Spartans finish third in final polls

After Michigan State held off Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, talk began to build of a possible No. 2 finish in the final polls, or even a split national title if Auburn upset Florida State five days later on the same field.

Florida State ended up rallying to win the national title, and Auburn's effort impressed voters enough to keep the Tigers ahead of Michigan State in both the final AP poll and final Coaches' Poll. I'm sure the SEC's perception had nothing to do with it (cough, cough). MSU finished 43 points behind Auburn in the AP and just 13 behind in the Coaches'

Michigan State's No. 3 finish marks its highest finish since 1966, when the Spartans were No. 2 in both the AP and UPI polls. Ohio State finished No. 3 in last season's final AP Poll.

The 2013 Buckeyes slipped five spots to No. 12 in the AP and four spots to No. 10 in the Coaches' after ending the season with their second straight loss to Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl. Wisconsin falls to No. 22 in the AP and No. 21 in the Coaches' following its loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl. Nebraska squeaks into the final Coaches' Poll at No. 25 after upsetting Georgia in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.

The Big Ten has only three ranked teams in the final AP poll for the first time since the 2010 season. Expect to see MSU, Ohio State and Wisconsin in the preseason poll, along with Iowa and perhaps Nebraska or Michigan.