Mark Dantonio did his best to spin it in the right way. Something tells me, though, that the Michigan State players, coaches and fans are going to be upset about the Holiday Bowl bid for awhile.

On Sunday, the Outback Bowl passed on the Spartans — who finished the year 9-3 — and elected to take its in-state rival Michigan for the New Year’s Day game this year. You’ll remember, Michigan State handed the Wolverines a loss in Ann Arbor earlier this season.

That didn’t sit well with several Michigan State players, who tweeted out their frustration on Sunday afternoon.

Dantonio tried to smooth things over during his Sunday press conference, saying that this was an “opportunity to play in the Holiday Bowl” and that this was a huge improvement from last year’s 3-9 team. But he couldn’t help but go a little further and take a subtle jab at the Wolverines.

“The records are what they are,” Dantonio said of Michigan getting the Outback Bowl bid. “I’ll just continue to focus on beating Michigan.”

Dantonio has delighted in beating Michigan several times in his Michigan State career, posting an 8-3 record against the Wolverines. He’s also 2-1 against Jim Harbaugh.

Michigan State can feel disrespected by the Outback Bowl and can even feel a little disappointed at its postseason destination. But the Spartans likely enjoy Dantonio’s 8-3 mark over Michigan than any bowl appearance.