Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said at Big Ten media days that he thinks the Spartans would have won the national title last season if the College Football Playoff had existed, according to Chris Vannini of CoachingSearch.com.
With the BCS still in place last season, then-No. 4 Michigan State fell short of making the BCS Championship Game and ended up in the Rose Bowl instead as the Big Ten champion, defeating Stanford 24-20. Under the new selection rules, Michigan State would have had a good chance at being chosen for the playoff.
Dantonio based his claim on how well the Spartans were playing by the end of the season. After losing to Notre Dame on Sept. 21, the team won 10 games in a row, including the victory over Stanford and a defeat of then-No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
"Coming out of the end of the season, we were playing great football. We were believing in ourselves," Dantonio said.
“Were we there at the beginning of the season? No, but we played our best football in November into the championship game and Rose Bowl. We were like this (going up). That wasn’t necessarily the case for some other teams.”
Michigan State was picked to finish second, behind Ohio State, in the Big Ten East in a preseason media poll.
- Ben Estes