East Lansing — While the Big Ten took a one-week reprieve from its usual national bashing, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio had a chance to check out some of his conference brethren, specifically Nebraska.
Not surprisingly, Dantonio isn't buying the commonly held belief the Big Ten is weak.
"I understand and I know the Big Ten Conference is an extremely competitive conference," Dantonio said. "There's great players here and there's great coaching going on at every institution. What I saw and what I recognize is that we're going to play some very good football teams as we move forward. Indiana wins at Missouri. I watched the Nebraska game. It looked very, very good, and you know, on it goes."
The focus on Nebraska was obvious considering No. 9 Michigan State opens Big Ten play in two weeks when it hosts Nebraska.
And after the 73-14 victory over Eastern Michigan and this week's matchup with Wyoming, it might be one of the few chances for Michigan State to come up with a signature victory over a ranked opponent. The only other ranked team on Michigan State's schedule is Ohio State.
"It's a good conference, extremely competitive conference, and I just believe it's usually a matchup of teams" Dantonio said. "It's not so much a matchup of conferences; every team plays another team."
While this week's opponent doesn't come from one of the power five conferences, Wyoming has played with some of the nation's best, including Oregon.
After beating Air Force on Sept. 6, Wyoming lost at Oregon, 48-14.
Wyoming coach Craig Bohl believes that while Oregon and Michigan State are different in terms of scheme, both are among the best teams in the country.
"I vote in the coaches' poll and both those guys are in the top 10," Bohl said. "When you are at this early time in the year there is a whole group of guys vying for that top-four spot. These are two of the premier programs that enjoy a great national reputation."
Bohl knows plenty about winning, having captured three straight FCS national championships at North Dakota State before taking over at Wyoming this season.
"What we've found out about our football team is they are a very resilient, resourceful group and they embrace competition," Bohl said. "It's another opportunity for us to go out and make steps forward as a football program. I know our guys will run down that ramp at Michigan State with the mind-set to win the ball game."
Michigan State's Oct. 4 matchup against Nebraska will be televised nationally by ABC at 8 p.m.
Wyoming at Michigan State
Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing
Line: Michigan State by 30
Records: Wyoming 3-1, No. 9 Michigan State 2-1
Series: Michigan State leads 1-0 (Michigan State 21-10, Sept. 18, 1976)
Did you know? Wyoming and Michigan State share a common opponent — both lost to No. 2 Oregon.