We all know that MSU got SOME benefit on the recruiting trail when Michigan recruited a different type of player under RichRod and then had transition troubles. How much benefit can be debated.
And, we all know that being able to beat Michigan when Michigan was beatbale by many teams was a source of pride for MSU.
But, MSU has done well against other Big Ten teams. They have found a way to win some other big games. How much does MSU's success against UM really contribute to their team's confidence?
Wojo's article in the DetNews today shed some light on how important being able to beat weak Michigan teams has been to the Spartan psyche:
“The way the culture is here, Coach D always has the constant reminder — don’t forget where we came from, don’t forget when we were little brother,” safety Demetrious Cox said. “We kind of take it personally, just knowing they always do kind of put us in the backseat.”
The edge doesn’t get rounded off, certainly not among the wild-mannered, wild-maned linebackers. And they make no apologies for the focus of their fire.
“I had a great teacher, Max Bullough, showing me the ropes,” Reschke said. “He quickly got me to understand it’s a mental game, and you gotta be the craziest person on the field playing linebacker. … Coach D keeps that fuel going, and (strength coach Ken Mannie) does a great job too. They have different tactics and sayings, but the bottom line is, they teach us to hate Michigan, and it brings our play to another level.”
Did anyone really think that would go away just because the Spartans have delivered vicious vengeance upon the Wolverines seven times in the past eight meetings? They mention their rival and their driving force without any prompting, and that’s how they keep the heat on. It’s not complicated, really.
There has been some question about what will happen to MSU when Michigan starts to win big on a regular basis. Will others who filled the power vaccum, like MSU, still be solid? Yes. Will MSU drop off if they can't build off beating RichRod/Hoke teams? Yeah, it seems it would affect their whole identity.