A New Rivalry--Based on Mutual Respect

Jonnferrell's picture
December 8, 2013 at 8:27a

This Michigan State loss--it now becomes the newest "damn Michigan State game," has a distinctive feel, doesn't it?  It felt like every bit a rivalry game, but different than TotherTUN.  I have no desire to tell Michigan State jokes, or even to manufacture internet memes of Dantonio as "the grinch who stole the championship game."  In some ways I think that the Big 10 might just get more respect when this season is all over.  It has really been difficult the last few years to nurture any real respect for the U of M--that traditional football power that currently only has its ancient tradition to tout.  The Michigan State Spartans have the real thing going on, and it's not going to stop any time soon.  Recruits will take note that on a big stage, Mark Dantonio and his followers have defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes and their superstar coach, Urban Meyer.  MSU could make a case that if it weren't for an early loss that should have been a win against Notre Dame, they should be in the NCG.  Of course the worldwide leader would never allow such a thing to be considered.  There is a sports revolution going on with MSU football, not unlike what Thad Matta has engineered with OSU Basketball--except in this case a basketball power is also blossoming into an actual football power.  I believe that the Spartans have to cement this with a Rose Bowl win, but the stage is certainly set.  Ohio State has a loss, but it will live--it also needs to have a bowl win also to help relaunch the Big 10 into the land of the college football elite.  The true loser here is TTUN, who are demoted to middling status in the conference and will cease to be a serious player.  We will always hate them, they will always hate us (and the Spartans), it will always be "the Game," but something has changed over the past decade.  The stage is set for a new rivalry, one based on mutual respect--with the Spartans of Michigan State.  We have longed for a renewal of the ten year war--but there is no "Bo" in Ann Arbor--and there will not be one there for a very long time.  There is a "Bo" in East Lansing--one who has been inside Ohio State, intermingled with Jim Tressel in heart and mind, and even studied at the feet of Nick Satan himself!  This is not a Bielema we love to hate, or a Hoke that is the butt of a joke--it is a real, honest-to-god, rival that we respect.  We will be fighting for many of the same recruits, and the playing field will be much more equal than it has ever been before.  He is the anti-Urban, the neo-Tressel, and it is going to be one helluva ride from now on.  Hang on to your cleats, boys and girls.

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buckeyedude's picture

If Michigan State had entered this game undefeated as well, the complexion and narrative of the game last night would have been TOTALLY different.
I'm finally coming to grips with the fact that some other fans have expressed: maybe it was better to get exposed, AGAIN, in the B1G CG, rather then on the national stage.



Jonnferrell's picture

Like you said, Dude.  I'm sure the Buckeyes and UFM will be ready for the bowl game--they have something to prove.  I will root for the Spartans in the Rose Bowl of course.  See you next year in East Lansing, Sparty.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

4thandinches's picture

So why didn't Urban have them ready for this game?

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

Jonnferrell's picture

Looks to me that Dantonio had his team more ready than we did ours.  Why is that?  Good question.  Can I answer it?  No.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

popeurban's picture


maybe it was better to get exposed, AGAIN, in the B1G CG, rather then on the national stage.

wojodta's picture

I wouldn't go so far to say they got exposed. It was a pretty close game and we knew all along that the D wasn't that great.

Chestnut Ridge Buckeye's picture

I have no immediate plans to abandon my obsession with "The Rivalry" or "The Game"; there's way too much history and I have invested too much emotion to abandon it now at this stage of life.
But this is an intriguing post, especially in light of the upcoming re-alignment in the B1G, and MSU's status as an annual game on OSU's schedule for the foreseeable future. I think Dantonio and his staff will be formidable in coming years, and can feel the intensity level of competition within our division increasing already. In short, I think MSU would make a dandy additional rival for Ohio State, and look forward to possibility of having some good rivalry games in the 'Shoe during warmer weather than the last week of November. And thank you for emphasizing the idea of mutual respect. I personally think all the emphasis on hate gets a tad overplayed. 

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I love saying Team X (Penn St, Wisco, Sparty) is a better rival to us now because dUMb sucks so bad.
I welcome another rival or 2. Would love for Sparty to consistently step it up in football. Once PSU is back we can rally all the State schools into a round robin every year.

JollyFatMan's picture

I'm pretty sure he never stated MSU was a bigger rival then UM.. but to say MSU is/will be a fantastic rival? I would tend to agree. Wisconsin was heading that way but once they switched divisions, it got rough. 

How firm thy friendship..

Jonnferrell's picture

Yeah, there's no way that "the Game" will not be "the Game."  You don't change 110 years of non-stop animosity, pomp and circumstance.  The reality is, that TTUN is in a downward spiral and they don't look to be rising out of it anytime soon.  The new power on the block is Sparty. They will be our fierce competition for the eastern division spot for the championship game.  TTUN is the losers here, as they will be the second best team in their state.  They will lose recruits and Dantonio's Spartans will gain them.  All the Ohio players that may have considered Ann Arbor will be homing in on East Lansing.  It has been going that way and now it will be a landslide.  Central Ohio prospects that are not going to OSU for one reason or another will look at MSU as the viable alternative--they are winners, they have a smart, determined, and respected coach, and they won't have to deal with the hatred back home of Ohioans who can't understand any Ohio player committing treason by going to play for TTUN.  This is the battle--this is where we determine our post-season.  "The Game" will still have all the emotion and tradition, but make no mistake--it is the boys from East Lansing that will determine our championship future from this point on for the foreseeable future.  Get used to it.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

BuckeyeinExile's picture

Once PSU's restrictions are gone, the East division is going to be fun to watch. I think the B1G is definately improving and should show it in the bowls this year.

saltybuck61's picture

I would much rather lose to a great Michigan State team than lose to a team that is clearly not up to Ohio State's caliber. They played well. 

osubuckeye4life's picture

I welcome Sparty as a rival. I hope every year we are both undefeated going into the game too!! A ton of respect for Dantonio and Nard. 

AndyVance's picture

I've said for a while now that MSU is my second-favorite B1G team, and the mutual respect you discussed is the big reason why. I love Coach Dantonio - I miss Coach Dantonio on our sidelines - and the work he's done rebuilding and rebranding that program is very, very good for this conference.

Jonnferrell's picture

And very bad for TTUN . . .   I think that next year is crucial for Hoke to find some success in Ann Arbor.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

741's picture

MSU and our Buckeyes both need to step up and win their respective BCS games. Period.