Spartans have unfinished business in 2012

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Mark Dantonio spoke of unfinished business in his sixth season as Michigan State's head football coach, yet the growth in the first five years is unmistakable.

After back-to-back 11-win seasons, a Big Ten title, a berth in the first conference championship game and a triple-overtime bowl win over an SEC runner-up, the Spartans have gained national respect and stamped themselves as a Rose Bowl contender.

With eight starters back from one of the country's top defenses, the questions are whether fourth-year junior Andrew Maxwell can replace school career passing leader Kirk Cousins and a young corps of wide receivers can do the job with a demanding schedule. It starts with a visit from Boise State on Aug. 31.