Michigan State has played in two of the three Big Ten title games, is the defending Rose Bowl champion and on the best run in program history with 42 wins in four years.
Yet the Spartans cling to an underdog mentality. It's the product of being overshadowed historically by Michigan and Ohio State. Coach Mark Dantonio never wants his team to stop playing with that edge.
The Spartans likely will have to beat the Buckeyes to win the East Division. They also have a major September test with a road game against Oregon.
Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin are the top contenders in the West.