CHICAGO (WXYZ) - There's no question Mark Dantonio has led the charge for recent achievements in Michigan State football.
Under Dantonio, the Spartans were named 2011 Big Ten co-champions and have appeared in seven bowl games.
This season, however, is a little bit different.
Dantonio spoke at Monday's Big Ten football media day as a the head coach of the reigning Rose Bowl champions.
Michigan State was the Big Ten's undisputed No. 1 team last season, beating Ohio State in the conference title game and Stanford in the Grandaddy of Them All. The Spartans finished the season with a 13-1 record and a national No. 3 ranking.
With all these accomplishments, it's safe to say the Spartans are no longer the underdog and Dantonio's mantra of "handling success," one of his favorites, is more important than ever.
"We’ve had a knack for winning football games these last (few) years but we’ve also taken a step back a couple of times," Dantonio said, referencing the 2012 season in which the Spartans went a disappointing 7-6. "We have to continue to find those inches and gain even more ground, because respectability can fly right out the window on us, and I understand that.”
Two of Michigan State's biggest contests in the 2014 season are home games against archrival Michigan (Oct. 25) and growing rival Ohio State (Nov. 8).
While the Ohio State game-a rematch of the 2013 Big Ten title game- is obviously worthy of attention, nothing gets Michiganders talking quite like the Michigan State-Michigan rivalry.
Dantonio was asked how he maintains intensity in the Michigan rivalry, despite the fact the Spartans have won five out of the last six contests.
"I continue to live in Michigan," he responded. "That ought to do it."