When Coach D left Cincinnati for Michigan State, I spent some time on this site answering questions about his ability to coach and build a program. As I told Spartan fans then and have continued to tell those who will listen, Dantonio is not a one-hit wonder and understands success is not just about winning on the field.
Monday's victory over Georgia in the Outback Bowl gave the Spartans their 11-th victory for the second consecutive season. However, when you look at the overall body of work by Dantonio and his staff you'll see the past five years has the Spartans playing at a level not seen since Clarence "Biggie" Munn and Hugh Duffy Daugherty roamed the sidelines for the Green & White.
Munn and Daugherty each had teams crowned National Champions in the pre BCS format of today's college game and will always be the benchmark of Spartans football. However, the past five seasons have placed Dantonio's Spartans in some solid company.
In the past five seasons the Spartans have gone 44-22 under Dantonio with four wins over Michigan. Daugherty in his first five seasons was 30-15-1 (65%) with two wins and a tie against the Wolverines. Also remember how much the game of college football has changed as the Spartans under Dantonio have played 20 more games in the same five year span.
While no one should expect the Spartans or any college football program in today's modern game to win the number of National Championships posted by the Spartans from 1951 – 1966, the fact Dantonio took over a program that had gone 38-45 in the previous seven seasons and made them into one of the top Big Ten programs (22-5 – past two seasons) needs to be noticed.
While the Spartans may not be favored in 2012 because of the loss of several key players, the fact the defense is stocked with talent and the cupboards are not bare on offense should give Spartan fans hope for another strong season under the coach many questioned when he was hired.
Do you believe in Mark Dantonio now?