Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yesterday was a beautiful day for Spartan fans

First of all, I apologize that I never added much more to my post-Ohio State basketball post of the previous week.  I'm sure you were all crushed that you didn't get my expert analysis.  I was too distraught to add much more, but it's certainly interesting how quickly the emotional tide can turn for sports fans. One week you're down in the dumps, the next week you're feeling optimistic. Which brings me great was yesterday!? (Rhetorical question)

Saturday began with Michigan State basketball beating Wisconsin for the third time this season, and concluded with Michigan getting beaten like a rented mule by Ohio State.  Could it possibly have been better for Spartan fans?  Now Michigan fans can crawl back into their holes temporarily, though I'm sure they're just dying to crawl out again in the event that their (true) rival Michigan State loses to their (pretend) rival Ohio State.

This leads me to something that I've been mulling over in my head for quite some time.  Is the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry the most overrated in college sports?  I contend that it is.  Look, I'm willing to admit that in football, it's a fairly big deal, even though the Buckeyes have, for the most part, routinely pounded Michigan over the last decade.  But there is no denying that, between the 1930s and the early 2000s, there was generally a lot on the line when Michigan and Ohio State met on the gridiron.   But the fan hatred seems to be much more on the OSU side than the Michigan side, and the football rivalry seems more intense among the players than the fans (at least the Michigan fans).  Ohio State fans genuinely loathe the University of Michigan, at least as much as Michigan State fans do.  But it's always been my impression that Michigan fans pay lip service to the hatred, while privately saving their true vitriol for Michigan State (though I don't doubt that Michigan fans definitely do not like Ohio State).  Michigan fans don't want to give MSU the satisfaction of admitting that Sparty is truly their biggest rival--to do so would give MSU more importance than the smug Michigan fan is willing to publicly bestow.

The national media buys into this myth of Ohio State and Michigan as being the bitterest of bitter rivalries, but if they spent enough time living in the state of Michigan, they'd quickly understand that the level of bile spewed forth between MSU and UofM fans outstrips anything between OSU and UofM, at least from the State of Michigan side.  And besides football, there really is no rivalry to speak of between Michigan and Ohio State.  In any other sport, Michigan State is easily Michigan's biggest rival, whether Michigan fans are willing to admit it or not.

With Michigan State's success in basketball, and more recently, football--the hatred and venom between MSU and Michigan fans is beyond anything I've ever witnessed.  It's safe to say the Michigan fans are uncomfortable being in the position of the downtrodden, and they are lashing out in message boards and Facebook posts.  For example, I am a "fan" of The Huge Show (a Grand Rapids-based sports call-in show), and the host frequently posts on Facebook.  The pissing matches in these posts, between MSU and Michigan fans, is beyond anything I've ever witnessed before.  It's so bad that I've decided not to even bother posting anymore--it's just not fun.  The attacks get personal and I'm afraid that I could get some Michigan fan so angry that they might obtain my personal information and threaten me.  I'm not kidding.  I've decided to back off of these Facebook sports posts and stick to outlets like the Lansing State Journal or Red Cedar Message Board, where I am at least among like-minded folk.

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