July 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Spartans the 'hunted' but know sustained success can be elusive

MSU quarterback Connor Cook shows off his Rose Bowl ring at Big Ten Media Days on Monday. 'What better time to wear it?' he said. (Matt Charboneau / The Detroit News)

Chicago – A lot of folks might be picking Ohio State to win the Big Ten this season, but almost as many believe it will be Michigan State.

Regardless of the prediction, the expectations are far different for the Spartans this season as they come off a 13-1 mark in 2013 that included a conference championship and a win in the Rose Bowl.

But as coach Mark Dantonio continues to preach handling success to his team, he understands the nature of what he has built entering his eighth season at Michigan State.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve done some special things,” he said. “We’re a little bit more the hunted. It’s a good place to be but also a precarious place, as well.”

Dantonio was speaking at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, the unofficial kickoff to the season. He warned how quickly things can change, reminding everyone Michigan State went 7-6 in 2012.

“We’ve had a knack for winning football games,” he said, “but we’ve also taken a step back a couple of times. 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.”