MSU coach Mark Dantonio
With the new college football playoff format, there's obviously a lot of talk about where the different conferences stack up. What do you think the perception is of your division and strength of schedule, and how important do you think that's going to be going forward?
“I think both divisions are very well represented, great football teams in those divisions. The east where we're at, you know, great conference. Great games and a lot of games, a lot of teams that have built-in rivalries. Obviously our rivalry with Michigan is intense for us, but we've also got a rivalry with Ohio State from the past and Penn State. So those things exist for us. Indiana is a game as well. We've got two new members in the Big Ten Conference entering that side of the Big Ten. So I think it's going to be a tough division. There's no question about that.
“How we enter into the playoff picture, I guess it will be dependent obviously on our success or failures. But we play Oregon obviously the second game. So we're coming with at least a bona fide big game under our belts as we move forward. And we need to gain experience from that game.”
MSU coach Mark Dantonio
The question I have is: You played Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship last year. Now you're in the same division. In about a week or two they came out and announced that it was going to be a night game. It's very rare that you guys play November night games. Just your thoughts about playing a November night game and the thought process that went into making that game, a rematch of the championship game, a prime time game in that spot.
“Like so many things, you know, things just come to you. So I was probably on the same – I found out probably the same time everybody else did, we were going to play at night and it was a quick decision. And we embraced the decisions that were made.
“We've had great football games at night at Spartan Stadium. It's an outstanding environment. It will be a national game, so I think it's good for the conference, good for the two teams that are playing in the football game, and we play very well at night, so we're looking forward to a great game.”
Maryland coach Randy Edsall
I'm not asking you to look past your first game, but your first five. I want you to describe what's that atmosphere going to be like at your place when Ohio State comes in the first Big Ten home game?
“Well, I think it will be electric. I think it will be a sold-out crowd. It will be something that I know our fans are looking forward to. Ohio State is a program with great tradition and history and one that has done very, very well. And it will be something that I think everybody that's in attendance and everybody that gets a chance to watch on TV wished that they were there, because I think it will be a ton of excitement, one that I know we're looking forward to as well as all the other games we're going to play.”
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood
You talked about scheduling aggressively. How much are you looking forward to playing teams like Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan this season?
“We're looking forward to competing for championships. And if that's what the schedule is to give us an opportunity to compete for a championship, then we certainly look forward to it.
“I think to have some of the more storied programs in the history of college football in your conference and to play them on a year-in, year-out basis because they're in your division, I think we welcome that. We're looking forward to that test.”
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
They changed the divisions obviously in the Big Ten this year, Ohio State and Michigan now in the same division. Obviously that game means so much, but now as a division game with what you thought, were you happy to see that change made?
“Yeah, I mean as long as those two great programs, you know, with their storied history, are still playing.”
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini
Considering the strength you advocate on defense and the stable of running backs, should we expect to see a more run-oriented offense this year?
“No, I wouldn't say that at all. First of all, you have to establish the running game. It's always important. To win a championship – I think it's been shown over a long period of time – you have to be able to run the football. You look at even a lot of the great teams that have played, have come through this conference, back to Coach Alvarez when he turned around Wisconsin, Coach Tressel when he was at Ohio State and really what Michigan State was able to do last year, Ohio State when they've gone on their runs, you've got to be able to run the football. And that's always a necessity. You've got to be able to do that. You've got to stop the run, but you have to have balance.”