Explain Sparty hate to a puzzled outsider

Submitted by MonkeyMan on December 6th, 2015 at 10:37 AM

First off- I come in peace

Second, I come in peace (in case you missed the first sentence)


I have lived in Columbus Ohio all my life since 1959. I heard "Go Bucks!" more often than "Good Morning!" (BTW we did have mornings there). So I sort of became a UM fan out of rebellion. I "get" the OSU vs UM hate- both teams have been dominant a long time and knocked each other out of fun stuff a lot.

I do not have as good a sense for what goes on inside Michigan (the State). I sense, from reading these boards, that most of you guys may actually hate MSU more than OSU (I scientifically counted things like "Fuck Sparty!"). I understand CFB state rivalry, but not this one so much. 

There are reasons this dislike should NOT be so intense:

1. UM has owned Sparty forever in terms of wins and losses- despite recent losses

2. I would assume there are many more UM fans in the State of Michigan than Sparty fans due to MSU's long track record of mediocrity- so you should outnumber Sparty fans quite a bit and feel like neighbors/coworkers are on your side

3. MSU has a high percentage of players who are from Michigan and that should give anybody from Michigan a sense of satisfaction when they achieve


So what is it? Is it the recent losses only? Was it this intense 15 years ago? Is it the coach? Would a nice guy coach end this dislike? Is it the fans? Are they really different than other fans? Does the fact that ANY team from Michigan is in the playoffs mean nothing?

I believe JH will have us back in the playoffs sooner than later and don't really think about MSU much. So, as an outsider to the state of Michigan, I am curious as to what has happened to make this hate so intense. I understand OSU vs. UM but don't understand why MSU angers so many more given the 3 items I outlined above. What am I missing as an outsider to the state?

thanks ( and I promise not to bring the subject up again)

Go Blue!



December 6th, 2015 at 11:40 AM ^

It's the DisrespeKt. That's why they hate US.

They won't stop standing in our path, pointing at the scoreboard and whining about the DisrespeKt - THAT'S why we hate them.

Imagine how your fellow buckeyes that do worship osu would respond if suddenly the Cincinnati Bearcats won 7 out of 8 vs osu. And they had siblings, cousins, neighbors and co-workers that would literally NEVER stop crowing about it while simultaneously whining that the buckeyes still got way more press and publicity and were still much more beloved, despite how clearly Cincinnati was now the superior program...

If you can imagine that bizarro world, you can imagine why people on this board root against msu like it was a tag team of Rowdy Roddy Piper & Nature Boy Rick Flair (with apologies to bb for borrowing his baileywick)


December 6th, 2015 at 1:36 PM ^

There's something more:

With limited exception, Ohio State fans hate losing more than they hate us. They'd rather go 11-1 losing to us than 4-8 and winning the game.

That does not hold true for State fans (again, with limited exception). We're the sun which their entire athletic department revolves around.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


December 7th, 2015 at 3:08 PM ^

I have/know a lot of family and friends that are Sparty's and even as obsessed as they are with us, since we're their biggest rival, none of them would take the scenario you stated above.  To me, if you actually believe your statement about them prefering to go 4-8 vs 11-1 as long as they beat us is as stupid as those who may actually want that.  


December 6th, 2015 at 11:43 AM ^

I dislike MSU as much as the next guy but what bothers me the most is the fans of my team calling them "little brother", because over the last several years they have fucking owned us and it makes fans of my team look ridiculous. That term is the reason I have little respect for Mike Hart, sure he beat MSU, when he was at Michigan but he was absolutely owned by OSU and still talked shit about them too. My favorite players will always be the ones that speak with their ability to play football and not their ability to be disrespectful.

Newton Gimmick

December 6th, 2015 at 12:13 PM ^

This year.  After they were handed a gift win they were still smug and happier about us losing than their win.

I think this recent stretch proves it was never about wins and losses so much as mentality. MSU will always be Little Brother, that's why Mike Hart's comment stung them so much. Because they know it's true.


December 6th, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

It's true that it doesn't describe the state of the two football programs that well right now.  But quite honestly, "Little Brother" is a great analogy for MSU as an institution and its fans.   Last week, the MSU Alumni Association posted this on its Facebook page:

I really can't imagine the U-M Alumni Association doing likewise if the roles were reversed.



December 6th, 2015 at 3:42 PM ^

Doesn't feel that way. The last 10 years have been an embarrassment, regarding our rivalry games but if it makes you happy to live in the 90's and beyond, by all means. Believe me, if I could go back to those days, I would but unfortunately I live in the present.


December 6th, 2015 at 4:43 PM ^

You do realize football was played more than 8 years ago between the two teams, right? The funny thing is, you say the last 10 years has been an embarrassment. The record between the two is 7-3 in favor of MSU And if we go back 20 years, the record is 11-9 in favor of Michigan. That is just going back to the mid 90s. Would I like to have it better in the last 10 years? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I'm living in the past to suggest only counting the last 10 years of the rivalry is just as fucking stupid and arbitrary as you saying that you "live in the present." Great, I'm glad we have a 10 year old posting on the board


December 6th, 2015 at 7:03 PM ^

The hate comes from MSU beating UM's ass year after year after year even tho UM thinks it has better players and coaches. The reason outsiders don't understand is because we see clearly that MSU has better players and damn sure Coaches. So in summery it's because MSU just keeps whipping that UM ass.

Mr. Yost

December 6th, 2015 at 11:41 AM ^

How many rival fan bases actually show class to each other?

Even if you think Michigan is one of them - which is fine. How many other rivals around the country are "classy" or "cordial"?

Maybe OU fans would call Texas fans classy?

That's about it as far as major rivalries that I can think of.

Oh Army/Navy. There you go.

I just don't know if the expectation for a rival fanbase to be "classy" is realistic. In fact, I doubt it. But maybe I'm wrong...


December 6th, 2015 at 9:09 PM ^

Agreed. I work with a few Buckeye fans and until a few years ago I LIVED in Lansing. Sports conversations were TOTALLY different between the fan bases. Sparty fans constantly had to beat their chests as if they had something to prove and would NEVER talk about the complete history of the rivalry only the parts that favored them. Either that or switch the subject to BBall.

Avant's Hands

December 6th, 2015 at 2:30 PM ^

I guess I don't have much experience with other school's rivalries, but just in my experience MSU fans are by far the most annoying to try to have a conversation with.

I grew up near South Bend and most Domers seem delusional when it comes to their team and pretty ignorant of the rest of college football, but the ribbings I got from them were almost always good natured. Most seemed to like the UM-ND rivalry and they almost universally told me they liked hosting UM fans more than MSU fans. I went to a few ND tailgates (not against UM) wearing a Michigan shirt because it was Saturday and come on. I always got some weird looks and jokes, but no one was ever crappy about it.

I've also ran into more OSU grads than I would have ever expected for work. Maybe it is an unfair sample because they were actually students and are now professionals, but they have a lot of respect for the rivalry and all of them were hoping The Game would go back to deciding the division again this year.

I just can't say I have had the same experience with MSU fans. I won't use the word class because every fan base has their assholes, but they just seem to have a certain attitude about our rivalry that other fans don't have. I can't say I have enjoyed any of my random interactions with a Sparty fan. Again, though, just my experience.



December 6th, 2015 at 6:45 PM ^

consistently ranks high in objective on field/off field performance metrics?

Please give specific instances of "lack of class," and explain how MSU differs from other programs in "class." Do you mean like when Dantontio took the time to convince a 9-year-old girl, Rowan Fitzsimmons, to wear her back brace? According to her dad, it changed her life. Try Googling it. You may actually learn some facts.

I get it. Most U-M fans cannot stand that MSU is just better right now in football and men's basketball. It won't always be that way, but it is now. You need to denigrate MSU because it's all you've got right now. It's the most ordinary reaction. Yes, most U-M fans are rather ordinary.


December 6th, 2015 at 11:49 AM ^

Yup, loooots of green and white around here. I don't have any state fans in my life that are jerks about it, but I just want to get back to beating them consistently so I don't get all those sideways smirks.

All in good fun though, that's what sports and rivalries are about!


December 6th, 2015 at 11:35 AM ^

Not as much as you'd think.


It's about 60% Michigan fans, 40% MSU fans in the state, but that depends greatly where you live. 


The 60-40 holds true in Metro Detroit and up north/in the more rural parts of the state. Ann Arbor obviously is a super majority UM fans, with the entire mid-Michigan (Lansing) area a super majority Sparty fans (the Lansing metro area has a higher population than the Ann Arbor one). The west side/Grand Rapids area (MI's second most populated metro area) seems to be about even at 50-50, with the rest of western Michigan (K-Zoo) likely a slight UM advantage. 


Michigan has a smaller undergraduate student body than Michigan State and we are only about 58% Michiganders (a lot of kids come from out of state because we're a good school), whereas MSU is about 81% Michiganders (much more of the state school feel). Additionally, more Michigan grads get jobs nationally around the country whereas MSU grads are much more likely to stay in the state of Michigan (and, if not the state of Michigan, then the Midwest). It's pretty rare to see Spartan grads going to the East or West Coasts but very common for Michigan grads. 


So yes, we do have a slight advantage among people who never attended either school, but it's not as big as you'd think and the demographics/geographic origin of Michigan vs. MSU students/grads also makes instate more even. 


December 6th, 2015 at 11:43 AM ^

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/03/upshot/ncaa-football-fan-… Michigan shows up in lots of areas (and has a plurality in Manhattan and Cook County (Chicago) and third place behind USC/UCLA in some West LA zip codes). 


The rest of it is mostly personal observation/admittedly far from scientific, but it's absolutely no secret that Michigan sends many more kids out of state. First of all, we have more people come in from out of state to begin with (thus many go back to where they're from), secondly, there's a reason MSU has such a small presence nationally. MSU and Michigan probably send similar amounts to Chicago, but places like New York and San Francisco have tonsssss of Michigan grads and not very many MSU ones.


Having lived in both Michigan and the East Coast, gone to Michigan and known many, many Spartans (my family lives in East Lansing now), I can assure you that, while my margins may not be scientific/near to exact, Michigan has a much larger national representation and MSU has a much larger Michigan representation. 


December 6th, 2015 at 11:49 AM ^

seafood, I got your data right here: travel a bit, or even just wander through the interwebs, and seek out Wolverine friendly places vs sparty hangouts.

I doubt there's a dedicated sparty bar outside the state of Michigan, whereas there's probably a U-M place (or several) in virtually EVERY major metro area in the country. osu places too for that matter. but no sparty.

They dis(respeKt) themselves


December 6th, 2015 at 2:02 PM ^

This is a common misconception. I've traveled all over the country this year, and just like us, they have alumni all over the place, too. I can personally confirm that I've passed by pro-Sparty watch parties at bars in both Chicago and Boston (I forget the name, but there's a bar near Fenway Park that hosts most of their gatherings). Just google watch parties though their Alumni Association - you may be surprised. Although we have a larger network with plenty of watch party offerings across the country, Sparty is capitalizing on their recent success in both football and basketball to grow their influence.