November 12, 2013

Spit out the gum, and get ready for Big Red

After thrashing Michigan two weeks ago and then watching Nebraska beat the Wolverines last weekend, the buzz is building for the Michigan State Spartans heading into Saturday's 3:30 p.m. ET game against Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb.

More college football fans, and the national analysts who influence their opinions, are becoming "believers" in the Spartans. After spending the bulk of the season laughing off MSU because of a struggling offense, a groundswell of believers now supports the Spartans running the table in their remaining three games against Nebraska, Northwestern and Minnesota to win the Big Ten's Legends Division with little trouble.

Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio, however, doesn't exactly put a lot of stock in outside opinions. Asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday about all the new "believers," Dantonio shared with reporters some advice he'd gotten years ago.

"Yeah, my dad used to always say that criticism and praise (are) like chewing gum," he said. "You chew on it for a while and then you spit it out, and I think that's what we do. We take stock of where we're at at the end of the season. The bottom can fall out on you at any time if you don't take care of fundamentals, if you don't do the little things, if you're not emotionally ready."

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