Ever wonder if Florida State would have still won the 2013 national title if the College Football Playoff was in effect? Michigan State Mark Dantonio does, and he thinks his Spartans would have won it.
"I thought we would have been National Champions, to be perfectly honest with you," Dantonio said Tuesday at Big Ten media days (via SpartanMag.com). "I think we would have had a shot to do that, because I thought at the end of the season, we were playing great football, and we were believing in ourselves. Were we there at the beginning of the season? No. But we were playing our best football in November, and then into the (Big Ten) Championship game and then the Rose Bowl. We were like this (taking off). That wasn't necessarily the case for some other teams.
The hypothetical isn't as simple as Dantonio's Rose Bowl-winning team playing Florida State and Jameis Winston for the title after both teams won their bowl games. The FSU-Auburn matchup was the top two teams in the final BCS standings while Michigan State was No. 4 and Stanford was No. 5.
In the College Football Playoff's format, No. 1 plays No. 4 in the semifinals while No. 2 plays No. 3. Assuming the top four seeds would hold via the BCS rankings, FSU would have played Michigan State in one semifinal while the other would be an Iron Bowl rematch between Auburn and Alabama.
Dantonio said he believed Michigan State was good enough to play in the BCS Championship Game.
"You guys know what I said (about that game)," he said. "I felt like we could play in that game. I do. I just felt like we had a good enough football team to play in that game and be competitive."
While it's easy to wave off Dantonio's points about his team as simple support for his its accomplishments, they're not easily dismissable either. Would Michigan State have been a favorite over Florida State or an SEC opponent in a College Football Playoff? Probably not.
But the Spartans weren't favorites over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game or against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Spartans beat OSU by 10 and Stanford by four. With a 10-game winning streak and a defense that only gave up 13 points per game in 2013, Dantonio has every right to be confident. And besides, what's college football without playing the "what-if?" game?
For more Michigan State news, visit SpartanMag.com.
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