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Michigan State's Dantonio up for national award, votes Spartans No. 2 in polls

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Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has been waiting a long time for his Spartans to earn their due. And now, he's joining in on the bandwagon approach.

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On Monday, Dantonio revealed his top 25 rankings in the country and he certainly kept his word from before his team's big match up and 34-24 victory over Ohio State last Saturday; he promised to vote his Spartans No. 2 if they beat the Buckeyes and that's just what he did.

"Well, we're 12-1, that's who we are," Dantonio said after the win last week. "I can tell you we're up there and we can play with anyone."

Michigan State has been voted No. 4 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, as well as No. 4 in the all-important BCS rankings. After this season though, the BCS system will be forever gone and the four team playoffs will be in effect; something that has most fans and coaches alike quite pleased about.

Still, Dantonio is allowed to vote himself as a head coach and his rankings after this weekend's games is as follows:

1. Florida State
2. Michigan State
3. Auburn
4. Ohio State
5. Alabama
6. Baylor
7. Stanford
8. Missouri
9. South Carolina
10. Oklahoma
11. Oregon
12. Oklahoma State
13. Clemson
14. LSU
15. Central Florida
16. Louisville
17. Arizona State
18. UCLA
19. Wisconsin
20. Fresno State
21. Duke
22. Texas A&M
23. Northern Illinois
24. Iowa
25. Minnesota

Also making headlines on Tuesday was the fact that Dantonio, who was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year before the Big Ten championship, has now been selected as one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award for national coach of the year. Should he win, it would be the first ever top in the country award for Dantonio.

Also included in the award-doting was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Pat Narduzzi, who has become one of the hottest commodities for a head coaching spot after his top-ranked defense helped to smother the second-ranked Buckeyes last Saturday. Narduzzi was announced as a finalist for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant.

Dantonio surely can't like the thought of losing his right-hand man and his extremely talented defensive coordinator, yet, he's entirely proud of all of Narduzzi's achievements. The two have been together since 2004 when Dantonio was the head coach at Cincinnati.

“He’ll make a tremendous head coach,” Dantonio said concerning Narduzzi. “But at the same time, I know he’s extremely happy here, and I know our players love him and he loves our players. I went through the same thing. … I’d hate to lose Pat Narduzzi, but I’m in this and I didn’t want Jerel Worthy to go to the NFL. You know, that is the same type of thing. I didn’t want Le’Veon (Bell) to leave or (Will) Gholston to leave.

“When the opportunity comes and the opportunity is so good that you need to take it, then that’s when you take it. But it’s got to be the right opportunity, and Pat understands that and weighs those things out.”

You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.

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