Jon Chait's new post: "The Big Ten Spits on MSU"

Submitted by iawolve on September 2nd, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Apologies to those that can't access this behind the paywall, assume it will be pulled out into the internets at some point. Pretty bold for an editor of a magazine (and UM alum) to be throwing fire like this since it puts him out there. I suppose there are not too many Spartys that can read the New Republic. Here is just one part of "The Big Ten Spits on MSU"

"Many considerations went into the proper balance of the conference and its scheduling - the balance of power, the preservation of rivalries, the creation of nationally compelling matchups. One factor that seems to have played no role whatsoever is the role of Michigan State, except in its traditional role as unwanted tagalong to Big Brother. No controversy over whether the Spartans should play this team every year, or whether the balance of power requires them to be split up with some other program. They were just happy to be tugging at Michigan's pants leg."



September 2nd, 2010 at 11:36 AM ^

Everybody wanted everyone to be happy. We did. I don't want MSU all upset over the way things shook out. But there was NO WAY for everyone to be happy. We didn't get everything we wanted, either, with OSU in the other division.

Give it a couple of years, guys. In the end, everything is going to feel really familiar. You'll still play PSU pretty often.

Zone Left

September 2nd, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

I'm not going to lie, I didn't want MSU to be happy.  I root for every Big 10 team out of conference, and I like seeing the conference succeed, but I want MSU to lose at everything.  If they're trying to get a big government grant to study cow dung, I'd want them to lose to Oklahoma State or Pitt or something like that.  I can't help it.


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

Somebody had to draw Indiana as their "protected" rivalry.  If not Purdue, who's next?  Indiana doesn't even qualify as middling.  They have no rivalries (per se) outside of PU.

I suspect MSU just didn't have a chair when the "protect the rivalries" music stopped.  If that means they got shat on, I guess that's what it means.

Although I agree that they probably don't think so.


September 2nd, 2010 at 1:57 PM ^

I just did not want them to become our last-week opponent.  That would have knocked us down a peg.

In the past century, we've had only two traditional last-week opponents.  To go from playing the University of Chicago (the first great powerhouse in the Midwest), to Ohio State (winner of over 30 Big Ten titles), to Sparty?  That wouldn't have exactly been a vote of a confidence from the Big Ten office.   

Shalom Lansky

September 2nd, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

The Michigan game is the only one the Spartans care about, they keep that game.  The PSU rivalry never caught on as an emotionally intense rivalry and quite frankly MSU's chances at making the B10 title game are higher with IU as the crossover instead of PSU, which probably excites them.  The MSU/PSU game had 17 years to develop into a national story but with MSU never vying for a B10 Title (and the fact MSU has gone 4-13 against PSU since 1993) no one outside of the Midwest cared about that game. 

Oh and as Hollis made clear, MSU has great rivalries with the MAC so they're all set.


September 2nd, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

Oh and as Hollis made clear, MSU has great rivalries with the MAC so they're all set.

I was talking with my Sparty friend yesterday about how excited I am for the first game.  He said he was bummed that he as going to miss MSU's first game, so I asked him who they were playing.  When he replied "Western", I said "Oh, no big deal" about missing the game.  He replied that he loves the games with the directional schools and hates missing them.  They really do love those MAC teams.


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

The Spartans I know probably aren't all that upset with the protected rivalry with IU. They seem to care more about racking up wins, meaningless or not, than playing big games. They take ND for granted but I don't know many that give a shit about OSU or PSU, even though LAND GRANT TROPHY exists.

EDIT: Scooped.


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:44 AM ^

No controversy over whether the Spartans should play this team every year, or whether the balance of power requires them to be split up with some other program. They were just happy to be tugging at Michigan's pants leg.

The only team they have a rivalry with is Michigan.  That's preserved.  The PSU rivalry isn't a rivalry and everyone knows it.  MSU is in the same place they were before the changes.  I think Valenti was ranting about how MSU will never win the conference now, but how is that any different from yesterday?  MSU was guaranteed to play either Neb/MICH/Iowa or PSU/OSU/Wisky in the new setup.


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

1) i am sure that having one more easy win a year will some how not be mentioned when sparty is all gloating about his 7-5ness.  i suppose there will be some years where they get both osu, psu and indy as their cross over games, but it will happen more often that they get either psu or osu and indy and illinois (or someone of that ilk).

2) they are MGoPantlegs, get it right


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

I'm getting so sick of this stuff. MSU got the same consideration as all the other middling B10 programs.

If MSU wants to become more than middling, the path is obvious: just win. Do better than 7-5. Beat UM more often than not for at least a 10 year stretch. Act as if your season doesn't hinge on the one game against Michigan. Win a conference title or two. Respect is earned. Whining doesn't earn it.

MSU getting exactly the respect and consideration it deserves is not a story, Jon.


September 2nd, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

I've notice like 3 of his most recent articles are about Sparty...who cares?!?!  Frankly, this one in particular is childish and makes him seem obsessed with them, and that's the last thing they need for ammunition.  I'm sure they are pointing and laughing at how "obsessed" we are with them because he's acting like he's in junior high.  They got a tough draw the next couple of years w/ OSU and Wisky as their non-division games, but that just means the two years after that they could get Illinois and Purdon't to go with Indiana and only face us, NE, and Iowa for a challenge.  that would suck...but it's all a wash over the course of the decade...

meanwhile, focus on what matters John: The University of Michigan.

Section 1

September 2nd, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

But yeah, there were surely a lot of power struggles and some deal-making going on.

~ MSU got stiffed out of its annual game with Penn State.

~ Nebraska flexed its muscles to make sure that it got a protected game with OSU or PSU;  the Nittany Lions were the clear-cut default choice in the end.

~ Wisconsin (strangely!) got its protected rivalry with Minnesota; was that a choice by the Badgers?  (Granted, it is the oldest rivalry in the Big Ten, going back to the pre-dawn of the Western Conference...)  Are the Badgers setting sights on the Big Ten Championship game at the cost of getting regular home games with a Nebraska?  Wisconsin should arguably have been able (if Nebraska demanded not to be paried with Wisconsin as a protected rival) to pick Iowa as its protected rival, and that's for the freakin' Heartland Trophy.

~ M and OSU pulled out all the stops to get their November/finale game.

~ And this, most of all; who will tell the story of how the Conference forced M and OSU to split up?


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:57 AM ^

placement.  I think Iowa and Wisconsin have been really equal over the last decade (based on data from Jeff Segarin, Iowa and Wisconsin over last decade ~33.5 rank).  I think if Wisconsin was in our division, and Iowa in the others, it would have greated a more north south type of break, with the only exception as Nebraska.  Also, it would have made it real easy to know who was in each division since all the teams that start with an M,N, and W would  be in the north and the South would be the IPO division. Would have been kinda cool.


September 2nd, 2010 at 2:44 PM ^

If anything, bucky and that tool Alvarez are the team who truly got screwed.  They got NOTHING out of this, and all of Barry's whining in the media and claims that they'd be Nebraska's big rival went nowhere.  That's the funniest thing about it all to me...Sparty basically got what they want: in our division and an easy protected "rival". 

Section 1

September 2nd, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

I kind of agree with you; there are a helluva lot of questions for the Badgers.  Like, uh, what were you thinking?

But in person, Alvarez is a very cool guy.  He's very smart, and funny, and charming.  Bielema is really the bumpkin in that program.  If you want to know who the all-around champion rough, tough, unvarnished, hard-drinking, skirt-chasing, foul-mouthed head coach is in the Big Ten, it sure as hell ain't Rich Rodriguez.

So anyway, Beilema-digression aside, we sort of know what Sparty wanted out of the deal, and they couldn't get Penn State as a protected rival so they got what they could, which was basically what they wanted.  (Mark Hollis made it sound like a PSU rivalry was never a serious consideratino for them.)

And it may have been ditto for Sconnie and Alvarez.  They might not have ever really hoped for Nebraska, if they knew that the Huskers wanted PSU and vice versa.  Did they get screwed out of a protected deal with Iowa?  Did Iowa not want that?  Hard to say.

There could be a lot of great stories written about how these deals were done.


September 2nd, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

boo hoo hoo MSU.  I wish OSU and UM were in the same division. 


I guess I never really saw PSU as a rival for little brother, despite them playing each other the last game of the season.  I could be wrong but that is the way I saw it from many of my friends who were State fans growing up. 

Little brother hates being reminded that their greatest rival--the University of Michigan--the game they always circle, the game that makes or breaks their season, the team they hate more than any other------considers them a 3rd tier rival behind Ohio State and Notre Dame.  (at least I do)



September 2nd, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

The reason that MSU only has one rival is that they don't beat enough of the teams on a regular basis to actually generate a rivalry so by default the instate one with UM is the only one they should have really.



September 2nd, 2010 at 3:47 PM ^

Yes, when PSU jointed the Big Ten, the Conference set up the PSU-MSU game in the hope of developing a high quality competative rivalry along the lines of M-tOSU.  The Conference bypassed Iowa and Wisky,. which were more successful programs, at let MSU have a shot.

The result?  MSU went 4-13.  Justifiably, MSU has been dropped from a last-game-of-the- season marquee matchup and inserted into another phony rivalry with IU. 

zoltan the destroyer

September 2nd, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

none of the Sparties I know really care. MSU-PSU was forced, and I don't think they have a problem with the new divisions.


Chait should have better things to do than write premium articles about Little Brother immediately after conference realignment. You do appreciate the irony of him taking the time to write all of these anti-MSU articles while claiming they are irrelevant, right?


September 2nd, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

This article could not be any harsher to MSU. It is bad enough to have everyone quietly know you are irrelevant, but to have a national media outlet actually put it in print is humiliating. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Sorry little sparty!