at least it's not just us?
Recently I've been wondering how any other in-state rivalries compare to the Wolverines & Spartans. In the (state of) Michigan case, we have one school that has historically dominated another school on and off the field (if not the court, ha). How might that be quantified? Well, these two resources were helpful:
Michigan has a 68.8% winning percentage against MSU and is a whopping 45 spots ahead of it in the U.S. News and World Report ranking (for what it's worth). Domination, correct?
What other in-state rivalries compare? Sticking to apples-and-apples comparisons, there aren't many. This will be restricted to BCS-level public schools. So, I won't be comparing USC and UCLA or OSU and Kent State.
Here are the rivalries where the dominant football school (one that has won at least 60% of the games) is at least forty spaces ahead in the academic ranking. The number shown is the difference between rankings.
**: Texas and Texas Tech (which is a "Tier 3" school, meaning it's ranked somewhere beyond 130, which means that the difference is at least 83, since UT is #47)
75: Washington and Washington State
53: North Carolina and NC State
53: Florida and Florida State
47: Clemson and South Carolina
45: UM and MSU
41: Kansas and Kansas State
Here's how the ranking looks for football (with winning percentage):
74.1%: Texas and Texas Tech
68.8%: UM and MSU
65.2%: Washington and Washington State
64.6%: North Carolina and NC State
63.7%: Kansas and Kansas State
62.4%: Clemson and South Carolina
61.1%: Florida and Florida State
So, by the numbers, Texas Tech is much more of a little brother to Texas than MSU is to UM. It could be that it's just accepted there, unlike here. Any Texans care to comment on that? UW and WSU have impressive numbers, too. I have the sense that it's similar to our rivalry. None of the other rivalries (despite the impressive numbers) seem comparable. UNC, Clemson, and Kansas aren't historical football powers. Florida is obviously at the top of the heap now, but FSU has had some good years in the modern age.
1. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Stop Michigan State Early.
-On State's first drive, they had 4 penalties for 50 yards. Their drive was 80 yards. That's 130 yards total of offense they had to create. Anytime a team gets a personnel foul 15 yard penalty, it normally KILLS the drive. There are two reasons why it didn't here: Both times it was AFTER the play, so it merely set MSU back, rather than 2nd and 25, it was 1st and 10 from 15 yards back. Second, Michigan failed to make MSU pay for the chop block penalty that set them at 2nd and 25. Instead, they allowed Cousins to scramble and practically erase the penalty. More on that later. Through out the entire first half, Michigan's defense did not stop State on 3rd down until late in their drives, if at all.
2. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Contain
-A couple plays come to mind: namely every time Cousins scrambled out of the pocket, he picked up at least 10 yards because our defense lost contain and could not close in fast enough. We got KILLED by this the whole game. Give props to Cousins for seeing that massive hole to run through, because it was his for the taking. Our defense just could not stop him at all. And let's not mention that end-around where Michigan had the play resolved and just had to make the tackle, but somehow managed to allow Martin to run around the entire defense and turn a 3-4 yard loss into an 18 yard gain.
3. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Get Turnovers
-MSU presented plenty of opportunities for the Wolverine's to get a turnover by having I believe three or four fumbles during the game, only one of which was recovered. Granted one bounced literally into the arms of MSU's Grant as he was getting up from a block, but the others were recoverable. We were able to force the turnovers but we just couldn't recover them.
4. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Get Pressure And Disrupt The Pocket
-This goes hand-in-hand with number 2. Giving Cousins and Nichol over 5 seconds to throw and not coming up with a sack is ridiculous. Giving them over 5 seconds to throw and then letting them scramble for 15 yards is just inexcusable. Our defensive front got beat all day long. Yea you can say they showed poise on the early goalline stand, or the Brandon Graham I'll-Knock-You-Into-Next-Year-When-I-Don't-Get-Blocked tackle on MSU's Winston, but overall they didn't show up.
Okay, enough gripe about the defense, we know they sucked coming into this game, but how about the offense with Tate the Great?
5. The Inability of Michigan's Receivers to Catch a Pass
-Seriously, how many dropped balls did we have in the first half? Like a billion? Ok, only about 4 or so, but still. It seemed like our receivers just could not hang onto the ball or make a catch all game long. Tate would scramble around and make the throw only to have it fall through someone's hands, or be caught and then jarred loose. Give credit again to MSU for delivering big hits on a couple of those, but some had the receiver wide open and they just dropped it.
6. The Inability of Michigan's Offense to Adjust to MSU's Defensive Front
-When you continuously try to run the ball up the middle the whole game, and continuously get stuffed, how does that make a good game plan? Carlos Brown thrives on speed and being able to blow by people, not run up the middle and pound it out; that's Minor's job. Michigan needed to find ways to get Carlos outside in space, rather than have him try to get yards by going forward up the middle.
7. The Inability of Michigan's Offense to Convert Turnovers
-Biggest case, the opening series. Got a great turnover early and a touchdown would have been icing on the cake to start the game. Instead, the most Michigan can muster is a net 5 yard loss and tack up the field goal. Had Michigan scored there, the entire game is different. Then again later in the 3rd quarter, a clutch interception takes away three points, and what does Michigan do? Makes the most confusing play call of all-time.
8. The Worst Play Call of All-Time
-4th and inches, deep in their own territory, Michigan opts to kick it...except not. Instead, Zoltan tries to run from 8 yards deep to get to the first. Normally on fake punts it goes to one of the guys setting up the block, not the punter. And if it does go to the punter, it's normally a pass, because he's so far deep. In that scenario if Michigan truly wanted to go for it, give the ball to Brandon Minor, or have Tate get under center and push. Either way, that play could have changed the game had Michigan's defense not miraculously held MSU to a field goal.
9. Michigan Did Not Want It
-If you watched the game, you could see the hunger and desire in the eyes of the players of MSU. They wanted this win. This win could turn around their season and give them a shot at a Big Ten Title run. This win would define the rest of their season. For Michigan, it seemed the players were content with starting 4-0 (and then 4-1) and the passion was not there as it was for MSU. Granted, it was in East Lansing, but that does not excuse the fact that Michigan's effort was severely lacking compared to MSU the entire game. I don't know if players weren't focused or what, but they just didn't seem as into it as MSU.
10. Tate Can't Do Everything Himself
-Out of the Michigan players, this is the one kid that did want it. His two fourth quarter drives proved it. He wanted to win, and he wanted it badly. He did everything in his power to guide his team to victory, but in the end it wasn't enough. He can't carry the whole team by himself; he needs support from the other players. Tate will be great, of that there is no doubt, as it already has been proven. But every great player has a great supporting cast, and others now need to step up.
Michigan did not win this game, because they had no business being in this game. Those last fourth quarter drives were unearned and Michigan did not deserve to be in overtime with Michigan State. The result is what it should have been, a loss for Michigan. The Wolverine's took their early successes as an excuse to look past MSU, especially given MSU's 3-1 start. But now Michigan needs to regroup and refocus for next week, and continue to take the season one game at a time.
This was a tough loss to handle, especially after tying the game and going into overtime. But next week's game is going to be harder. Iowa brings a defense that is 3rd in the Big Ten behind Penn State (#1) and Ohio State (#2). They won't need to outscore the Wolverine's if their defense does their job, and their offense should be fine against Michigan's porous defense. Michigan needs to step up and find other role players on both sides of the ball that can make plays. This is the spot of college football, and on any given Saturday, any team can win.
Great article for those of you who have Rivals... It is a Chait article and the Title Says most of it's point:
MSU on the Rise Again (And Again, And Again...)
This is something that I think is a great point and one that I hope our Basketball team sheds soon. It seems like everytime MSU goes 8-4 or hires a new hot shot coach - I hear all this hype as if they are on the cusp of something big.
I mean what is on the rise for this program? Would it be a legitimate run at the Conference Championship? Starting 5-0 at some point? Be a preseason Nat. Championship "dark horse"?
Thoughts? Hopefully our Basketball team is back on top for good. But Seriously it is as if MSU Football is a Phoenix that never fully rises from the ashes.
Maybe they should make towels, "MSU, on the rise...AGAIN"
I know that Mike Hart got us started on the "little brother" analogy, and as much as I am a Mike Hart fan, I just don't agree with calling MSU the little brother. Here is what I think of when I think of a little brother:
- Someone who you hope has success
- Someone you would cheer for
- Someone you can sympathize for
- Someone you (probably) have a few things in common with
To me, Sparty isn't any of these things. I hate MSU, for all the reasons here and more. I hope they lose every game except maybe ND. I hope they tie ND. And I will never feel sorry for them no matter how badly they get embarrassed. MSU is more like the evil stepsister to this year's somewhat-cinderalla Michigan team.
I am hoping to tag another team as "little brother." Namely, the EMU Eagles. Back to the above little bro characteristics from before. I hope Eastern does well for the remainder of this season and in the future. Remember Mike Hart's comments about playing one-on-one basketball with your little brother? I don't recall it verbatum, but it had something to do with letting him hang around in the game, giving him a little confidence before ultimately you beat him. I don't want to give MSU any confidence. I want to blow them out. Eastern, on the other hand, I looked at and thought, "aww, I hope we win handily but I dont want to embarrass this team." That has a little more "little brother" sentiment to it, don't you think? I felt bad for the Eagles when they lost to Northwestern on that last FG. Lastly, we have more in common with EMU. Ron English is their coach, and thought I don't disagree with RR deciding to let him go (differeing philosophies sure I get it), I think he's a good coach and I wish him success anywhere he goes that isn't OSU, MSU, ND, USC or any SEC school. And who here isn't a Tyrone Wheatly fan? He's coaching EMU running backs. Now that makes me feel less terrible about Dwayne Priest running wild in the first half last week. They are our little brother, we had to let them stick around and build some confidence, just like Mike Hart described.
So, to me:
EMU = little brother
MSU = Evil stepsister
So my question to the MGoCommunity is this: Are you happy with calling sparty "little bro?" Or is eastern a better fit?
A slightly re-edited version of the altered Michigan State fight song we used to sing after the annual little brother beating.
An hour North of ol' Ann Arbor,
There's a team if I recall
Got a massive shoulder chip,
'Cause the Spartans can't play ball...
Blow right through ol' M-S-U
Watch the points keep growing
Spartan teams are going to lose
They're fighting Sylvia Rimm.*
See their defense transferring,
We're gonna win again,
FIGHT! FIGHT! RAW TEAM FIGHT!
Your older brother's proud of you!
* From Wikipedia: According to child psychologist Sylvia Rimm, sibling rivalry is particularly intense when children are very close in age and of the same gender, or where one child is intellectually gifted.
I just had to rant about how our annoying Little Brother couldn't have a decent enough record to make sure the game this weekend is on ESPN/ESPN2/ABC. I think my sentiments about potentially not being able to watch the game can be well represented by this kid:
Thank you Little Brother for relegating the game to the Big Ten Network that a lot of us don't have access to.
This is just like the time when I had to go to my little brother's 3rd grade soccer game instead of watching the first half of The Game in 1999. Though my brother's 3rd grade soccer team had better playmakers than this year's Sparty squad.
I guess the silver lining is that Pam Ward won't be doing commentary. And I will probably figure out a way to watch the game in the end.
Sorry for the rant. I just hate when a little brother brings you down. But while I have your attention. Let me open it up for discussion. What's the biggest Michigan game you guys have been forced to miss watching/attending in your lives? And who do you blame for making you miss it? (Please call people out)
Mine would have to be the Michigan/Colorado "Hail Mary" game cause frickin ABC wouldn't change over from some other obscure regional Pac-10 game. Instead I had to sit there watching the ticker change from us having a two score lead...to a one score lead with 6 seconds or whatever it was left...to the heartbreaking final score. I guess I should be happy I didn't have to watch the actual play in real time. But my 12 year-old psyche was crushed as our national title hopes went out the window. F*CK YOU Kordell Stewart!
That is all.