Michigan State knows they must first win in the Cotton Bowl before even thinking of playing for a National Championship.

Michigan State entered the 2015 season with lofty goals. Step one has the Spartans playing in their second Cotton Bowl in a calendar year, but Mark Dantonio knows his team must take of business in Dallas before thinking about a National Championship.

The Michigan State Spartans arrived in Dallas on Christmas Day to start work on their second Cotton Bowl of the calendar year.  Some wonder if the fact the Spartans made the same trip to end last season, if they’ll enter will a small advantage over Alabama. 

“This was our goal to be able to come back to a venue like this and to be in the College Football Playoff,” Mark Dantonio said Saturday.  “This is, I think, the second year, I think for the Playoffs.  This is our third straight year in a Big Six or a CFP.  But it’s certainly the third big game that we’ve had in a row.  Our goals are always trying to go a little big farther.

“Last year the way the season wrapped up, big win in the Cotton Bowl.  But at the same time, we weren’t in the College Football Playoff, which our goal is always to win the Big Ten championship, which I believe should put you in the Playoff, if you are fortunate enough to do that.”

While most teams end their season in a bowl game, the Spartans know their is a bigger prize than the Cotton Bowl trophy awaiting the winner of the game.  Has this changed the Spartans approach to the game?

“We’re always going to take first things first,” stressed Dantonio.  “So our main focus is to win this football game.  So for us, we’re going to approach this like our bowl game that we normally do.  Want our players to have a great experience.  Obviously we want to win.  Obviously we want to be at our best and not just on the field but off the field as well.

“I think from our standpoint or my standpoint, it’s let’s get to that game and then we’ll see how that week goes.  We want to make sure we’re prepared and focused on the task at hand and not get too far ahead of ourselves.”

One question everyone has about the Spartans is the health of quarterback Connor Cook.

“I think he’s doing fine,” he said.  “He’s here.  He can speak to that.  I think he’s doing great.  Played in a couple of games already, so there shouldn’t be any issues there.  He’s practiced.  That’s where we’re at.”

The Spartans will continue their work towards Thursday nights big match-up against Alabama and Spartan Digest will continue to provide the latest updates.

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