Spartans know Saturday is playoff elimination game

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing – The national media is portraying this weekend in college football as "elimination Saturday."

Right in the middle of that will be No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Ohio State. Like many other matchups around the country, the team that comes up short will more than likely be knocked out of the race for the College Football Playoff.

And while the players understand that every game is important, this one has more meaning than most.

"I personally feel like the playoff system starts this weekend," Michigan State linebacker Taiwan Jones said. "It's a one-game elimination."

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has continually emphasized to his team that the playoff is down the road. Winning a conference championship comes first. If that doesn't happen, any talk of the playoffs is pointless.

"It's not the biggest game," Dantonio said. "The biggest game will still be coming. No question it's a big game. It's everything you want in a college football game.

"But for us, we're still playing for a Big Ten championship and trying to get into division championship. Right now, the focus has to be on what's occurring right now, and Ohio State is occurring right now."