When news broke Monday night that Steve Spurrier was retiring as the head coach at South Carolina, the instant reaction from many on social media was to start speculating at who the next head coach at South Carolina could be.
One of the names tossed around was Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, who graduated from South Carolina and played for the Gamecocks in the 1970s.
So is Dantonio going to go home?
You were expecting an answer so soon?
The first question of Dantonio's Tuesday press conference was in regards to the sudden job opening in Columbia, S.C., and he wanted no part of answering it.
Take a look:
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 13, 2015
Quickly brushing this aside seems the appropriate response for someone who's in the middle of a season — an undefeated season, at that — at a different institution.
Going from Michigan State to South Carolina at this point in time would at first glance figure to be at best a lateral move and more realistically a step down. After all, Dantonio has worked to build the Spartans into a national championship contender, turning in double-digit wins in four of the last five campaigns and finishing the last two seasons with big-time bowl victories in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl. And while it's taken a while for national observers to group Michigan State with other national powers, it seems that respect has finally arrived this season, thanks in large part to a big Week 2 win over Oregon.
Though we've seen Big Ten coaches depart what seemed like top-flight jobs for opportunities in the SEC before. Bret Bielema comes to mind, as he left Wisconsin for Arkansas after leading the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Nick Saban went from Michigan State to LSU, though that was at a time when the Spartans were nowhere the level of success they are now. To be fair, coaches who had success in the SEC have also made their way to the Big Ten for better opportunities. Urban Meyer went from Florida to Ohio State (after a year off) and James Franklin went from Vanderbilt to Penn State.
Those circumstances are all different and can't be directly compared, of course, to Dantonio's situation. But it would be an incredibly shocking move for the entrenched Dantonio to bolt East Lansing for a job rebuilding a program that's nowhere near the top of the ultra-competitive SEC.
That being said, he didn't say no.