Most Michigan State football fans would agree that the College Football Playoff was implemented a year too late. Had it been in place last season, the Spartans would have most likely earned a spot in it and had a chance to play eventual National Champion Florida State in a semifinal game.
“I really can’t say the outcome of it, but I think it would have been a really good game,” Cornerback Trae Waynes said of the Spartans playing FSU had the College Football Playoff been established last season.
It’s fun to talk about what could have been, but Michigan State is trying to focus on the task at hand, which is getting into a position to be in this years College Football Playoff. The Spartans are going into 2014 with expectations as high as they can get, and Mark Dantonio and all his players know that dealing with those expectations will be vital to having a successful campaign.
“We just try to take it one day at a time and continue to grind like we did last year, and not really pay attention to our rankings or anything like that,” Wide receiver Tony Lippett said.
Mark Dantonio is in the middle of a balancing act right now between trying to downplay expectations and acknowledging that winning the College Football Playoff is one of his teams goals. It seems impossible to do both, but Dantonio is doing his best at it.
“We’ve got to keep climbing, not get ahead of ourselves and not be entitled,” Dantonio said.
Avoiding entitlement is something that Dantonio has been preaching to the media over the past few weeks, and it shouldn’t be too difficult for the Spartans to do considering their “chip on the shoulder” mentality. The tough part will be not getting ahead of themselves since there is so much College Football Playoff hype surrounding this team.
The Spartans won’t be able to ignore all the questions about their chances of making the College Football Playoff, but they can use those expectations as motivation to help them get there.
“There’s a new playoff system this season, and we’re trying to do everything we can day in and day out to get in that playoff system,” Lippett said.
Michigan State’s ability to handle success will be paramount as the Spartans make a run at the College Football Playoff, and Mark Dantonio will do everything he can to get his players in position to do just that.
“We won a lot of games last year, but there’s always something you could do a little better, and that’s what I challenge our players to do,” Dantonio said.