This brought a smile to my stone-cold Spartan countenance:
It’s like a joke: What is better than the fact that U-M humiliated itself by hyping a bunch of cheating athletes who discredited and shamed their program?
A: The fact that they keep bringing it up.
MSU has had its shameful episodes (see riots, 1990s), but we didn’t lionize them – instead, the local constabulary prosecuted them vigorously.
As funny as the article is on its own, the comments are even better. Yes, they make the obvious point that whereas the Fraud Five never won a title and the Women’s Gymnastics Team has captured pure gold is out there. But there’s more besides. Fun stuff.
HEY, WHAT ABOUT FOOTBALL? Oh yeah, the greatest three months of the year are almost upon us. Like many seasoned fans, I marveled at the oddball pre-season rankings, foremost among them the notion that the Skunk Bears were a top 10 team and (once again) the favorites to take the Big Ten title (and of course beat MSU).
I think MSU’s team is playing this about right – there is no outrage, no demand for respect, simply a quiet confidence that they will earn their distinction rather than have it handed to them by a fawning press.
The fact of the matter is, the Wolverines have a formidable fan club and a great many reporters are under their spell. Twice MSU has beaten U-M only to be ranked below them in post-season polls. This is because polls are popularity contests.
Time was, this angered me, but I now know better: let U-M win all the polls it wants while we thrash them on the field.
With the exception of 2008 (RichRod’s disastrous first year – wait, I mean his really disastrous first year, all three of his years were pretty disastrous), U-M came into the MSU game the favorite every time. Sometimes the margin was small, but the “experts” picked the Skunk Bears over the Spartans three times in a row – and were wrong three times in a row.
I’m sure they’ll pick them again – indeed they already have. Denard Robinson is such a phenom, you see, such an awesome athlete that none can stand against him. Sure, MSU put him in a box every time – and MSU’s defense is arguably even more formidable now – but no matter, this time will different, etc.
And so it may. But the fact is MSU’s program has achieved a stability and consistency not seen in my lifetime. Nick Saban left before his gains could be consolidated and George Perles left a horrific mess. One must go back to the glory years of the 50s and 60s to find a team of this caliber.
The Spartan football team may eventually gain respect and be viewed as superior to their rivals, but they will have to do it the way the basketball did: By beating them mercilessly and relentlessly.