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College Football Rankings, Week 11: Michigan State Begins Climb Back Up Polls

When Michigan State lost to Iowa last week, the Spartans dropped nine spots in the BCS standings. On Saturday, MSU began its trek back up the BCS ladder by beating Minnesota, 31-8. The win likely won't do much to impress voters or the computers, but all MSU needs to do at this point is win and let the rest of the pieces fall into place. Thanks to some losses by teams ranked ahead of them on Saturday, the new college football rankings that will be out on Sunday should reflect this notion, as MSU has a chance to move up in the BCS standings despite beating a mediocre team.

Looking at last week's BCS standings, the top four will likely not change outside of some potential rearranging between Oregon, Auburn, TCU and Boise State. All four teams won, so the top four teams are set. At No. 5, however, is Utah, which got rolled by TCU on Saturday. Considering MSU dropped from fifth to 14th after losing to Iowa, I would have to imagine Utah will drop at least that much, meaning MSU should move up at least to 13th so far.

Continuing down last week's BCS standings, the No. 6 team, Alabama, also lost on Saturday. Since the voters have a thing for a team like Alabama and the SEC in general, it's not guaranteed that the Crimson Tide will fall below MSU. They probably should since they have two losses, but it wouldn't surprise me if 'Bama stays ranked above Michigan State.

After Alabama are two Big 12 teams -- Nebraska and Oklahoma. The Cornhuskers squeaked by Iowa State, but I doubt the close win will drop them at all. Oklahoma, on the other hand, lost to Texas A&M by a score of 33-19, so it looks like MSU will pass the Sooners in the new BCS standings. MSU will also pass No. 12 Missouri, as the Tigers lost to Texas Tech on Saturday. Missouri is probably the only other team the Spartans can pass in the new BCS standings, but just like that it looks like they will move up to at least 11th in the BCS and possibly 10th.

If MSU can take care of business in its final two games of the season, I think the Spartans will be in pretty good shape as far as playing in a BCS game is concerned. Obviously some things need to happen for them to get to the Rose Bowl, but even if that doesn't happen, an at-large bid could be in their future if the teams ahead of them keep losing. The good news for the Spartans is that they have only two games left on the schedule and both of them are winnable. Teams like Auburn and Nebraska and Ohio State have tough games ahead and/or a conference championship game to win, so it's certainly possible that MSU could get consideration as an at-large team. There's still a lot of football that needs to be played, of course, but Saturday helped MSU's at-large cause quite a bit.