Bullough led Michigan State with 89 tackles in 2011 and had three in a 33-30 overtime Outback Bowl win over Georgia in January.
Winning a Big Ten championship has been, and will continue to be, the goal for the Spartans under coach Mark Dantonio.
And Bullough says his team is ready to pursue the conference title.
"We still haven't been to the Rose Bowl yet as a class or as an era, whatever that may be," Bullough said in an interview with Spartan Mag. "We are excited to try and fulfill that challenge this year.
"That is one of the main goals on my template is to win the Big Ten Championship and that is even bigger than beating Georgia last year. Little things like that keep this team going. Hopefully they can even help us build upon the great seasons we have had the last two years into a great total for four years."
The Spartans lost just one linebacker to graduation in the offseason, Steve Gardiner. While the core of linebackers remains intact this season, Bullough will still have to take on the brunt of the load. He made an immediate impact in 2011 after the Spartans lost Eric Gordon and Greg Jones, two of the defense's leaders.
It would be easy to assume that he feels less pressure this year or that he's dialed back his intensity after an 11-3 season. But that's not the case.
"I think as much as it is getting there first and being there last, it is what you do when you are there," Bullough told Spartan Mag. "I think that is as big as anything when you are doing lifts and runs. It is about leading by example. I think leading by example is one of the best ways be a leader. Obviously speak when you need to and be vocal when you need to, but leading by example I think is the most important asset."
Having such an assertive player that knows what's on the line is important. Michigan State's defense was one of the best in the Big Ten in 2011, surrendering 18.4 points and 277 yards per game in conference play. Strong defense became one of Michigan State' calling cards a year ago, and will likely be one this season -- mostly out of necessity.
This could be a year where the Spartans start nearly from scratch offensively since Kirk Cousins, Edwin Baker and their top three receivers are no longer with the team. So while the offense gets its bearings, the defense will undoubtedly have to keep pace with what it did last year to keep Michigan State competitive during this all-important transition phase.
But like the offense, the defense lost a few key contributors, too: Safety Trenton Robinson, defensive tackles Tyler Hoover and Jerel Worthy, and cornerback Johnny Adams.
Marcus Rush and William Gholston will likely get a chance to assist Bullough in the middle of the field, but the expectations to lead the group are on Bullough, a third generation Spartans football player. And from the tone of his recent interviews, Bullough is up for the challenge.
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA football for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans.
Adam can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.