This Week’s Obsession: Ship a Rivalry Comment Count

Seth December 13th, 2016 at 12:04 PM

Brian: I don't know what those words mean in proximity to each other.

Seth: It comes from fanfiction but whatever, here old person:

This Week’s Obsession: Play Rivalry Yente

Brian: I don't understand that either. Is this like season two of the Wire? Am I going to find a bunch of dead Purdues in a shipping container?

Seth: Everything is like season 2 of the Wire.

David: I took it as "who would be a fun rivalry for Michigan".

Seth: No. Take any two teams.

Brian: Please explain my goal here as if I was not a preteen.

The question:

Choose any two schools and make them rivals.

David: Ok, well, I didn't know, I have "Louisville and Michigan".

Brian: Can I say Michigan and Notre Dame?

Seth: Yes. Except we're playing each other again And I thought you wanted The Situation Trophy.


Brian: Well, clearly The Situation Trophy is the greatest and best idea I'll ever have and Rutgers-MSU promises to be highly competitive going forward, so yes, MSU-Rutgers is a rivalry in fact and not hypothesis. Which group of shirtless meatheads can slather themselves in the most AXE or BOD or SCREW THE SUBTLETY WE'RE JUST CALLING IT PENIS brand smelly bits? TUNE IN SATURDAY TO FIND OUT!

By Wolverine Devotee

Michigan and Notre Dame. Seriously, though. In multiple sports. They're joining Big Ten hockey so that's fine on that front, but it's inexplicable that Michigan doesn't regularly play ND in basketball. In general the lack of consistent nonconference opponents in basketball mystifies me. Every year they play some random platter of opponents, many of them horrible. It's a bad setup.


Seth: Michigan State and Central Michigan have been casually dating each other since the early '90s but it's time they take the leap. I have relatives who went to the game in Mount Pleasant who compare it still to the greatest sports events they've ever been to. Granted they don't get out much, but provincial entertainment is the point of having football rivalries between proximal ag schools in the middle of Corn Belt states.

Central Michigan has always been a third wheel in the directional Michigan circuit, however they fit a profile and command a region more like Iowa State than their MAC kin. They deserve more.

Michigan State meanwhile will always have that one decade when they're competitive with Michigan per century, but lack a rival to look down upon for the other 90 years. The lack of symmetry puts the onus on Spartan fans to carry far too much hate, and makes fandom of MSU a mostly bitter experience even in good times. Having their own Michigan State nearby could deflect some of that attention so they don't have to keep embarrassing themselves with the word "scUM".

Like the state if it didn't have Detroit, Michigan State without Michigan would feel like Iowa, which managed to be a most pleasant experience to travel to this year despite That. A serious annual rivalry with CMU might help the Spartans feel more like you're supposed to feel about your college football team.

They can have shirts that say "Middle Brother."


I totally didn’t design this in 2012 and try to get UGP to sell it.

Add that the winner of each game gets to host the next one to make it unique and cool (and to justify the proper imbalance), and everybody profits.


[After THE JUMP: this gets way more basketball than I intended.]

David: Michigan-Louisville. Their football team went from CUSA Yawn to legitimate BCS/NY6 power. Since 2000, they have won at least nine games ten different times. Now they have a sophomore Heisman winner. Guys are transitioning to the NFL...its more than just winning games. They have built a successful program.

In addition to their football program, Louisville has had a successful basketball program for as long as anyone can remember. They've had winning seasons and sent players to the NBA for 50+ years now. Obviously, we can remember a big game, recently. Michigan also had a great postseason series in baseball against Louisville -who was a #1 seed- back in 2015.

The other positive about competing against Louisville is the proximity. Its only about five hours from Ann Arbor by car and its a fairly easy drive with all interstates. One of the reasons we love the Notre Dame rivalry (obviously, there are other tradition/history-related ones) is the fact that you can get to South Bend and back in a day. Louisville may not be that close, but its a much easier commute than, say, Minneapolis or Iowa City.

There are a few drawbacks. Louisville's academics are not up to B10 standards else there would have been really good arguments for Louisville to join the conference several years ago. Their basketball program has also gone through a very nasty scandal. I've also heard mixed reviews about the area of Louisville. I can't imagine it's as great a place to hang out as Madison, Iowa City, or Chicago, though. After the 2013 Title Game, the baseball Regional, and Jackson finishing ahead of Peppers in the Heisman, I wouldn't mind getting them a few times.



Brian: If I was Warde Manuel I'd invent a fake preseason tournament with bad teams in it just to get the games and I'd try to do as many home and homes as possible, starting with good local teams who could hypothetically see a student section travel: Notre Dame, Butler, Xavier, Dayton. Hell, I might even play Detroit at Calihan just because that would be fun.

Ace: This seems like a good time to note that the two non-conference basketball programs Michigan has faced more than once at home in the five seasons I’ve covered the team are Eastern Michigan and Houston Baptist.

Brian: Wooooooof. Anyway, pick a few teams that are generally good and within a few hours drive and make an annual matchup a thing.

As far as more national rivalries, Indiana used to play Kentucky every year until Calipari stopped playing road games, so Indiana should play Louisville annually home and home for pure spite.

Seth: I've been beating the drum for an annual basketball game at Detroit since you thought of it. Especially because it would count as a road game against a team that's usually in the top 100 ish in RPI, and it would be bringing Michigan to the heart of its best recruiting area.

Ace: They should be playing at least one of Detroit/Oakland every year.

Brian: Oakland at the Palace doesn't do a ton for me, but packing out a 8k arena in Detroit would be awesome.

This has turned into "complain about basketball nonconference scheduling"

Ace: It’s real bad, Brian. But we have lost the plot a bit.

Brian: But, I mean


Ace: Hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngh. Every year I learn about at least three schools I never knew existed.

Brian: I actually went to a Maryland-Maryland Eastern Shore game once. It was not well attended.

Ace: Did any Maryland fans yell out “WE’RE TAKING BACK THE SHORE”? Because they should’ve.

Brian: There weren't any, really.

Seth: This is embarrassing but I looked up Concordia when we played in 2013 and that's when I realized that's what I've been passing when I come in via Geddes.

Ace: I played many Rec Ed youth soccer games at Concordia so I knew that one.


Ace: (coughs) ANYWAY, my pick is a UCF-FAU rivalry fueled entirely by shit talk that Lane Kiffin and Scott Frost can only kinda back up.

Brian: Oooh

Ace: Right? Might have to skip the football game and just throw those two guys into a cage match.

Brian: I am enjoying the UConn-UCF rivalry where UConn says it is and UCF refuses and everyone gets angry and UConn wins.

I mean, not in football. But in having a rival.


Top five rivalry moment of my lifetime right there.

Brian: It's kind of brilliant.

Seth: What did they do with the capitalization?

Ace: FL vs CT

Brian: It's so dumb, it's wonderful. It's like the Land Grant Trophy

Seth: No it clearly says FL i CT.

Brian: Well they have to spell conflict correctly. ConFLvsCT is... well, it's not more dumb.


Seth: Take out the S and it reads kinda like Latin. Which is literally classical. Like this game.

Ace: These people didn’t get MBAs for nothing, Seth.

Brian: That might have come from the mind of Bob Diaco himself. As Adam points out, he's basically Michael Scott as a football coach.

Adam: The video is pure gold. It's Diaco talking about the rivalry trophy and it includes the digression about how the networks should call him because he's full of great ideas.

Seth: I’m ConFLvCTed. [UPDATE: I haven’t stopped watching this since this article posted 40 minutes ago].


Ace: Holy crap. Civil ConFLiCT, losing coach gets slimed on the sideline.

Brian: You can't do that on AAC television

Ace: In retrospect, 1990s children’s programming may have been slightly suggestive.

Seth: That was discussed at the time.

Ace: But for real, a Gatorade bucket full of green slime. They may need to end all rivalries like this. Imagine the look on Mark Dantonio’s face as he attempts to maintain dignity.

Brian: This is the worst/best TWO ever.

Ace: Best, definitely.

Adam: Slimed with Self-Respect.

Seth: Okay hear me out on this. Take two division 3 schools from different regions. Put one of their basketball teams on a bus to the other school with no cell phones or maps of any kind. They have to find their way to the other school by asking locals for directions and hoping somebody knows where Fairmont Royal Mount Union College University is.

Brian: I think we're done here.

Ace: /giphy mutombo


Nice twist ending, giphy.



December 13th, 2016 at 2:28 PM ^

Pitt's my number two team, would love to see this happen. My family's all from Pittsburgh, lot of relatives went there... my uncle and great grandpa even played there.

Not a fan of Narduzzi either, but their defense has been surpsingly bad since he got there. They always seem to have an elite player or two go to the NFL that would be exciting to play against, off the top of my head recently: Larry Fitzgerald, Revis, Shady McCoy, Dion Lewis, Aaron Donald.. soon James Connor too. 

Would be a fun series, and as you mentioned it's close geographically. I'd totally make the trip to see Michigan play at Heinz Field

Evil Empire

December 13th, 2016 at 3:23 PM ^

I live on the east side of Cleveland (as do many Michigan graduates and fans) so the drive would be about an hour shorter. 

Not sure what years are compatible.  We would want our road game to be in even year (e.g. a year when we had five B1G home games).  We're looking six years out at least, and Pittsburgh has Tennessee and WVU in 2022.  Maybe we play there in 2024, but the first three Saturdays are taken already.


December 13th, 2016 at 12:53 PM ^

Pretty sure Seth made this the question of the week, or whatever, entirely because he wanted to (re)make the Middle Brother joke. That is totally fine with me. It's gold.


Also: (1) The Situation Trophy is pure genius; and (2) maybe UCF would've taken Diaco more seriously if they realized he wasn't just a PR guy for Dunkin' Donuts.


December 13th, 2016 at 1:04 PM ^

Because I teach at ECU and I could get to see the Wolverines once in a while.

The scary thing is that had they played three years ago, ECU would have won.


December 13th, 2016 at 1:09 PM ^

I learned a tremendous amount from this post. Thank you.

1) Never heard of Concordia despite driving past it many times during my education at Mich.

2) Never seen Fiddler on the Roof, now I have seen 3 minutes and know it's a musical.

3) Never heard of "shipping" and now know what it means if a kid says it and I care to understand.

4) CT's football coach is HILARIOUS and CT is going to dominate the 6-16 year old category. All will be Husky fans. He also likes to hear himself talk.


December 13th, 2016 at 1:28 PM ^

People who are accusing shipping of being a "kids" word are flat out wrong. It first came into widespread use in the X-Files days. The kids who may have used it then are now probably in their 40s or 50s. It's a fandom thing, not an age thing. It's totally understandable to not have heard it if you've never been involved with any fandom, but otherwise, you definitely have.

Number 7

December 13th, 2016 at 1:11 PM ^

... before there Nickelodeon airs a bowl game.  (to quote a wise man,) "Who owns that? Viacom" probably bought/was dealt the rights to some crappy bowl in a side deal/filler arragnement with some other media giant.  WhoownsthatViacom will then put it on Nickelodeon so as not to bump LizardLovers from Animal Planet 2, and boom -- bye bye iCarly, hello Western Louisiana-New Mexico St.


December 13th, 2016 at 1:35 PM ^

For Michigan football- i'd go for Michigan-UCLA.   Stanford, USC are tied up with Notre Dame, i think it would be great to get a west coast game going again.  Or Washington, there's a little bit of animosity towards us from them (I found this out when I moved to Seattle.)  But LA is a cooler destination and I imagine perhaps a little better for recruiting.


December 13th, 2016 at 2:55 PM ^

My first Michigan game as a student was vs Washington in 2002 (Philip Brabbs game).

Definitely more history between the two programs.  You're totally right on that, and i do think Sailgating is unique, but Seattle is too granola for me. LA definitely is.... LA, but i think it's a better overall package (Rose Bowl, weather, exposure to california recruits)

L'Carpetron Do…

December 13th, 2016 at 1:38 PM ^

I've been to Mount Union great (2x?) grandfather was a benefactor of the school and its football program (I have Ohio roots, a shame I deal with everyday- they were only there a generation or two then they left).

Maryland Eastern Shore is the alma mater of Big Man Clarence Clemmons (who later had a tryout with the Cowboys I believe).  And the shore refers to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake, not the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.

I know all kinds of obscure things about weird colleges...


December 13th, 2016 at 1:54 PM ^

Michigan vs Stanford. They've had their ups and downs but there is a long history there. Plus I could see the games

Also vs

ND is the best rivalry


December 13th, 2016 at 1:57 PM ^

It's ok Seth, I used to think Skyline was some sort of corporate headquarters or something when I'd drive by on M-14.

Then I found out it was just a ginormous high school...

Moonlight Graham

December 13th, 2016 at 2:26 PM ^

but in football non conference I'd love to see us schedule winnable-but-still-P5 games against "basketball" schools that we have some history with in that sport: Kansas, Kentucky and Duke. If we rotated those three and every year there was a game on the schedule against one of them, I think it would be pretty cool. Too risky to open it up to UNC, UCLA and Louisville in terms of the "winnable P5 game," although UCLA is already on our schedule in like 2048. 

I like our future non-conference "quality" P5 opponents in Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and UCLA. In the future I'd like to see us consciously devote these games to public universities that are in our academic echelon: UNC, Virginia, Cal ... and keep Texas and UCLA coming. That would be kind of a cool series if Michigan, UCLA or Cal, Texas and one of the ACC stalwarts (UNC, UVa, Va Tech, GT) rotated games. Wut, no SEC?  

Tim Waymen

December 13th, 2016 at 2:47 PM ^

Cincinnati and Louisville. One nobody can spell, the other nobody knows how to pronounce!

Seriously though, Cincinnati is about 1.5-2 hours away from so many other programs--Louisville, Kentucky, OSU. Cincy should have more rivalries with these programs in basketball and football.

Maybe OSU and Pitt. I also like the Illinois-Mizzou Braggin' Rights rivalry. Temple-Rutgers. Rutgers-BC. I'm a fan of geographic rivalries. Also bring back Maryland-WVU and Maryland-UVA.