Best In-State Rivalry list? Per ESPN

Best In-State Rivalry list? Per ESPN

Submitted by Geneticblue on June 6th, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Yesterday on College Football Live, ESPN made a list of the best in-state rivalries and debated where BYU vs Utah would fit in.  Notably missing from this list was Michigan vs Michigan State as well as Georgia vs Georgia Tech and a few other notables.  Where do you feel that the Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry lands in college football?

ESPN's list:

Alabama vs Auburn


Florida vs Florida State

Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State

Oregon vs Oregon State

South Carolina vs Clemson


Making this worse was the fact that it was delivered by Joe Tessitore, whos spray-tan, botox'd forehead and absurdly white teeth seriously bother me.  I am waiting for the day that they let Samantha Ponder run the show again. 

Question about our rivalries

Question about our rivalries

Submitted by duffman is thr… on January 14th, 2012 at 2:09 PM

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.

A "Life is Short, Think Nice Things" Thread

A "Life is Short, Think Nice Things" Thread

Submitted by turd ferguson on October 18th, 2011 at 1:30 AM

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 (, 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.

A Typology of College Rivalries

A Typology of College Rivalries

Submitted by turd ferguson on September 25th, 2011 at 5:37 PM

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


First Ever Home Game To Be Called Early

First Ever Home Game To Be Called Early

Submitted by Happy Gilmore on September 4th, 2011 at 7:43 PM

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 [1902]. 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):…

Nebraska Trophy Games

Nebraska Trophy Games

Submitted by Mr Mackey on June 22nd, 2011 at 9:56 AM

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.

Protected Marquee Cross-Division Games

Protected Marquee Cross-Division Games

Submitted by Yostal on August 20th, 2010 at 10:12 PM

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:

Michigan-Ohio State
Michigan-Penn State
Ohio State-Penn State
Ohio State-Nebraska
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?

Scheduling Nebraska: Ranking the Big Ten Rivalries

Scheduling Nebraska: Ranking the Big Ten Rivalries

Submitted by oakapple on June 14th, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Nebraska will begin Big Ten play in the fall of 2011, and the Internets are full of proposals for splitting the twelve-team conference into two divisions. Many of those proposals are fundamentally flawed, either because they are parochial (obviously to one school’s advantage), or because they ignore what Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney has already said about the conference’s priorities.

In the press conference welcoming Nebraska to the Big Ten, Delaney said that divisional alignment would be based on competitive balance, protecting rivalries, and geography, in that order. He also said that some rivalries are more important than others.

By putting geography third, Delaney sent a clear signal that an east–west split is highly unlikely. As many commenters have noted, that arrangement would put three of the conference's four traditional powers—Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State—in the same division.

A north–south alignment seems equally unlikely. There isn't a huge difference in latitude between the northernmost and southernmost schools in the conference. No one in Illinois thinks of a trip to Michigan as “going north,” even if that’s literally true. It would be an awfully odd way to split up, if geography is the commissioner’s bottom priority.

Last year, three BCS leagues had twelve teams in two six-team divisions: the SEC, the ACC, and the Big XII. All three used the same scheduling formula: teams play all five members of their own division annually, plus three of six in the opposite division on a rotating basis, for a total of eight conference games. This is the most straightforward scheduling plan. It preserves the same number of league games that Big Ten teams play today, and it also ensures that every team plays all of the others reasonably often.

If we assume this format for the Big Ten in 2011, then Michigan and Ohio State will probably be in one division, Nebraska and Penn State in the other. This is the only arrangement that ensures the Wolverines and Buckeyes will play The Game every year. Putting the two in opposite divisions would either eliminate The Game as an annual affair, or create other scheduling headaches. There is simply no good reason to put Michigan and Ohio State in different divisions. Penn State and Nebraska may be at opposite geographic poles, but the commissioner has already said that geography is his last priority.

With the traditional powers evenly divided and geography a minimal concern, the remaining eight teams will probably be divided up based on rivalries, and the commissioner said that some are more important than others. Let us consider, then, how the rivalries might be ranked.

Two groups of rivalries are probably at the bottom of the heap: those that are not contested annually, and those involving Penn State. The Little Brown Jug, involving Michigan and Minnesota, is in the first category. Even the current Big Ten scheduling system does not ensure that these two meet every year. If that’s acceptable today, then surely it is acceptable in the future.

Before Penn State joined the conference in the 1990s, it did not have a notable rivalry with any Big Ten team. Several rivalries were more-or-less invented for the Nittany Lions. They play for two named trophies—the Governor’s Victory Bell with Minnesota and the Land Grand Trophy with Michigan State—plus an annual unnamed tilt with Ohio State. As none of these rivalries is long-standing, they are presumably dispensable.

We move on to the Big Ten’s current protected rivalries—those that are contested every year, under the current system, minus those involving Penn State. Here they are:

Illinois: Indiana, Northwestern
Indiana: Illinois, Purdue
Iowa: Minnesota, Wisconsin
Michigan: Michigan State, Ohio State
Michigan State: Michigan, Penn State
Minnesota: Iowa, Wisconsin
Northwestern: Illinois, Purdue
Ohio State: Michigan, Penn State
Purdue: Indiana, Northwestern
Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota

We have already concluded that Michigan and Ohio State will be in the same division, so that rivalry is taken care of. We can assume that the conference would seek to preserve the same-state rivalries, such as Michigan vs. Michigan State, as most Division I football schools have an opponent in their own state that they play annually.

The adjoining-state rivalries require a bit of discussion. Michigan fans wax poetic about past Ohio State games, but many haven’t a clue about the games that matter to other teams in the conference. I am astonished when I see proposed line-ups that put Wisconsin and Minnesota in separate divisions. Amazingly enough, these two schools have the oldest annually contested rivalry in Division I football. There is no way Wisconsin and Minnesota would give that up. They’ve played every year since 1892. In contrast, Michigan didn’t play MSU until 1898, and it wasn’t an annual meeting until 1902.

The annual Minnesota–Wisconsin game is for a trophy called Paul Bunyon’s axe. There are named trophies for these two schools’ annual games with Iowa too—the Floyd of Rosedale and the Heartland Trophy respectively. In contrast, the annual Illinois–Indiana and Northwestern–Purdue tilts are of no special significance, beyond their longstanding membership in the Big Ten, a fact they share with other teams.

With our background on rivalries complete, we can now try to slot the new twelve-team Big Ten into divisions. It is obviously sensible to put Iowa into the same division as Nebraska, given that they occupy adjoining states. Nebraska does not have a long-standing rivalry with any Big Ten team, but if they were going to develop one, Iowa would be an obvious candidate. As the Hawkeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers are routinely strong football programs, it makes sense to split them, for competitive balance reasons. And given the background recited above, where the Badgers go, the Minnesota Golden Gophers go too.

(Incidentally, Nebraska has played Minnesota 51 times, more than any other team in the conference. But as the two have not met since 1990, this is not likely to be a factor in setting up the divisions.)

We therefore have the following start:

Plains: Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State
Lakes: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin

The Illinois and Indiana schools cannot be slotted into this arrangement without splitting one of the in-state rivalries. Fortunately, there is a straightforward solution. Although Illinois and Northwestern have played every year within living memory, the game was not annual until 1927. They played many times before that, but with numerous gaps. Indiana and Purdue have missed only two years since 1899. The state of Indiana therefore trumps the state of Illinois.

I therefore submit the following alignment as consistent with Jim Delaney’s stated priorities of competitive balance first, rivalries second, and geography third.

Plains: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue
Lakes: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Wisconsin

This plan has reasonable competitive balance. The only named trophy rivalries that would no longer be contested annually, aside from those involving Penn State, are Iowa–Minnesota, Iowa–Wisconsin, and Illinois–Northwestern. Of course, this doesn’t mean they’d no longer play each other, only that it wouldn’t be annual.

There does not appear to be an alignment that preserves these rivalries without breaking others that are more important, or setting up divisions that are clearly unbalanced. For instance, in the alignment above, if you swap Iowa and Northwestern, then the broken rivalries would be restored, but the Lakes division would be top-heavy, with Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Other re-arrangements meet with similar objections.

Obviously, with the Big Ten’s expansion study still very much alive, the conference might not have 12 teams for very long. But while it does, I think the Plains/Lakes alignment given above does the best job of meeting the Commissioner’s stated priorities of competitive balance first, rivalries second, and geography third.

What is your top 5 greatest NCAA football rivalries of all time?

What is your top 5 greatest NCAA football rivalries of all time?

Submitted by MichiganPhotoRod on September 17th, 2009 at 11:38 AM

What is your top 5 (and 1 honorable mention) all-time NCAA football rivalries?

Mine is:


4)Notre Dame-USC


2)Michigan-Notre Dame

1)Michigan-Ohio State

Honorable Mention: Yale-Harvard

Peter King - Somewhat OT

Peter King - Somewhat OT

Submitted by DCBlue on September 7th, 2009 at 1:05 PM

So, Peter King made a somewhat interesting comparison of Brady's college stats at Michigan and Brian Hoyer's (Brady's only current backup) at Michigan State. I have no problem with that, and he specifically said he is NOT saying Hoyer is the next Tom Brady. HOWEVER, I do have a bit of a problem with King elevating MSU to the status of Michigan's "Big Ten arch-rival." Rival? Fine. Arch-rival? No. Link below, if you want to weed through the MMQ.…