It's not the Rose Bowl, and that disappointment still lingered as athletics director Mark Hollis and some MSU seniors spoke to the media at Kellogg Center after their annual banquet. The Spartans will take on Georgia for the second time in four years, this time in the Outback Bowl, which will be played on Jan. 2 in Tampa.
Hollis was obviously upset the Spartans were left out of the Rose Bowl, but said "The healing process started quickly and it ended quickly." He was asked about Michigan getting into the Sugar Bowl without playing. "I don't understand the BCS. … We wish all Big Ten teams success in their endeavors. We're focused on where Michigan State is going."
Hollis said he walked the streets of Indianapolis for a long time after the game Saturday night. He's a guy who has pointed to the Rose Bowl since he came to MSU and talked again about how special it is to him. So obviously, he described Saturday night as painful. But he said as he walked the streets, he noticed a "cohesion" among Spartan fans stronger than ever.
He's disappointed, but said the Spartans wouldn't have any "sour grapes" about where they're going. Asked if the Spartan fan base should be offended, Hollis emphasized how well MSU has traveled to Florida for bowls and to Indy on Saturday. His job now turns to selling the game to fans, as MSU was given an allotment of 11,500 tickets and Hollis needs to make sure the fans aren't sick of Florida yet.
Trenton Robinson was only asked a couple questions, and said he was still hurting.
B.J. Cunningham might be a little more excited than any other Spartan, as he hasn't played in a bowl since the 2009 Capital One Bowl against Georgia his freshman year. He was suspended for the 2009 Alamo Bowl after the Rather Hall incident and was injured for last season's Capital One Bowl. Both Cunningham and Foreman emphasized how goals are still ahead of them. MSU hasn't won a bowl game under Dantonio and the seniors was to go out on a high note. A bowl win against an SEC team surely would be a step for the program.
Kirk Cousins still appeared to be visually upset about Saturday night. He reiterated that it was the worst loss of his athletic career. You could still sense the sadness in his voice. He pointed out that you don't usually see teams win 21 games in two years and miss out on BCS. Unfortunately for him, MSU missed that chance to gain major respect. He ended with some positive comments, mentioning how it's funny MSU is upset being ranked No. 13 and going to a New Year's Day bowl, and that no one would have imagined that three years ago. He said MSU is here to last.
Mark Dantonio was supposed to speak, but apparently he left and his cell phone was dead. I'm sure he would have loved the U-M questions that were going to come his way.
Some of Cousins comments from the postgame presser were brought up to Michigan players. Perhaps not a coincidence, MSU players began lighting up Twitter ranting against the Wolverines and the BCS. I'll have more on this tomorrow. This rivalry stuff is heated.