Dantonio only worried about Badgers heading into title game

EAST LANSING — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio isn’t interested in anything that isn’t directly related to his preparation for a rematch with Wisconsin in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.

He’s not concerned with the point spread, what bowl MSU might end up in if it loses or how the hiring of Urban Meyer at Ohio State impacts the Big Ten or his program.

Asked about Wisconsin being favored to win, Dantonio said: “It’s not all bad. We’re the little guy. Everybody wants the little guy to win, so have a couple more people sitting on the fence maybe sway our way and make a little noise.”

Dantonio isn’t concerned about things he can’t control, such as the Big Ten bowl lineup.

“I’ve focused on the task at hand and winning this football game,” he said. “I’m going to look straight ahead and focus on that challenge, defeat that challenge and move forward. For us to look over here and over there and say we’ll worry about this team going instead of us or this team or whatever … the best thing we can do is go on and play well for the next team and that’s what we were able to do.”

Asked about Meyer being hired as Ohio State’s coach on Monday, Dantonio said: “We have to deal with our problems here and our challenges and our focus. I’d say it’s a great job. He’s a great football coach. The success has been there in the past eight years. … If he’s half as successful as that, he’s going to be very successful. … We’ll deal with Ohio State next year, and that’s when we’ll do that.”

Dantonio said the programs are bigger than who is the coach.

“I believe that,” he said. “If Mark Dantonio’s not here, somebody else will be here and they’ll be pushing Michigan State forward. Same is true down the road or same is true at Notre Dame. It’s a difficult challenge as it is, but our focus right now is on Wisconsin.”

NOTEBOOK: Dantonio couldn’t recall the last time he played a team twice in the same year: “I think in the eighth grade we played each team twice and that’s about it.” … About 2,000 additional tickets to Saturday’s game are being made available to the public. Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000, beginning at 10 a.m. today. Prices range from $80 to $175. There is a limit of eight tickets per order. … The average resale ticket price for the game is $140.67, according to TiqIQ, a sports ticket aggregator. The average resale ticket price for the regular-season game was $136.94.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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