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Ranking Michigan State football’s 2022 games from easiest to hardest

Michigan State football will enter the 2022 season with one of the more tougher schedules in the country, but what are the toughest games for the Spartans?

I take a look at each of the Spartans’ 2022 matchups and rank them from easiest to hardest below:

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No. 12 – Akron

Charles LeClaire?USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 2-10 (1-7in MAC)

Akron has lived in the basement of the Mid-American Conference the past few seasons and this year should be no different so this is by far the Spartans’ easiest game this fall.

No. 11 – Western Michigan

Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 8-5 (4-4in MAC)

Western Michigan is a good MAC program, but still should be no match for Michigan State in a season-opening Friday night matchup that’ll surely have plenty of juice.

No. 10 – Indiana

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times

Record in 2021: 2-10 (0-9in Big Ten)

Indiana had a disastrous 2021 season so it’s hard to have high expectations for the Hoosiers this fall — which makes them a safe choice as my easiest conference matchup for Michigan State.

No. 9 – Rutgers

Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 5-8 (2-7in Big Ten)

Rutgers at home late in the season has historically been an easy win for Michigan State so I’m confident we’ll see the same thing this upcoming fall.

No. 8 – at Illinois

Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 5-7 (4-5in Big Ten)

Illinois was a surprise team in 2021, nearly qualifying for a bowl game when many picked them to finish last in the Big Ten West Division. However, the rebuild is still in the works for the Fighting Illini this year so this comes in as the Spartans’ easiest road game this fall.

No. 7 – at Maryland

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 7-6 (3-6in Big Ten)

Maryland has some offensive firepower and this has the making to be a trap game for the Spartans. I still like Michigan State’s odds to beat the Terps but this is where the games start to get tougher in the rankings.

No. 6 – Minnesota

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 9-4 (6-3 in Big Ten)

Minnesota is expected to contend for the Big Ten West Division title in 2022 so this is the first of six truly tough opponents in these rankings. Good thing this is a home game for the Spartans.

No. 5 – at Washington

James Snook/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 4-8 (3-6 in Pac-12)

Washington is breaking in a new coach and coming off a brutal 2021 season, but it’s never easy flying across the country and knocking off a fellow power five opponent. This will be a battle for Michigan State, regardless of how good Washington truly is this year.

No. 4 – Wisconsin

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 9-4 (6-3 in Big Ten)

Wisconsin is similar to Minnesota and will also contend for the Big Ten West Division this fall. But I’m giving the Badgers the slight edge in these rankings due to their historic success and annually high-floor.

No. 3 – at Michigan

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 12-2 (8-1 in Big Ten)

The Spartans always play the Wolverines tough — which is why I have Michigan one spot lower than many may have expected. I also anticipate the Wolverines not living up to last year’s success this upcoming fall.

No. 2 – at Penn State

Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 7-6 (4-5in Big Ten)

It’s never easy winning in Happy Valley and I’m anticipating a bounce-back season for the Nittany Lions in 2022. Both of those reasons results in Penn State as the second-toughest game on Michigan State’s schedule

No. 1 – Ohio State

Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports

Record in 2021: 11-2 (8-1 in Big Ten)

The Buckeyes being at the top of the list should come as no surprise. Even though this is a home game for the Spartans, it’ll be extremely tough for Michigan State to knock off Ohio State in early October.

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