Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is less than a week and a half removed from making one of the gutsiest calls in the school's recent memory, only to have that moment followed by a trip to the hospital to be treated for a cardiac arrest.
The college football world was shocked to learn of the news and the outpouring of support from the Michigan State community has been commendable. It has been reported that athletic director Mark Hollis and head basketball coach Tom Izzo have had contact with Dantonio "every day since he had the heart attack."
But after watching the Spartans compete on television without him, Dantonio made the decision that watching another game from the home would be counterproductive to his recovery. He has elected to return to coaching for Michigan State's conference opener against No. 11 Wisconsin, though he will do so from the press box.
I'm going to ease back into this much like anybody would after any injury," Dantonio said. "I'm going to listen to our doctors, but I am going to ease back into this and do something daily with our football team."
Dantonio said he doesn't plan to be on the field during the game.
"I would expect to be in the box on Saturday," Dantonio said. "That would be my initial plan at this point."
Dantonio watched the Northern Colorado game at home.
"I will say it was a little bit surreal watching the game at home," he said. "I had no chips. I wasn't allowed. It was different. You see your football team, or our football team, playing, and you're not there, and you've been there for four years."
Facing the Badgers at home, the Spartans have perhaps their best opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the Big Ten. Their greatest test so far was the overtime win at Notre Dame, and a victory over the reeling Badgers could give them an extra boost of confidence headed into the following week against Michigan in the Big House.
The Spartans get the Badgers at home, and do not have to play Ohio State, leaving road games against Iowa and Penn State as their most difficult challenges left on the schedule. If they can build on the 4-0 start and take advantage of the remaining schedule, Michigan State could find themselves back in postseason play for the third year in a row. Three consecutive bowl berths is a feat that has not been accomplished in East Lansing in over a decade.