somehow we're only 124th
I am curious about your thoughts as to what the current biggest rivalry game is for the men's basketball team . . .
Back in my day (1993-97), I think the majority would say that the Duke game in December was the biggest rivalry game. (It seemed to get the most attention and draw the biggest number of students sleeping out and lining up to get first-come, first-serve seats.) After the Fab Five left, it seems like the Michigan State games became the biggest rivalry games. Now, being further removed from the program, I'm not sure as to what the general sentiment is on campus. Is Michigan State the biggest rival? Ohio State? I'm interested in reading your thoughts.
Wisconsin has delivered a win. Indiana screwed the pooch against Boston College. Purdue is losing to Va Tech. Looks like we have to cheer for Penn State (I can't cheer for Sparty). One win from winning the challenge. Come on someone...
Seeing as Northwestern has just gone up 17-0 over MSU, I was wondering if MSU plays better without Dantonio on the sidelines? With him being in the Tressel coaching tree, it would seem that he would have some conservative playcalling tendencies (fake punt against ND notwithstanding) that may have been shelved by his assistants during the Wisy and Michigan games. Anyone watch enough of those games to weigh in?
While the bye week is good for the team and getting people healthy, personally I am having difficulty with it. There is still the bad taste in my mouth from the Iowa game, and all I want is to cleanse my palate with a UM win. But, sadly, I wont get that for at least another week.
So, my question is: what are you all doing to cope with the bye week today? Is it a Wife Day, like Six Zero, or something different? Going to the bar to watch some other good match-ups from around the country? Photoshopping Lloyd Brady a little more?
Personally, I will be spending my Saturday reflecting on glories past. I will be watching the Capital One Bowl victory over Florida, the overtime wins against State, the 2008 Wiscy game, and the 2005 Penn State game, to name a few. I plan on using this Saturday to bask in the past, and renew my hopes for this year and years to come.
Please share your Saturday plans, and maybe help some others find ways to deal with the off-week.
The upcoming Michigan - Michigan State game has a certain life all its own inside my brain right now. There are weird images (a feral MSU linebacker with no facial features except glowing eyes gnawing on Denard's bad knee after a tackle)...
...uninformed thoughts (why doesn’t GERG use press coverage when blitzing?), stark colors (radiant maize, cerebral blue, chyme green and an ink cloud of black despair waiting to descend, hovering just out of view), graphic sounds (Fight Club quality bone crunching, the Victors after the winning touchdown, a cartoon whoosh whoosh whoosh sound in my mind that accompanies every Denard breakaway), numbers (200/200, 120, 0.73663, 480, 9-3, 877, 16, 4) and a whole lot of emotions; quite honestly, more bad ones than good ones. All this wraps up into an ill-defined knot inside me as I both anticipate and dread the opening kickoff.
It occurred to me that 25 years ago my impressions of Saturday's contest would be so different as to be unrecognizable. I was just as big a fan back then. Yet, today, my love of Michigan football has so many more data points as to render my 1980s fandom a primitive, low-tech thing resembling Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13 sweating inside a simulator with a flashlight between his teeth trying to figure out how to splash down a spaceship on 20 amps of power.
All this data has, I think, distorted our view of the game. We have analyzed our way into believing that Michigan State is an emerging power that inevitably must eviscerate a statistically helpless Michigan defense.
I say hogwash.
Two decades ago, I would be moving about my week calmly expecting a Michigan victory, because two decades ago it would be the résumé that mattered, not hyper-analysis of data that promotes fear and generates such concepts as RPS-3, Chappellbombing and PAN. My understanding of the team would be that we have a great offense with a great quarterback and a schizophrenic defense, but that we were still winning. I would never have tried (and failed) to figure out a Cover-2 zone or known our national pass defense ranking or even known where Greg Robinson had coached before.
But I would know the résumés, and based upon the résumés, I would have concluded that an oddly unbalanced, uncharacteristic Michigan team nonetheless possessed the strongest résumé of any team in the Big 10.
Say what?! Prove it.
No numbers; we are in a variable-free zone and channeling both 1985 and common sense at the same time.
Michigan Wolverines Résumé
Michigan has beaten two major teams back to back, the second one on the road. The first was a beatdown of a bowl winning team from the year before with almost everyone back. The second was an always talented and very emotional Notre Dame team at home with an unexpected bonus: a competent coach. Michigan won its first Big 10 game, an away game against a serious offense. A shaky squeaker against a good FCS team mars the résumé.
- Ohio State? Four home games with a solid win against a charitable Miami team, three cupcakes, and a lackluster win over a bad Illinois team. Fail.
- Iowa? Not bad, but they lost to Arizona. Fail.
- Wisconsin? Three cupcakes, a squeaker and a beatdown. Fail.
- Northwestern? Five cupcakes with extra icing, cherries, sprinkles and a cream filling. Fail.
- And Michigan State? Five home games, three cupcakes, a less impressive win against a common opponent at home, and a solid win against an overrated Big 10 “power.” Fail.
If preseason polls were outlawed and this year’s Big 10 teams, like 11 sprinters in the blocks, were off at the sound of the gun, Michigan would be in the lead. That’s what I would have known.
I am going to finish my week calmly expecting a Michigan victory.
I didn't see this posted or in my search results. It is John Chait's take today on the importance of this MSU game.
Having lived outside Michigan and now being back in Michigan, I couldn't agree more. Some of us in state Michigan fans have a skewed perspective.
A few highlights:
If you're a Michigan fan living in state, you probably think this is a must-win game. Having lost two straight year to the Spartans, a third loss would signal an irrevocable shift in momentum. MSU would take its place as the state's dominant program, recruiting will follow, and Michigan will be plunged into a Dark Age.
You'd be wrong.
On the story vs. fact ...
Dantonio has positioned his team as the embodiment of the old Michigan virtues that have supposedly fallen by the wayside under Rodriguez: toughness, discipline, Midwestern values. That in actual fact Rodriguez has run a tight ship, and Dantonio a halfway house disguised as a football program, has not blunted the force of this message. Stories are more powerful than facts.