East Lansing, MI
The #8 Michigan State Spartans are 2-0 and on a roll with the #11 Wisconsin Badgers, 3-0 headed to town this weekend. Certainly the rivalry with Notre Dame and the national attention was brighter in South Bend, but the intensity will rise with Badgers.
The Badgers signal the start of Big Ten action for the Spartans who are on a quest to get to Back2Back conference titles. Dantonio talked earlier this week about the rise of intensity around his battle tested program now that the opposite team is wearing the Big Ten conference logo.
“I think the out-of-conference schedule is just what it is. You can lose them, still recover and play and win a Big Ten championship. You start playing a little bit more for real I think in terms of understanding that these are the things that lead you to rings, big bowl games, playoffs, those type of things, these games like this and the games that will follow.”
Dantonio would know having led his Spartans to three Big Ten titles since 2010. More riveting than the three Big Ten titles are that the Spartans are the only team in the nation to have finished in the top six the last three years. Dantonio wasn’t done talking about conference action.
He said, “When you’re playing in-conference, you get into your division, the chips just get a little bit bigger. But that’s the way it’s always been here. The more you win, the higher the chips get, the more it’s on every single game. It’s just the nature of it, I think, which is a positive thing for us here. It’s been positive for us.”
This will be the 53rd time that the Spartans and the Badgers have kicked off. Dantonio is 4-3 as the Michigan State head coach versus Wisconsin and he won the last contest in overtime 16-13 in 2012.
The game kicks off at 12 noon and you can see it on the Big Ten Network.