Thursday October 16th, 2015. The day before the day. The day before possibly the most anticipated Saturday in Michigan in a long time. That day is the day before #7 Michigan State takes on #12 Michigan in a Top 15 matchup.
I have lived in Michigan my whole life. I go to high school in Waterford and I have honestly never heard football be discussed this much as it was in school Thursday for this game. I’m not here to give you a preview or keys to the game. That is someone elses job (probably Reese Nobles). I’m here to give you a fan’s prospective, more importantly to show you have MSU vs. Michigan, Sparty vs. The Wolverine has done something I don’t even think a Civil War could do. This isn’t a “So and so needs to do this to win.” This is a story of A State Divided.
Michigan State, founded in 1855, has been one of the most powerful teams within the last few years. They made it to the inaugural College Football Playoffs. They have a highy respected coach in Mark Dantonio, who last year ran up the score on Michigan because he felt that a few players had disrespected State. This year, fans really want Michigan to pay. As I am sure you are aware by now, Magic Johnson’s statue was spray painted with a yellow block “M.” That is crossing the line, MSU fans believe.
Sparty fans also look at this game as a “test” for the Maize and Blue. They do not believe that Michigan is for real and because they have beaten BYU, Maryland, and Northwestern all via shutout within recent weeks weren’t “real wins” against “real teams.” They are used to being the favorite. That it just one side of the spectrum.
Michigan, founded in 1817, has probably the most rich history in college sports. Fielding H. Yost, Fritz Crisler, Bo Schembechler, and Llyod Carr. These men, these Michigan Men, are the greatest coaches in Michigan Football history. Football in Michigan started in 1879 and has produced 11 National Championships. Yost won the first one in 1901, and Carr won the last one with a QB named Tom Brady, not sure if you have heard of him.
This is what makes Michigan fans so proud. They have the highest expectations of any fan base in football, pro or not. The players have the same pressure on themselves due to the fact that it is Michigan. However, Michigan has fallen back within the past few years with the coaching failures of Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke. Finally, they are saying, a gleam of success as Jim Harbaugh has taken over this team, featuring one of the Top 5 scoring defenses of all time, and made put in a prime position for a playoff/bowl spot.
This game means more than anything this season to them. It means the difference between being a contender and being a pretender.