Illinois

5. Michigan

4. Wisconsin

3. Purdue

2. USC

1. UCLA

Here’s the bottom line everyone should remember: every schedule in the Big Ten is going to be tough. Any team can win on any given Saturday, whether they’re home or away.

Michigan State has not proven itself to be an upset team in recent years, but maybe that changes under Coach Smith. After all, a rebuild doesn’t always mean you’re doomed from the start. While it will take time for that chemistry to form, the talent is there.

A new era of Spartan football is beginning. And while it is new, there are both players and coaches in the building who have familiarity with the program and know what success for Michigan State can look like.

Don’t get too caught up in these offseason rankings. When it comes to the Spartans, there’s not much to base them on. Not to mention, we don’t know how these new teams from the Pac-12 are even going to stack up against the rest of the conference.

It’s anyone’s guess how this first season with Smith at the helm ends up.

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Anna Harden

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