Friday, October 28, 2016

Michigan: Michigan State Game

Michigan State has beaten Michigan in seven out of the last eight football games they've played. This has gotten Michigan's attention, perhaps even more so than the number one rivalry with Ohio State. In 2007 an ill-advised, albeit accurate off the cuff comment by former Michigan running back Mike Hart describing Michigan State as "little brother" enraged MSU players, coaches and fans. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio skillfully used that description to play up MSU's sense of resentment and puncture what some saw as Michigan's sense of entitlement. Since 2008, MSU has routinely taken Michigan to the woodshed and given them a whupping. With one or two exceptions the games were not as competitive as the final scores indicated. MSU had better players: bigger, faster, stronger, smarter and meaner. And MSU had the better coach. Former Michigan coaches Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke were mostly hapless against the sharper Dantonio.  For eight years I've had to hear it from relatives or friends who attended Michigan State. Eight long years. Finally the powers that be at my alma mater noticed that the former rivalry game was on the verge of becoming irrelevant. Dantonio's constant jibes probably helped with that process. Michigan hired former San Francisco Forty Niners (and Stanford) coach and U-M alum Jim Harbaugh, making him the highest paid coach in college football.  In his second year Harbaugh currently has the undefeated Michigan Wolverines ranked at #2 in the nation.  Although he has yet to beat the Spartans, Harbaugh has turned around the Michigan football program more quickly than anticipated. Meanwhile, after a long run of success the Spartans have fallen on hard times. They are winless in the Big Ten and have lost five games in a row, including to such powderpuff programs as Maryland and Northwestern. Although nothing is sure in college football (remember MSU beat Michigan last year on the very last play of the game) this year's game between Michigan and Michigan State should see Michigan prevail. 

But I don't want to just prevail. No, no, no that would not do. Not by a long shot.

I want to stomp MSU into whimpering submission. I want to run up the score. I want to go for two after every touchdown. I want to burn down East Lansing and salt the smoldering remains, speaking metaphorically of course. I want to beat MSU so badly that children yet to be born speak in hushed whispers of the 2016 massacre. So hopefully we'll do that this Saturday and start the long overdue process of restoring U-M to its rightful place as Kings of the North and Champions of the West.
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