Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Rivalry: Why MSU/UM Fans Can't Have Their Cake and Eat It Too

I've felt since 2008 or so that UM Basketball and MSU football have some things in common. Both are being led by coaches that have a plan. Both programs have restored their good name from the muck of mediocrity and to be honest I like both coaches. Both programs have knocked off their hated rivals too many times in a row for it to be an accident anymore. Both programs have risen and have returned to a status that is no longer embarassing but is in fact something to proud of from a university sports perspective.

So that's why it completely chaps my ass to hear some MSU fans dismissing UM's basketball team out of hand. Your UM Brother-In-Law does the same thing to MSU when MSU delivers the beatings on the gridiron. Neither set of fans can have it both ways, either a rivalry is important or it isn't.

If I wanted to whine about how MSU is having a down year, I'd be perfectly in my rights to. MSU returns 1.5 starters in Appling and Green from the 2010-2011 cancer-ridden squad of "me first". As close to a diseased team as Izzo has had in his time at MSU. We could talk about how only five of the guys on the team even averaged more than 5 minutes a game last year. So even with all that UM managed to squeak out a one point win, despite leading the whole game, despite some of the worst late game clock management I can recall from Tom in a long time. All of those things are true.

That's not what happened here though. What happened is that the team who played a better game won. They won. That sucks. I hate it when they win. I hate it even more when we lose because of some pretty iffy gamesmanship at the end. UM fans, feel free to gloat with them braggin' rights, you earned them, until February 5th anyway. But the next time I hear a UM fan talking business about how MSU basketball is going down and how the tide has turned and I ask them about football and get the "Richrod mumble, mumble, mumble" answer, I'm done being nice about it.

Either your team won or they didn't and now the braggin' rights are yours or they aren't with no qualifications. I think this is something on which real MSU/UM fans with respect for their rivals can agree.


  1. Excellent column, and there's another key point here: if it's going to really BE a rivalry, then each team needs to win once in a while. I hate to see MSU lose to Michigan any time in anything, but if we're gonna be rivals, it's gotta happen. Just not too often...

  2. Yeah, agreed. It's kind of like that bit in Star Wars where they expect Anakin to restore balance to the force when all of the Jedi are good guys? I was a little surprised that 5000 Jedi didn't understand that for one dude to balance out 5000 good people they'd need one really bad dude.