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Spartans’ Intense Focus Now Turns To Alabama


Mark Dantonio has his Spartans of one mind.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Mark Dantonio has his Spartans of one mind. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.


Spartans’ Intense Focus Now Turns To Alabama


When the wheels of the Spartan football charter jet touched down last night in Orlando, there was a switch. The joys of Christmas took a back seat. The calendar still read December 25, but for the MSU Spartan football team the focus had shifted.


They instantly started acting like it was 2011. That’s right, January 1, 2011 when they will face the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, former head coach Nick Saban, and even more important a monkey that has ridden this now-renewed program by the name of three straight lost bowl games.


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Mark Dantonio said it best, “We have been talking about winning the last one here for a long time and now we have to go out and do it.” I agree. Dantonio isn’t one to mince words, he says what he means and means what he says. He sees it.


Now Dantonio isn’t one to say it, but everyone acts like Nick Saban was Duffy Daugherty when he was here. In fact, when MSU wins the Capital One Bowl on Sunday he will tie Saban for career wins at MSU. The difference? Saban did it in five years and Dantonio in four. Both programs were in ruins when they arrived.


Saban’s national reputation grew when he arrived at LSU, not when he was in East Lansing. His best season was nine wins. Dantonio has met it and beat it in two of his four seasons and has won a Big Ten Title and played for one in that span, something Saban didn’t accomplish.


The point is that no one in the Spartan Nation would have picked this match up over a Rose Bowl or BCS Championship game. I can also say that if those two were unavailable most would have picked this match up.


Of one thing I am certain. The Spartans are excited to be in Florida in December. They will enjoy the festivities and fun. They are also focused and on task. This is a business trip. To say it best: They are on a mission to win the last one.