There has been talk all season about Michigan State in the new college football playoff at the end of the season. But this week brought a bit more buzz as VegasInsider.com pegged the Spartans as the national championship favorite with 13/2 odds – slightly better than Florida State and Mississippi State with 7/1 odds.
That talk has not mattered much to junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who says he doesn’t pay attention to such talk.
“Well, first, I really don’t watch SportsCenter,” he said. “I watch Criminal Minds. I’m a criminal justice major. I watch CSI Miami, Special Victims Unit. I go home and I crave for those shows.”
For Calhoun, he said the focus remains on the fact that the Spartans are not going to be in the playoff just because people expect them to be.
“They can say we are going to, everyone can say we are going to be in the national championship or we are a contender, but it’s not just going to happen,” he said. “We just can’t go out there like, ‘Did you know the polls said we were in there, we are done playing, we are automatically in there.’
”We have to come out and play each game. That’s what we stress upon each and every week. We have to perform. We can’t just roll our helmets out there and win the game. We have to be aggressive, play our style of play and come out with a chip on our shoulder.”
Co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman, who has experienced winning a national title at Ohio State in 2002, said it can be hard to keep the hype out of players’ ears.
”I think all the social media that’s open today and just the media in general and the attention on college football, period,” he said. “You can’t turn on the TV and if you want to you can hear it. If you’re smart you better keep things in perspective.”
In order to keep things in perspective and focused on taking each game as it comes, Bollman said it important to avoid listening to outside distractions.
“Forget about it,” he said. “You gotta try to. If you sit there and dwell on that, you’re asking for failure. … You’ve gotta be in your own little tunnel, in the egg shell and have things focused on what you need to do getting ready for your next opponent and literally take it one at a time. …
”All you’ve gotta do is look all over the country and who wins the big game one week and loses the next week. No matter how hard you try, sometimes those things don’t work out and you fail, but you’ve gotta try to focus on the matter at hand.
”You start looking two months down the road and you’re not ready for Saturday, you’re asking for it.”