The top three teams in college Football's eastern division of the Big Ten Conference will be the same three as the end of last season.

The same teams as 2015, but they will finish in a different order. Here is the predicted order of finish for the regular season:

  • 1) Ohio State
  • 2) Michigan
  • 3) Michigan State

3) Michigan State

Of the three, this team seems to have the most old-school type head coach.

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Simply said, he seldom toots his own horn. The teams he has coached have made plenty of noise though.

Two Big Ten championships in the past three years and double digit wins in five of the last six seasons. During the entire time, only once -- 2010 -- did they recruit a top 20 ranked class. This should tell you Mark Dantonio's staff knows what type of player they want and it's not necessary to them that they be four or five star ranked.

The reason to expect a slight slip in wins this year is more to do with all the seniors lost last season.

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Add in a very difficult early season schedule and it may be expecting too much for the Spartans to win the Big Ten Eastern Division this year. 

2) Michigan

The new coach is anything but old school. What's interesting is that he got his team to play old school, hard-nosed football. Jim Harbaugh got the players to buy-in to "the team, the team, the team!" as well as Bo Schembechler ever did.

The Wolverines lacked defensive depth in 2015 and it cost them during the stretch run.

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Still, you have to think Michigan State's miraculous punt block and return may have cost more than a game. This team could have been playing for the eastern division championship when they met Ohio State otherwise. 

Michigan gets the least challenging early schedule of the big three this year. That, 14 returning starters, along with an influx of recruiting talent, should help a lot with the difficult schedule in the season's second half. Whether they win it or not, Michigan will have a lot to say about who does win The Big Ten east this season. 

1) Ohio State

Three points.

That was the difference in 12-1 and an undefeated season for the Buckeyes in 2015. Worse yet, the 17-14 loss came against the only team in the Big Ten who could keep them out of the championship game -- Michigan State. The Buckeyes should be considered a rebuilding team this year. 16 starters are gone from last season's one loss team. Two linemen and a quarterback on offense. A lineman, a corner and a linebacker are all the returning starters. 

Why in the world is this team projected to finish the 2016 regular season as eastern division champs?

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Because the players stepping into the limelight are all-American caliber recruits who have been playing some and waiting on their chance. In addition, Urban Meyer and his staff are the guys coaching them up from the sideline.

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