Submitted by brewandbluesaturdays on April 7th, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Yesterday, when sitting through a boring lecture on managerial accounting, I stumbled across an ESPN article titled, "Cheering for MSU from Ann Arbor", discussing how fans at Local Ann Arbor bars were being filled with people cheering for Sparty... I read it and I instantly threw up in my mouth.

Now I am not a Michigan student, or grad student, alumni nor will I ever be, But I was born and raised on M... Too me Ann Arbor is a sacred place... Look, I understand, the whole automobile crisis, the down economy, and the just natural crappy nature of the state, but after being held down by the shackles of what I reference as "The worst fall of my life" my shit talking to my friends who attend MSU is nominally subdued and I am left hearing irrational Spartan fans continuously telling me how M football is over and how much they loved beating M and will continue to do so for years to come. These are the same friends who expect me to cheer for MSU? I find that quite ironic. What does it matter that the game is played in Detroit? It has no baring on me nor do I think it should on anybody else. I am not a spartan fan I don't root for them against Ohio State I don't root for them ever... I am indifferent, but to actually verbally acknowledge any inkling that I want MSU to win is unacceptable to me. Even on a lighter note I rooted against Sparty for the fact that anytime anything cooler then a cow shitting ignites a riot. I was slightly concerned for my friends safety..What are your thoughts? Am I wrong or justified on my stance... Sorry for any rambling class sucks...



April 7th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

I'll do you one better.

I did go to Michigan. I'm a football season ticket holder living on the west coast so it goes without saying that I'm a pretty big lifelong Michigan fan.

I also attended UNC Chapel Hill for grad school. I went to maybe 25-30 home games in my two years there and became a pretty decent fan. I even got to meet Roy Williams before I left. I have a half Michigan, half UNC flag hanging on the wall in my bedroom. I went to the Final Four last year and saw that debacle from the 2nd row. I am active in the Carolina alumni association in LA.

All that said I found myself having to explain/apologize to many MSU fans/friends on facebook all day yesterday for rooting for Carolina. Are you fucking kidding me? I think it's hilarious that people actually tried to use the poor economic situation in Michigan as a reason to villify me for rooting for my almamater.

Save for a few MSU female friends that know basically nothing about sports I can't think of one MSU fan that would root for Michigan if the roles were reversed.

B Ready

April 7th, 2009 at 1:33 PM ^

You never root for a rival. If you do, then you are not a true Michigan fan imo. You can respect MSU, ND and OSU, but under no circumstances can you root for them (assuming you consider yourself a die-hard fan). It is simply not possible.


April 7th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

How can you say that you can respect them but not root for them? I'm the other way around. I'll root for State or OSU, especially if the Big Ten is getting consistently trashed to the point where Michigan's accomplishments are diminished, but in no way to I respect either one of those institutions. I recognize their success (I'm not a holocaust denier, if you will), but I absolutely don't respect them for it. Bottom line, if the Big Ten is strong, Michigan can do nothing but benefit, but no part of me will respect certain universities, even for their success.

B Ready

April 7th, 2009 at 4:21 PM ^

I respect their success, and their coach, Tom Izzo. How can you not? He's done it the right way. But, I root like hell that they will lose b/c their winning national championships and going to final 4's has absolutely zero positive effect on U of M. Both schools have never been elite at the same time. MSU currently is. In order for us to reach that level, we have to improve immensely and MSU needs to fall back a bit.


April 7th, 2009 at 5:52 PM ^

Elite is a hard word to quantify, but I think you're incorrect about MSU and UM being 'elite' at the same time. not only can it happen, but it has happened.

I grew up in the 1980s. These programs were consistently among the better Big 10 teams. Consider:

In 1986, UM was a #2 seed in the tourny, MSU was a Sweet 16 team.

In 1990, UM was the defending national champ and #3 seed; MSU won the league and was a #1 seed.

The wheelhouse for UM hoops was from 1985-1998. Plenty of times both teams made the tournament and expected to advance deep into the field. MSU made the tourney with Steve Smith and later Shawn Respert while the Fab Five and its remnants were in A.A. Both schools won the same amount of Big 10 titles during this time frame. MSU won more, iirc.

Its just for UM fans to fathom because of how bad the program has been while MSU has been great. I think many assume MSU sucked in the late 1980s and during the Fab Five era. This is not true.

Plenty of room for both to be elite; its been done before.

It is exactly like my alma mater, IU with Purdue.. Plenty of times both have been awesome at the same time. In fact, it helped make the Big 10.

Just e-pinion.

B Ready

April 7th, 2009 at 6:52 PM ^

MSU won 1 Big Ten title between 1985-1998, and never made it past the sweet sixteen. Yes, "elite" can be hard to define. But, MSU certainly was not even under the discussion for being an elite team at that point in time.

So, my point still stands. These two teams have never been elite together for any 4-5 year period.


April 7th, 2009 at 1:49 PM ^

I guess it depends on your frame of reference. I'm a native New Yorker who was lucky enough to go to Michigan. Not only did I have an awesome time, I had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people, ranging from international students to local Michiganders with strong, blue collar ties to the auto-industry.

At any rate, I don't have many MSU friends, so I tend to root for little brother here and there. If not for Michigan (as a state), then for the big ten. I rooted for them against Georgia this past football season and I would again. Then again I don't really like the SEC. (Especially when I'm in the South.)

I have run into MSU alumni back in NYC and was shocked to learn that MSU folks root against Michigan...always...even when Michigan plays against Ohio State. I found that absurd and upsetting. Perhaps if I grew up in Michigan, I'd learn to hate Sparty. I don't think it's irrational to root against them and don't think you have to.

Finally, I don't think it's true that you can't root for a rival. There's different levels of rivalry. I root for Notre Dame when they play USC. I have to. I'm not wearing a big leprechaun outfit chanting any songs, I just don't want to see USC dominate anymore.

I will agree, under no circumstance will I root for the buckeyes.


April 7th, 2009 at 3:45 PM ^

I thought it was just my friends from state that acted that way, apparently not, makes me hate the school even more. I love how they expected us to cheer for them, but im pretty sure 9 outta 10 of my state friends picked clemson over michigan. Cant wait for the fall and soon after that the basketball season so we can have a clean sweep against them cow fuckers.


April 7th, 2009 at 2:16 PM ^

You certainly can root for a rival and still be a Michigan fan. What if Michigan and oh say Wisconsin are one-loss teams, and Michigan needs Wisconsin to lose to Ohio State if we want a shot at the Rose Bowl? I'll be a Buckeye fan all day for that. I'm not interested in pulling down a rival even if it means pulling us down too - that's Sparty territory. Nor am I interested in seeing one side of a world-class rivalry diminished because the other side devolves into suckitude.

As for rooting for Sparty in cases like this, I think there's a more or less direct correlation between one's proximity to MSU fans and one's willingness to root for them.


April 7th, 2009 at 2:29 PM ^

While I certainly laughed heartily as MSU embarrassed themselves on national TV last night, I don't understand the hostility towards them or the fanatical aversion to rooting for them.

Seriously people, it's rather unbecoming of Michigan fans to feel angst toward our lesser contemporaries. THEY ARE BENEATH US.

Should the wolf begrudge the lamb? Are you kidding me? It makes absolutely no sense. Y'all are lowering yourselves with this petty attitude.

That kind of resentment is characteristic of lesser forms. Sparty should never root for us... because they are weak, feeble, and utterly beneath us. It makes sense for the Fuckeyes to hate us ... because they are wholly inferior; this is evidenced by their bitterness, jealousy, and irrational contempt.

And the fools among us, those weaklings dressed up like noble Michigan Men, those petty slave-moralists who adopt the behaviors of those whose greatest ambition is to match OUR GLORY. In so doing, they disgrace us all.


April 7th, 2009 at 11:16 PM ^

There's no shame in delighting at their misfortuntes. And to 'not root against' is not the same as 'rooting for'. But, yeah, if you invest yourself emotionally in a team's failure... you must ask yourself, "Why?" Is it a big deal, whether they win or lose? And if you think it is a big deal, well, what's the reason for that?

I firmly believe that our glory and success is independent of the success of others, including our rivals (except when we are playing them, or if a specific opportunity is on the line). No matter what they do, they cannot match us in the long run. IMO what matters, at bottom, is M winning. The rest is just filler.


April 7th, 2009 at 4:07 PM ^

The root-against-State-because-they-are-our-rival crowd casts Michigan as Little Bro. Think about that, and listen to how much you sound like an MSU football fan. In my opinion, someone who associates himself with Michigan should have no more than a passing concern with MSU. If they are good, it makes us look better for beating them. If they suck, fine.

In reality, MSU can not consistently outperform Michigan in any aspect in which Michigan is actually trying. UM's resources, nation-wide popularity and drive to succeed are woefully unmatched by Sparty.

It is only a matter of time before we have a strong basketball team again, now that the AD is moving forward. When we are strong again, I prefer that the Big Ten has a good reputation, which is built on Big Ten teams making Final Four appearances.

Finally, not enough people seem to realize that rooting for or against a team is completely irrelevant. You hating MSU will not make them lose. At the end of the day, Michigan will simply have to deal with MSU being good at basketball for at least the next five years. So what! The better they are, the better it will make us.

B Ready

April 7th, 2009 at 4:25 PM ^

Actually, the better they are, the harder it is for us and the more likely we will not reach an elite level. The reverse is true, as well. U of M and MSU have never had two elite bball teams at one time for even a 4-5 year stretch.

Even in football, look what has happened to us after OSU won their title in 2002, and went to those two other NC games. They have locked up the best players in Ohio, hurt our recruiting, and has played a large part in where we are now.


April 7th, 2009 at 5:18 PM ^

Rooting against MSU doesn't impact this fact at all. However, I do believe that M and MSU can indeed simultaneously succeed in basketball. Why couldn't they? In the late '70's, both made a final four appearance. And we are talking about teams that add three to four guys per year. You can't actually believe there are only four good players in Michigan in any given year to recruit. Also, Michigan can recruit nationally, and MSU probably still can't.

So, even if you did think that the two teams have not been elite at the same time, it is not because they can't be. Two good coaches in programs dedicated to succeed will succeed. I have no doubt that Michigan can be elite while MSU is also elite.

On the football thing, I think the turning point was the 2006 OSU game. Michigan's reputation suffered independent of OSU's success because we kept drawing USC/Vince Young in bowl games and lost them. Then, 2007 was a disaster early while it seemed that Carr was handing over the reigns during his last season. Its that one season that so strongly impacts peoples' view of the M program. Michigan consistently outrecruited OSU up until that season.

If you were to argue that the decline secretly began when Andy Moeller became the O line coach, I wouldn't argue against you. But I think you can make a stong argument that OSU's championship in '02 actually invigorated the Michigan program, which played in three of the four rose bowls after 2002. Or that it had no real impact.

Anyway, I think its clear that OSU and UM can be simultaneously elite in football. See all of the 70's, the 90's and half of this decade. The current troubles in the football program are Michigan-made and can be handled regardless of the quality of OSU's program.


April 7th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

I didn't want them to win, but it wasn't so much about the rivalry (I don't really have hard feelings against MSU) as that I just don't think it's in our best interests for them to win big. Is Trey Ziegler, a guy we really need to have, more or less likely to go there if they win it all? I'm guessing more. Our 2010 recruiting class is hugely important (since Sims will be a senior, and probable that Manny will leave as well), and we don't need our top in-state competition getting even more hype than they have.


April 7th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

I was rooting for Sparty the whole tournament. It didn't change my life (actually, with UNC winning my bracket won my friends tournament and took a small profit from the office pool).

Every in-state rivalry doesn't have to be Alabama/Auburn I'm-not-voting-for-that-guy-because-he's-a-rival's-alum hatred. Hate alone doesn't make a rivalry great. Rivalries are each their own special snowflake, i.e. each taps into different group dynamics. For example, the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry echoes the U.S. socio-political divide of red and blue state, of intellectual versus hick, of prestige versus passion (and we had that war over Toledo once).

Long before Mike Hart got 4 million green panties in a bunch by voicing it, the Michigan/Michigan State rivalry has been characterized as a sibling relationship.1

The reason I, and a lot of other U-M alum root for state is because that's the nature of the rivalry. We're siblings. I have two younger brothers. When they came to my baseball games, they would give me shit. They rooted against me in all things, because to them, so long as we lived under the same roof, showing themselves my equal was all things.

And they did sometimes beat me. I had the height and speed but Brother 2, an offensive lineman, had me on strength and size. Brother 3 didn't naturally take to things like we elder two, but in pure work ethic and responsibility and direction he leaves us in the dust.

I'm proud of their accomplishments; they count the days until my industry folds (ha ha -- still going Brian!) and they make more money.

Big Brother Rule No. 489: Anybody can be an obnoxious asswipe; sanctimony, however, is the privilege of the saints.

Such is sibling rivalry. Sparty can hate you and all you stand for, but hating him back isn't the big bro play. No, man, you beat him by acting more mature, as is your station in life as the natural better, and in doing so irk the ever living shit out of him, while simultaneously leaving him no recourse.

And later, when he makes an ass of himself after beating you once while your leg was broken (or when you go a year with the QB with an arm from Barilla), that high road is always open to you.

In conclusion, Sparta's gonna have a chip on its shoulder from the day that non-acceptance letter arrives from Athens Arbor. So what if they dedicate their lives to spears, shields, and glistening biceps; we're all Greciganders. And even if we have to hear that utter douchebag yelling "This is Sparta" from the hilltops afterward (not to mention their strange relationships with animals) I'm still rootin for our city state brethren at Thermopylae, and you should too.


1. Around 2001 I think there was an early blog (back then they were called "websites") named "Bitter Rivals" that focused on the Michigan versus State rivalry, and used the sibling characterization a few times in my recollection. If you're intrepid, or one of those people who goes on Wikipedia and fixes all those "[citation needed]" things, go ahead and see if it's still on the Internet somewhere.


April 7th, 2009 at 11:27 PM ^

Just well-put in general (as we should all expect from you!)

I liked this in particular:

"Sparty can hate you and all you stand for, but hating him back isn't the big bro play. No, man, you beat him by acting more mature, as is your station in life as the natural better, and in doing so irk the ever living shit out of him, while simultaneously leaving him no recourse."

An excellent consequentialist take on a notion we both support.


April 7th, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

I just hope those MSU fans who mock the "Walmart" and "Wayne State" wolverines were checking for MSU diplomas and other associated cred when they were high-fiving strangers in the bar after beating UConn.

Apparently its ok if they are jumping on the MSU hoops bandwagon, but the second anyone who went to a different school wants to cheer for UM when they are having football success they take a beating for it. When i've called MSU friends/acquaintances on that one, they don't have much of a response.

No quarter. I'm happy they got stomped


April 7th, 2009 at 6:03 PM ^

But I did congratulate them in the mlive comment fields for having a "very, very good year." Also, I was quite impressed by the class of the players who came out for the presser.

As for MSU and UM being elite at the same time, I think it is possible. MSU showed the last ten years that one program can definitely be elite if it has the entire state to itself and can skim the cream off the top, but I think that only means that it is easier for one team to be elite if the other isn't.

Traditionally, just like in football, MSU builds their teams more with instate kids while UM goes outside of the state more. A typical elite UM team had some really good instate kids and a few vital cogs from outside.

Some outstate UM players off the top of my head:

Cazzie Russell (Chicago)
Phil Hubbard (Ohio?)
Rumeal Robinson (Boston area)
Gary Grant (Ohio)
Juann Howard (Chicago)
Rickey Green (Chicago)
Jimmy King (Texas)
Ray Jackson (Texas? Don't really remember)

The list is by no means complete, but those are some pretty important players from some pretty good teams.

At any rate, MSU will now have a harder time being elite because of Beilein and because the Ed Martin/Chris Webber stench is finally wearing off, but I still think it is possible for two strong teams in Michigan.