So, with the basketball game coming up on Tuesday against MSU, I was chatting with some co-workers who happen to be State fans/grads about rivalries. We all know who the big dog is for us in football at least: Ohio. My question to you all is does this rivalry translate to the other sport's or is there another more meaningful game on the calendar?
To me, I want to beat Ohio in everything obviously, but I think MSU might be the bigger rival when it comes to basketball and hockey, and I claim to know nothing about our baseball or other sports' rivals. Agree? Disagree? Blasphemy? Discuss.
This is my attempt to bury some of my lingering bitterness from Saturday. Feel free to join me if you think it’d be therapeutic or to ignore me if it’s too “Kumbaya” for your tastes or you aren’t ready.
Something nice about Michigan:
Although it’s hard to see this in the immediate aftermath of a tough loss, I honestly think the long-term outlook for Michigan football is better, not worse, because of Saturday. Part of that is having an emotional game to rally around, but more than that, I’m blown away by the integrity displayed by our coaches and players this weekend. They were remarkably composed on the field and gracious in defeat, refusing chance after chance to take the bait from an MSU player or reporter. I think we’ll be very proud of how this program operates for the foreseeable future, and this integrity will help on the field through both recruiting and building camaraderie and trust.
Also, I was thinking about how emotionally many of us reacted to the cheap shots on our players, and it speaks to how highly we think of these kids. Honestly, when I see Denard’s head being twisted like that, it feels like someone’s hurting my friend, brother, or cousin, and I react accordingly. Like usual, we’re fortunate to have such a great group of kids representing us.
Something nice about Michigan State (bonus points):
I’ve been rambling about the nature of rivalries for a few weeks now (http://mgoblog.com/diaries/typology-college-rivalries), but there’s something about the Michigan-MSU rivalry, structurally, that bothers me. It bothered me when Michigan was dominant and it bothers me now. Many of us interact daily with family, friends, and coworkers with MSU blood, and this rivalry generates unnecessary tension between great, smart people on each side of it. My life would be much worse without the Sparties I care about, and I suspect that’s true for many of you, too. Unfortunately, this game often brings out the worst in us in a very targeted way.
(As for Ohio State, though, screw the bastards.)
Something nice about Mark Dantonio (mega bonus points):
Okay, I’m stretching the limits of my kindness here, but I actually like that Dantonio so openly embraces the importance of the Michigan game. There’s something honest and respectable about saying “this is far and away the most important game of our season” when it clearly isn’t for one’s opponent. Part of me hopes that OSU comes after him just because I think he’d add even more life and passion to that rivalry.
Something nice about MGoBlog:
Without having a community of passionate fans to celebrate and mourn with after Michigan games, I’d think I’d honestly push a few of my family and friends to weigh the costs and benefits of murder-suicide. Neurotic as you all are, I appreciate you.
I've been thinking about rivalries lately, as I think they're among the most endearing features of college sports. It struck me that there are some similarities across rivalries - often rooted in the types of schools involved - that enable a rough classification into certain types of rivalries (and the feelings involved).
These aren't perfect or complete, of course, and I'm sure that I've mislabeled a couple of the rivalries here, but just for fun...
Rivalry Type #1: The one-game season
For some schools, a rivalry game is of such importance relative to the rest of the schedule that these season-defining games will be the one event that energizes each school’s fan base. However, the animosity between schools is relatively mild, probably because people attend these schools for reasons other than sports. The rivalry game affords students and alumni a fun annual foray into passionate intercollegiate athletics, but the rivalry is revered more than the rival is detested.
-- Army vs. Navy
-- Harvard vs. Yale
-- Lehigh vs. Lafayette
Rivalry Type #2: In-state “big brother” vs. “little brother”
If one rivalry type is inherently unhealthy for all involved, it’s that between two schools from the same state where one school seems almost objectively preferable to prospective students. This is where the dominant school is both academically superior and more relevant on the national sports scene. The dominant school’s attitude toward its rival, epitomized by Mike Hart’s “little brother” comments, is dismissive irritation, as the dominant school rolls its eyes at its rival’s obsession with the dominant school and delusion about the subordinate school’s national relevance. The subordinate school’s attitude toward its rival, epitomized by Rufus the Bobcat’s premeditated attack on Brutus, is visceral hatred. The structural danger in these rivalries is that the dominant school essentially holds a trump card – superior academics / higher admissions standards – so the subordinate school finds itself in an unwinnable battle for respect from its condescending in-state rival.
-- Michigan vs. Michigan State
-- Texas vs. Texas Tech
-- Oregon vs. Oregon State
Rivalry Type #3: In-state twin brothers
Similar to Rivalry Type #2 in that these rivalries often pit family members, friends, and neighbors against one another, these rivalries lack the clear hierarchy of the “big brother” – “little brother” rivalries. The schools have similar attitudes toward one another, and the driving motivation is bragging rights, since fans and alumni of one school find themselves in constant contact with fans and alumni of the rival school. Like Rivalry Type #2, these games tend to be much more relevant locally than nationally, but they’re true, fair battles that dominate headlines in that state as the rivalry game approaches.
-- Auburn vs. Alabama
-- Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
-- Arizona vs. Arizona State
Rivalry Type #4: Neighboring state public schools
With a different dynamic from in-state rivalries, public schools from neighboring states can produce rivalries that are more unifying than divisive. Here, daily contact with rival fans is less inevitable, and local newspapers, stores, television stations, and public figures openly cheer for one side over the other. The competition is about athletics, not academics, since in-state tuition differences and preferences for in-state schools mean that students/alumni of each school commonly will not consider the other. School pride and state pride often become intertwined, and the best of Rivalry Type #4 comes from schools with comparably (and highly) powerful football programs.
-- Michigan vs. Ohio State
-- Texas vs. Oklahoma
-- Pitt vs. West Virginia
-- Florida vs. Georgia
Rivalry Type #5: Academically strong public vs. private
One notable class of rivalries involves geographically proximate stellar schools, where one is public and the other private. Many of our oldest universities are among our best universities, so these schools typically have long histories that include extended periods during which the competing schools had exceptional teams. Today, these rivalries are defined by a mutual respect for the other institution and distaste for the type of person who would attend it. Even when one school is arguably better academically than the other, the schools are different enough culturally – but each strong enough academically – that reasonable people could choose to attend each school. The distaste for the type of person in one’s rival school is most commonly voiced by the public school, which finds its private school rival stuffy, entitled, uppity, and sheltered.
-- UCLA vs. USC
-- Cal vs. Stanford
-- UNC vs. Duke (basketball)
-- Michigan vs. Notre Dame
With the way the Western game finished and the discussion that has commenced, I figured I would share this with the Mgocommunity:
I was recently watching the HBO documentary on the UM-OSU rivalry and heard an interesting piece of information that I had (somehow) missed when I had watched it previously. When I first heard it, I had just moved to Ohio and thought to myself "Hey, this is a nice little piece of history to bring up to locals talking smack."
This history happens to be the result of the UM-OSU game in 1902, played in Ann Arbor, in which the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes by a whopping score of 86-0. However, the most interesting part of this game was how it ended. A quick Googling of the game brought up "The Ohio State Football Encyclopedia," stating the following about the game:
Ohio State was thoroughly humiliated at Michigan, 86-0, in the fifth game on October 25 . The score could have been far worse had the officials not stopped the contest midway through the second half "simply because the game was getting out of hand."
Interestingly enough, this game is also the highest combined score in any UM-OSU game as well, without the Buckeyes scoring a single point.
Now, I am unsure as to if this was officially the first ever home game to be called off early, but it is defintely one to remember.
Link to GoogleBook (information on page 30): http://books.google.com/books?id=-tYKqYHibB0C&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=ohio+s...
Yesterday on the Big Ten Blog, there was a mailbag question from a Nebraska fan wondering about his team playing in a trophy game in their new conference. He suggested taking the Land-Grant game away from MSU (which they probably wouldn't care about..), but it got me thinking.
Wouldn't it be cool / fun / rivalry-y for Michigan and Nebraska to play for some kind of "1997 National Championship" or something like that? Obviously worded a little better..
I'm not sure if that guy asking the question was just some outlier and Nebraska fans don't really care about trophy games (most are stupid), but that brings me to my question.
Who would decide to play for a trophy? The ADs, presidents, coaches, or the B1G? And do you think Nebraska will play in a trophy game?
I know there's the story of the Little Brown Jug, leaving it in Minnesota and having to beat them to get it back, but I'm completely clueless about other ones.
For the purposes of this thought experiment, ignore the location in the calendar of the games, just simply the idea.
Let us say, for the sake of argument, that Michigan and Ohio State are placed in opposite divisions. Let us also presume that Nebraska is placed in Michigan's division and Penn State is placed in Ohio State's. Let us also presume that with a nine-game conference schedule, two cross-division games are protected.
So Michigan and Ohio State is a given for a protected cross-division game. Should the Big Ten then also protect Michigan-Penn State and Nebraska-Ohio State, which would then insure that every season:
Ohio State-Penn State
Penn State Nebraska
are all played and that you would give significant value to the regular season?
I can see cons in this, from a Michigan standpoint and from a Big Ten standpoint, but does this at least make it more reasonable to say "We're preserving "rivalries" among great teams. Would anyone among you be opposed to knowing, yes, Michigan has to play Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State every year, but all four the "marquee teams" would have the same killer "circle of death" (or Octogon of horror, whatever floats your boat.)
Note: In the divisions version I created that brought this about, Michigan State ends up in Michigan's division with protected cross-over games against Iowa and Minnesota, which makes very little sense, but honestly, does Michigan State care about playing any one else in the Big Ten besides Michigan?