Michigan State and Coach Dantonio Deserve Tons of Credit for a Great Season


I get it.  I really do Spartan fans.  I understand why you are so upset about the whole BCS and Michigan’s trip to the Sugar Bowl.  I get your logic 100%.  Hell, I agree with it.  Welcome to be BCS.

I know the Bowl Championship Series has been around for almost 15 years now, but Sparty is really getting their first BCS shaft the last two years.  They didn’t understand how a team they beat ended up in the Rose Bowl (Wisconsin).  It’s not really fair that another team they beat (Michigan) is playing in the Sugar Bowl this year.  What?  Doesn’t head-to-head wins and the division title mean anything?  Nope, it doesn’t.  You can send your thanks to the Bowl Championship Series for that.

As I’ve written several times, this system is the absolute worst.  I know you feel shafted Sparty, but put yourself in Oklahoma State’s shoes for a minute.  They won’t their conference title, had only one loss, and they get the Fiesta Bowl.  Meanwhile, Alabama doesn’t even get their DIVISION crown, and they are playing for a National Championship!  What?!!

Now, as a Michigan fan, I won’t apologize for our trip to New Orleans.  After the last three years, I’m going to enjoy being relevant again. The problem MSU ran into is that the BCS doesn’t give at-large bids to teams with three losses, no matter if that third loss came in the conference title game.  The BCS couldn’t care less.

Obviously, it’s fair to say that MSU is better than Michigan.  They beat them.  That’s done and done.  What I do know is that I really don’t know if either team is any good.  Seriously.  Michigan beat Notre Dame (8-4), Nebraska (9-3), and Ohio State (6-6), but lost to Michigan State.  State knocked off Wisconsin (10-3), Iowa (7-5), and Michigan (10-2) but loss big to Nebraska.  What do we really know?

Well, actually, State answered that question, which is the point I wanted to get to.  State went into SEC country and beat an SEC team.  Georgia was better than LSU for a half in their conference title game.  That says a lot about Georgia in my book.  And MSU just beat them.  I give State all the credit in the world for that.

Mark D’Antonio, in particular, deserves mountains of credit.  Why is he not considered one of the best coaches in the country?  I’m dead serious.  Spartan fans probably know what they have, but the rest of the country is clueless.

He’s taken State to 5 straight bowl games, finally winning his first.  He’s earned a conference title and a division title from the last two years.  He’s beaten Michigan 4 straight years.  He has double digit win totals the last two years.  Seriously, short of names like Meyer, Stoops, Miles, and Saban, there aren’t a lot of other coaches with that kind of resume.

The first game next year might go a long way in putting Dantonio and Sparty on the map a little higher and a little quicker.  They open by bringing Boise State into Spartan Stadium.  My only complaint is that Kellen Moore won’t be the quarterback, so it will be assumed that Boise will be down, but still, that’s a great game to schedule. 2014 and 2015 bring in a home and home with West Virginia.  Nice!

That’s what State needs.  They need these National power games to get more press.  Florida Atlantic, Youngstown State, and Central won’t get it done, especially considering Notre Dame hasn’t been much better than average the last 5 years.  I give this advice for all Big Ten teams.  We aren’t going to get the SEC credit of having to “survive” their conference. You better do it in September.

Although, Sparty may get the other helpful BCS boost, which is a high pre-season ranking.  They ended the season by beating a Georgia team that may be in the top 5 next year. But, they do lose their quarterback, which voters never like.

But honestly Spartans, don’t worry about next year yet.  Enjoy this year.  I know that may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not.  I think every year you keep playing in conference title games, night games on ABC, and New Year’s Day bowls, more and more people across the country will start to see who are.  And soon enough, that’ll lead to one of the big daddy bowls.  But don’t think this season was a waste because you didn’t get there while Michigan did.  I have news for you, with coach Dantonio, you’ll be flipping the script soon enough.