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Way-too-early 2015 Big Ten football power rankings

2. Michigan State Spartans

connor-cookAll MSU has done is win a Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl and a Cotton Bowl over the past two years. Most importantly, Mark Dantonio’s teams have done it in very different fashion each of the past two years. So, what does 2015 have in store for one of the three biggest programs in the Big Ten today?

Well, getting quarterback Conor Cook back is a massive win, as he’ll be a great leader to a team losing many big weapons on offense. Michigan State will face the truth of either reloading or rebuilding on offense this season, as gone will be leading receiver Tony Lippett and two-time 1,000-yard running back Jeremy Langford.

The good news is that there are plenty of experienced options at wide receiver in Macgarett Kings Jr. and Aaron Burbridge and R.J. Shelton. Running back should be Nick Hill’s spot to lose after putting up over 600 yards on just over 100 carries this season.

Defensively this team loses the best cornerback in the Big Ten in Trae Waynes early to the NFL and also loses star safety Kurtis Drummond. However, there will be plenty of the parts that made the 2014 defense work coming back with a year of experience under their belts.

The question is, can this defense survive the loss of defensive guru Pat Narduzzi, who is off to replace Paul Chryst at Pitt. If Michigan State can play at the level it did this past season in 2015 it could be another year as a challenger at the top of the Big Ten East division.

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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