Column: Michigan vs. Michigan State Rivalry As Heated As Ever
by Mike Sullivan Scores & Statson
I’ve long said the Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry is one of the most underrated rivalries in all sports. It’s passionate, it’s heated, and it’s full of vitriol because of how many Spartans and Wolverines co-exist with one another on a daily basis. In Michigan, the rivalry is massive.
Nationwide, it’s not seen as this big. Sure, it’s still noticed and still paid attention to. But it’s not some huge Alabama vs Auburn type game.
However, this past weekend, the rivalry took another turn. Michigan State had won 8 of the last 10 games in the rivalry before Michigan came away victorious 21-7 on Saturday. But there is far more content to discuss than just the game itself.
It all began well before the game when Michigan State (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) took its regular walk down the length of the field at Spartan Stadium, something it has done at all home games under Dantonio and something that never has created problems. While doing so, several Michigan players were at midfield and an altercation followed.
Michigan players said Michigan State was late to arrive and no one asked them to move while those on the Michigan State side say they were asked to move. It resulted in Michigan’s Devin Bush tearing up the Spartan logo at midfield.
Dantonio was just behind the players walking when the incident happened and didn’t appear to react to the players yelling at each other. After the game, Harbaugh said Dantonio was walking behind, “smiling the whole time,” to which Dantonio responded with the “B.S.” comment.
During his weekly teleconference Sunday night, Dantonio was ready to move on.
“As far as everything prior to the game, I’m really not gonna bother commenting on it,” Dantonio said. “I’ve never commented on a coach in the past. I’m not gonna comment on one now and the whole thing to me was sort of juvenile and things are gonna happen in rivalry games. I stand by what I said yesterday.”
To top it all off, we saw Michigan senior defensive lineman Chase Winovich use the “little brother” line about Michigan after the game. This immediately fueled the fire.
There are two sides to all of this. Either you love all of what happened, or you hate it. And the interesting thing is that different people from both fan bases feel opposite about what happened.
Some will say it was immature and juvenile. Others will say it was full of passion and fire and it was just what this rivalry needed.
I’m all for trash talk and all for celebrating. But I thought Michigan came across as looking a little childish. They looked like they have never been there before. It all just seemed over the top and things were taken to extremes they didn’t need to be taken to.
Overall, I love the passion. But I could do without the field stomping and little brother comments. At some point, Michigan needs to act like they are a big program and act like they’ve been there before.