Mark Dantonio EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans watches action during a game against the Furman Paladins at Spartan Stadium on September 2, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The 2016 Michigan State Spartans are in the running for being the most disappointing team in college football this season. A year after celebrating a Big Ten championship and reaching the College Football Playoff, the Spartans are entering the final weekend of October still looking for its first Big Ten win. Getting it this weekend will not be easy, as the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines make the trip to East Lansing.

Michigan State opened as an 18-point underdog at home this week, and that line has grown to favor Michigan by 23.5. Nobody thinks Michigan State can get it all pulled together to pull the upset of the Wolverines.

Well, almost nobody.

Mark Dantonio knows his team can win, despite what the empirical evidence would suggest this fall. Dantonio was asked about having a chip on his shoulder this week after the suggestion nobody outside of Michigan State believes the Spartans can win this weekend.

Of course, Dantonio was kind enough to remind the reporter this is not the first time the Spartans have been counted out.

“We’ve in that position before,” Dantonio said. “Just like if we were 7-0, what matters is how you play on the game field, what breaks go your way, what doesn’t, what happens on the field. You’ve got to be ready at game time to do your best. That’s my challenge to our football team. Be strong, look adversity in the face and get yourself ready to go. Be mentally strong, line up and play hard.”

Michigan State is just 2-5 this season and in serious danger of not being eligible for a postseason bowl berth. Two more losses and Michigan State will be out. If there is one thing you can generally rely on Dantonio doing at Michigan State, however, it is having his team ready to play a big game against Michigan. Michigan State is a dangerous team right now because they are desperate for a win.

Dantonio has had the upper hand on Michigan for a good while now, and if ever Michigan State was going to play their best game this season, it might be at home against the hated Wolverines. And over the years, despite a solid track record, Dantonio and Michigan State have always tended to be the underdog. So here we go again.

“They’ve got a good defense, got a good football team. The challenge is there. No question about that,” Dantonio went on to say. “Can we win? Yeah, we can win. I firmly believe that. I know none of you do. But that’s why I’m coaching.”


About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.