Michigan State senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun and the Spartans wanted Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

Unlike any Michigan State football team in the past, this squad can make history when they take on Alabama in the 80th Cotton Bowl Classic. For fifth-year senior Shilique Calhoun, this trip is one of business and pleasure.

Over the years many college coaches have stressed Bowl Games are rewards for players and coaches for the hard work and sacrifice they’ve given over the work done from winter conditioning, spring ball, summer workouts, preseason camp and the season itself.

Is this Cotton Bowl more of a business trip for Shilique Calhoun and his teammates?

“Of course it is a business,” said Calhoun.  “We have pleasure mixed in.  But, honestly, it’s a bowl game.  We are trying to accomplish another win, gain another notch under our belt.  We are ready to play.”

From the time the Spartans defeated Iowa they did not shy away from wanting to play Alabama, the SEC Champion.

“Of course we want to play against, they say, the nation’s best,” he said.  “It’s an opportunity to play against such a good team, good running back, good offensive line, good quarterback.  We wanted this since they were on our schedule.  Then they were no longer -- the game got cancelled, I guess.  So this opportunity came to fruition.  We were happy to have it.  This was an opportunity to showcase our talent.  We look forward to it.  It should be a good time.”

Calhoun and his teammates knew a return to the Cotton Bowl would be another special opportunity.  What makes this bowl different than the others he’s attended during his Spartans career?

“The hospitality,” he said.  “They do a good job accommodating the players and making sure we have what we need.  They are sociable.  The people that are here are great guys.  The hospitality is so amazing.”

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