Dantonio says MSU will win vs. Gophers

After losing so many close games this year, Michigan State needs to think positively heading into its final contest of the season. The 5-6 Spartans must win at Minnesota on Saturday in order to reach a bowl.

Head coach Mark Dantonio doesn't want any negative thoughts creeping in. So he made a pretty bold statement during his news conference on Tuesday.

"When we win Saturday -- and I'll say when -- we'll be a 6-6 football team, not climbing out of the cellar as a 2-10 football team," Dantonio said.

It sure sounded like a guarantee. So I asked Dantonio later on the Big Ten coaches' call whether he was, in fact, guaranteeing a victory.

"I don't guarantee anything," he said. "I'm saying that's the mindset we bring when we come."

No doubt the Spartans, who entered the season with Rose Bowl hopes and even some outside thoughts on the national championship, don't want to contemplate a scenario that sees them missing the postseason altogether. Dantonio says making a bowl game is important for momentum.

"It's a program game for us, there's no question about that," he said. "It would be our sixth straight bowl game, so it is very significant to the program. We need to be motivated by that fact."

And their head coach will have them thinking positively.