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Mark Dantonio Bowl Announcement Press Conference

Dec. 3, 2017


MSU Ticket Office | MSU Alumni Association Official Bowl Tour Information

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio held a press conference Sunday afternoon to announce that Michigan State, which finished No. 16 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, has accepted an invitation to play in the 40th annual San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl against No. 18 Washington State on Thursday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. EST in SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California. This marks the first-ever appearance for the Spartans in the Holiday Bowl. The game will be televised nationally on FS1.

The Spartans finished the regular season with a 9-3 overall record (7-2 Big Ten) and are in position to record their sixth double-digit win season in the last eight years with a victory in the Holiday Bowl. It marks the 10th bowl bid in 11 seasons under Mark Dantonio, who owns a 99-45 record at the helm of the Spartans and will be looking for his 100th win as head coach at Michigan State. Dantonio already owns school records for most bowl wins (four) and bowl appearances (10), including a school-record four-game bowl winning streak with victories in the 2011 Outback Bowl vs. No. 18 Georgia, 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl over TCU, 2014 Rose Bowl against No. 5 Stanford, and 2015 Cotton Bowl vs. No. 4 Baylor.

 

 

The Holiday Bowl marks the eighth meeting between Michigan State and Washington State. MSU leads the all-time series, 5-2, with the last meeting arriving in 1977. It will be the first meeting between the two teams in a bowl game.

The Spartans will be making their 27th all-time bowl appearance (11-15 record).

The following is a complete transcript from Tuesday's press conference:

Opening statement...
Afternoon, guys. Very excited about the opportunity to play Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. I've coached for 30-plus seasons right now, and basically everything I've ever heard about the Holiday Bowl is extremely first-class. It's been a great bowl game throughout the years. It's a place we've not gone yet, so we're very excited about the Southern California alumni-base and Arizona based as well, be able to see us play Washington State, another top-20 opponent so it gives us an opportunity to play against a quality, top-20 opponent and an opportunity to win 10 football games, which is very exciting to us as we move forward in the process here. I think we'll leave out of here probably the 22nd and the game will be on the 28th.

I'll take some questions and we'll sort of go from there.

On the benefit of playing in California for recruiting purposes...
Yeah, I think that that, you know, you have a name out there. We have a national name that we can go out there. We've got different people out in that area, that alumni-base. We've had some players out there in the past, so I do think that it can create a little bit of a buzz out there for us. It remains to be seen, I guess; a long way to go.

On the process of the last few days getting the bowl...
Well, you know, college football is a buzz, you know that. There's no question about that. Everything sort of gets worked through a variety of channels and everything. All I can do as a football coach every single week is get ready for the people that we're playing against, and look for a quality opponent to play against. I think that's what we have. We knew that it would be one of three bowls, it depends on how everything sort of shakes out. I thought all three bowl games gave us a great opportunity to showcase our talents and to play a great football team. That's where we're going and we're going to get excited.

(Washington State head coach) Mike Leach is an excellent football coach. Their football team I think very much like us, that probably was like us, one game out of playing in a championship-type game for the conference. I think they beat USC. I think they beat Oregon and Stanford this year, so they're a quality football team. Always exciting to be able to play against a Coach Leach team. The press conferences will be great (smiling).

On not going to the Outback Bowl, which chose Michigan...
I just look at it as an opportunity to play in the Holiday Bowl right now. The records are what they are. I'll just continue to concentrate on beating Michigan and let things sort of sort out.

On the Big Ten Conference missing the College Football Playoff...
I think it's extremely competitive at the top, and you're slicing things very thin. Obviously, Alabama has a tremendous football team as does Ohio State. So I don't really know what to say about that. I'm not... I guess I'm a major college football coach, but to me, you leave out two conferences, it's difficult. That's a difficult scenario. I'm sure that weighed on everybody, but that's not for me to say. I do know that Ohio State's an outstanding football team. We had a tough time against them this year. There's a lot of good football teams out there. That's been demonstrated over and over by the parity in college football right now. You've got to look at that and try and figure it out. I think everybody in America probably has some type of weigh-in on this.

On going to Sand Diego instead of getting a New Year's Day bowl...
Well, I have to concentrate on playing a top-20 football game. You tend to want to play on New Year's Day, but San Diego's a beautiful place and I think it probably represents us probably like the Citrus Bowl, Outback Bowl in California. I think it takes that next-tier team that's not in the championship game and runs with it. They've done a tremendous job in the past from everybody that I've ever known that has gone to the Holiday Bowl, they have said tremendous things about the experience, the player experience, the family experience, the bowl experience in general. I'm looking forward to that and I'll go out there I think, I believe next week I'll go out there for a press conference so I look forward to seeing it up close and personal.

On getting bowl practices for the young team...
Yeah, it's going to be crucial for our development. I think, as much as anything, playing another football game allows our guys to gain great experience and playing a bowl game against a great opponent gives our guys additional experiences. The bowl numbers of practices, that always does vary, because there's a fine line between over-training and getting ready, I think, so we'll be ready to play that football game and we'll start working on Washington State tomorrow.

On the team's progress over a short period of time...
Yeah, first of all, as I've said before, we're used to being there. We have a football team that was in the playoffs two years ago, so that's a positive I think for everybody. Everybody can draw on that and understand that culture that's here and understand the substance in how we've played over a period of time. Obviously, we didn't play in a bowl game last and we sort of got ourselves squared away and pushed back up to the top a little bit. So I think it's very important, we probably have 60 players plus that have not had a bowl experience, I think it's very important that they have that experience, and enjoy that experience but understand that it's about winning football games. It's about winning. There is definitely a difference between going to a bowl game and winning it and going there and not winning, so we're going to focus on what we can and make sure that we come out of there with a 10th win, which not too many people in the country have the opportunity to win 10 games.

On his experience with Washington State head coach Mike Leach...
I visited with Mike last year at the Fiesta Frolic. It's all good. I look forward to seeing him.

On the practice schedule...
We'll start practice, we'll have a couple practices this weekend coming up. They'll be a little bit more technique-oriented, and then we'll hit bowl practices after (final) exams next week. We have exams next week.

On bouncing back from disappointment in which bowl the Spartans got...
Hey, life's about how you handle disappointments. I would not say going to the Holiday Bowl is a big disappointment. I'm excited about it. Very excited about the opportunity, so that's where we're going to play. Pac-12/Big Ten has a great relationship, and a historic relationship, so we better get ready to play. So that's all I can focus on right now and again, excited that the Holiday Bowl picked us to come and represent the Big Ten at that forum. San Diego is a tremendous place. I know that there's 15-20,000 people (MSU alumni) in Southern California that are very excited, I would say. We're going to California and we're looking forward to it.

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