Between Michigan and Michigan State, yours truly has always been a Blue fan. Beats me why. I never went to school there. Neither did anybody in my family. Sure, I have friends that are alums, but know just as many that went to State. Or root for the Green for their own reasons. Lots of trips to the Big House in Ann Arbor over the years, but I never set foot in Spartan Stadium. Maybe it's like being a Republican or a Democrat. Half the hard core partisans probably don't know why either. They just ARE.
This author has been known to place a wager here and there on a game. Ya win some and ya lose some. But every once in a while, what appears to be a "lock", given the point spread, will pop up. Such was the case this week with the annual Mich/Mich St. contest.
At last look, the bookies had the Wolverines spotting the Spartans a whopping 23 points. Definitely an eye opener. Sure, Michigan is all that this year, even #2 in the country, and State has been floundering something awful -- yet to win a single Big Ten game. But 23 points? Dang, that's a bunch. Especially between these two schools.
So I was talking to my neighbor, also a Michigan fan, and told him I didn't think the Wolverines could cover that. He proceeded to point out that the Sparties have owned the Wolves lately, having won 7 of the last 8. Including a fluke play that gave them a win at Mich last year as time ran out. Michigan is now vastly superior. It's payback time. And they'll going to roll.
All of which was no doubt true, except maybe that last statement about rolling. I had my doubts. There's just something about this rivalry, where blowouts hardly ever happen, especially of late.
Look at the results since 2008. .
2008. MSU 35. UM 21
2009. MSU 26. UM 20 in OT
2010. MSU 34. UM 17
2011. MSU 28. UM 14
2012. UM 12. MSU 10
2013. MSU 29. UM 6
2014. MSU 35. UM 11
2015. MSU 27. UM 23
Two things jump out. State's dominance over that time, and only once in those nine years was there a difference of over 23 points. At that -- barely. And that was when MSU was a national contender and UM was stinking it up under the woeful guidance of Brady Hoke.
True, Jim Harbaugh is the real deal. He's been a proven winner wherever he goes. Also true is UM, for the most part, has been steamrolling opponents this year. But as bad as State has been, this was the Michigan game, dammit. And head coach Mark Dantonio is no Brady Hoke. If the Spartans were ever going to play a decent game, this would be it.
So it was go Blue, for sure, but keep it within reason -- OK? We know how it turned out. UM prevailed 32-23. A comfortable enough win on the road that shouldn't hurt them in the national standings. But that nine point difference is a far cry from 23. As in two touchdowns worth.
Which turned out to mean earlier this evening my neighbor had to give me a piece of paper with Andrew Jackson's picture on the front of it. As Hannibal from the A Team was fond of saying -- I love it when a plan comes together.
And who knows? With any luck, I'll get my weed whacker back from him next spring.