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Cook says Michigan State to have more swagger in 2014

Michigan State v Notre Dame Getty Images

Michigan State has been climbing a bit of an uphill battle on their way to a Big Ten championship last season. Always flying under the radar and playing with a chip on their shoulders, the Spartans opened some eyes last season by coming together to make a run for the Big Ten title by overcoming rough play early on, handing Ohio State their first loss under Urban Meyer and then shutting down Stanford in a defensive battle in the Rose Bowl. Now on top of the Big Ten, will the Spartans be able to stay there? If nothing else, quarterback Connor Cook is full of confidence heading in to the spring.

“Heading into 2014, our expectations are so high that I feel like anything less than a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl would be a failure,” Cook told Bruce Feldman in an interview for “But it’s different now. I feel like we’re going to have more of a swagger heading into this season.”

Michigan State will be moving to a new division in the fall as the Big Ten expands. The Spartans will remain in the same division as in-state rival Michigan, but will also be in the fray with Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana and newcomers Maryland and Rutgers. The increased exposure in the east could not have come at a better time for the program as they currently hold the Big Ten’s title belt. And if they can get out of the Big Ten’s East Division, the odds may be pretty good they can play their way right back to Pasadena, or perhaps enter the College Football Playoff discussion.

“We won the Rose Bowl. We know what we’re capable of.,” Cook explained. “It’s everyone’s dream to win a national championship, and we feel like we can do that but you just have to take it one step at a time. The main goal at our program, which is what it is every year, is to win the Big Ten championship. If you win that, you’re in a BCS bowl. But it’s still the main goal is to win the Big Ten championship and then really everything else will take care of itself.”

Cook also discussed his trianing and how he is preparing for the upcoming season with Feldman, as well as a number of other topics. You can read the full interview on

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10 Responses to “Cook says Michigan State to have more swagger in 2014”
  1. 8to80texansblog says: Mar 6, 2014 4:23 PM

    To be honest… I feel if any team in the Big 10 has a shot a national title…. it’s MSU….

    I’m not sure how many players they lost, but that defense was nasty last year and I would have loved to see MSU v FSU for all the marbles in the +1 game….

  2. seanb20124 says: Mar 6, 2014 5:45 PM

    Any chance Jayru Campbell gets admitted to the University?

  3. derekgorgonstar says: Mar 6, 2014 6:53 PM

    Awww….they had one good year, now they have “swagger”.

    Sparty is so adorable.

  4. polegojim says: Mar 6, 2014 7:06 PM

    8to8 – I’m a Michigan fan… and believe you’re 100% correct. They played extremely well, even when many doubters felt they’d cave. They never did.

    Derek – yawn… Sparty has been very solid for a while. Last season happened to be their BEST. Try to keep up.

  5. dumbpollack says: Mar 6, 2014 10:27 PM

    Big talk from an average QB.

  6. sparty0n says: Mar 6, 2014 11:14 PM

    2755 yards, 22Tds, 6Ints, 221RushYds, 1 Rush TD. Tied for 2nd in the B1G in pass TDs, was 4th in the B1G in total yards. He had a pretty good season for a RS Soph don’t you think?

    polegojim is right, things have been looking up. Confidence is fine. I just hope they don’t get over-confident and cocky. We already have one team in the state like that.

    It may be hard to believe, but we honestly think the defense will be even better in 2014.

  7. normtide says: Mar 6, 2014 11:23 PM

    I’ve got a ton of respect for MSU. They are a blue collar group who win the old fashion way, they work harder than you do. But, I agree with sparty. I prefer hunger over swagger. They win because of that chip on their shoulder. It drives them to out work and out muscle opponents. If I was their fans, I wouldn’t want them expecting to win. If you know what I mean. It is against what’s worked for them so far.

  8. dcviking says: Mar 7, 2014 9:23 AM

    Can we move on from “swagger”? Way overused in sportstalk and general venacular these days…

    If you think you’re going to be confident great, then don’t talk about it just do it —- teams that need to talk about having “swagger” generally don’t have it.. That confidence is best illustrated when your physically beating your opposition, or at least making the game so miserable for them that you find out how much heart they have. That comes from playing hard and executing well.

    Michigan St. is fully capable of doing that — I love watching them play, and I’m not really a fan.

    As a Minnesota fan, this is the program I hope that the Gopher’s emulate.

  9. cfballfan1 says: Mar 7, 2014 11:42 AM

    Cook is confident and that’s fine, but Spartan fans’ have the scarred memories of Bobby Williams and JL Smith teams’ penchant for underachieving despite good talent. None of that under Mark Dantonio – one of the best in the business – but confidence has to be tempered with the reality of what got them to this point.

  10. dumbpollack says: Mar 7, 2014 1:40 PM

    You work on the marketing staff as well as statistics at the school?! Wow. You had a great year. Now we’ll see you in Pasadina in twenty years.

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