CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 10: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans argues with a referee during a game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 10, 2009 at Memorial Stadium at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Illinois 24-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mark Dantonio isn’t generally one for boisterous claims, though he has already gone on the record to say that he believes his Spartans would have won a national championship last season if there was a playoff in place. The Michigan State head coach still has his eye on the prize for this season, and looks for his program to take the next step.
Still, coming off of a 13-1 season with Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships, and ranked No. 8 in the Amway Coaches Poll — MSU’s highest preseason ranking since that poll started in 1991 — makes the discussion of big goals inevitable.
“We’re gonna dream big,” Dantonio said. “You always want to go farther than you did before; that’s human nature.”
If Michigan State can repeat as Big Ten champions, there is a good chance they’ll make the first ever playoff. However, that is easier said than done for a program that must replace many important pieces from what was perhaps the nation’s best defense in 2013. No matter what, Dantonio should have the Spartans in the conversation.