From a cheering standpoint, Notre Dame vs. MSU this week has a similar feel as USC vs. OSU last week. Granted, for most people it was easy to cheer for USC and want to see the Buckeyes suffer, but I struggle weighing Big Ten respect against the delicious tears of the OSU faithful. I have a feeling everyone would agree that the best case scenario this afternoon would be if both teams lost, but reality makes that unlikely.
In order to make my decision on who to cheer for, it is pretty obvious to delineate the scenario that is best for Michigan. This is assuming the hatred for each team and its respective fan base is equal, which is not the case for most people. I used to hate MSU with a passion, but most of my friends in grad school are Spartys (sp?) which has tempered my distain significantly and I consider the Irish and MSU on the same tier just below Ohio State.
Brian has been using a constant theme to temper the expectations of the fan base after the great start this year -- Tate Forcier will inevitably regress to the mean. Freshman make mistakes and these are most likely to occur on the road. Considering the first road game is in East Lansing, the best scenario for Michigan is to be playing a MSU team that is in typical Spary Noooo! collapse mode. If MSU were to lose today and drop to 1-2, they would play @ Wisconsin next week and be in significant danger of falling to 1-3 before facing Michigan. I would much rather face a self-destructing MSU team than one whom has a huge win under their belt and some major confidence.
On the Notre Dame side, we can look short term and long term:
- Long term – The best thing for Michigan is for Charlie Weiss to be the coach through 2053. I shudder to imagine what Notre Dame would be if they had a real coach (Urban Meyer) who recruited the same talent as the Blue Whale. Lose to a mediocre MSU team at home and you might as well ask Charlie to choose between death and sugar-free ice cream – well, that doesn’t make any sense but basically he is fired.
- Short term – Other than seeing the Irish faithful taking a few steps closer to the edge, nothing is really gained. The win last week is not as impressive and the chances of ND making a BCS bowl go from slim to none. Unless you need Schadenfreude to survive, an Irish loss doesn’t do much for Michigan.
I hate Notre Dame as much as the next blue-blooded Wolverine, but for me the choice is clear this week…Go Irish!