MSU chance for playoff spot all over oddsmakers' boards

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — A lot of people around college football aren't convinced the Big Ten will place a team in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Ask those in the south, and they figure it should just be an all-Southeastern Conference event.

But head out to Las Vegas, and there is a different view. So different, in fact, that Vegasinsiders.com has Michigan State as the favorite to win the national championship at 13-2.

With Michigan State preparing to face Indiana on Saturday, coach Mark Dantonio doesn't believe love from the oddsmakers will have any effect on the way his team plays.

"I think all you have to do is turn on the film," Dantonio said. "First of all, you look for your deficiencies, you need to understand where you are at, and you need to understand that you always need to continue to rise toward the top. But you also need to point towards reasons people are talking about that, too, because we have a lot of strengths, as well.

"Again, you have to stay grounded.

"You've got to come to Sunday meetings to get grounded sometimes, because that's when you're going to see the good things you did, see the things that need to get better."

There are varying degrees of belief in Michigan State among oddsmakers.

■ Michigan State is listed 15-2 to win the title by Bovada.com, third behind Florida State and Mississippi State.

■ Michigan State is 20-1 to reach the playoff by FootballBettingCenter.com. Ten teams have better odds of reaching the final four.

Regardless of what prognosticators believe, Dantonio is glad his team is in the middle of the discussion.

"We want those expectations," he said.

"I don't think that's something that we don't want. We all want to get there, but I think that it's the journey, how you go through the journey."

Dantonio's 100th game

When Dantonio arrived at Michigan State in 2007, the idea of coaching 100 games seemed far-fetched. But that's where he is headed into Saturday's game.

"That's almost unthinkable when you're starting (game) No. 1," he said. "I think we tried to do it the right way, and I think that there's consistency in what we've done."

What they've done is win 69 games and capture two Big Ten titles and three straight bowl victories.

Will Dantonio be here for another 100? He didn't close the door on that possibility.

"Who knows what the rules will be like?" he said. "I think the challenge is in the future because I think the landscape is changing. I think we're in a period right now where there will be a lot of change in college football, whether it's rules on the field or whether it's rules in recruiting or the setups of conferences. … It will be interesting to watch that, (but) I plan to be here."

Injured center expected to play

Center Jack Allen (left ankle) was listed No. 1 on the depth chart Tuesday. Dantonio didn't address the severity of the junior's injury but said last weekend he does not expect it to affect Allen's status for Indiana.

If Allen is limited, senior Connor Kruse likely would move over from right guard with junior Donavon Clark at right guard and sophomore Kodi Kieler at right tackle.

Michigan State at Indiana

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.

TV/radio: ESPN/WJR

Records: No. 8 Michigan State 5-1 (2-0 Big Ten), Indiana 3-3 (0-2)

Line: Michigan State by 14

Series: Michigan State leads 43-15-2 (Michigan State 42-28, Oct. 12, 2013)

Did you know? Indiana RB Tevin Coleman has a touchdown in 15 consecutive games.

matt.charboneau@detroitnews.com

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