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Friday, October 2, 2015


These last few years of the Dantonio Era has brought so many "teachable moments" for the Michigan fans we view as "chUMps". Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon recently described Coach Dantonio as being like a regular faculty member, so it's appropriate that he has offered so many "educational opportunities" for the folks down south.

This week brings a new chance for the chUMps to learn about life, a continuance of the Empathy Training program that Dantonio took over from MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo.

Today's lesson deals with seeing your team ranked
lower than your rival even while you are
pretty sure you have the better team.

This is a feeling many Spartans have experienced, not so long ago with football (though it has been many, many moons since that happened with basketball). 

It was only two years ago that UM came to East Lansing ranked #21 while the home team was ranked #22. That looked like an even match on paper, but it turned into the 29-6 evisceration during which MSU allowed negative rushing yardage for Michigan, including the famous 4th-down-and-48-yards-to-go situation for the Wolverines. Even though they were ranked higher. (But only by one place, #22 to #21.)

What about 2001, one of the many years when MSU upset a higher-ranked UM team, 26-24. You remember that game, right? The one where the clock-operator became known as "Spartan Bob" and was vindicated by all microscopic media scrutiny and cleared by all official inquiries despite Wolverine howls that somehow he must have cheated? That's the game. After beating Michigan, the Spartans were ranked #22, while the Wolverines were ranked #12.

Nick Saban coached the Spartans to victory over UM in 1995, yet the final poll of the season ranked Michigan #17 while Michigan State remained unranked.

The same thing happened in 1993 when MSU won the rivalry game, yet UM was ranked #21 in the final poll while the Spartans were unranked. The Wolverines actually finished in a three-way tie for fourth-place in the Big Ten (remember them?), yet neither of the other two conference teams with whom they were tied were ranked, either. So you could beat Michigan, you can tie them in the league standings, but you could not be ranked higher than them in those years.

Even in 1990, when game officials aided Michigan with three of their four "touchdowns", bending the rule-book in every direction to help UM keep up with MSU until the third-to-last play of the game, the Wolverines still ended the season ahead of the Spartans in the final poll, ranked #7 compared to #16.

So we know the feeling of looking up in the polls to
see your rival ranked higher, even though
you think your team is better.

The two teams haven't played yet this season, but the Bluebloods are increasingly agitated over the current rankings, showing MSU at #2 and UM somewhere in the low 20's. Their fans have examined the statistics carefully, they have applied the transitive property thoroughly, they have reached the conclusion that the polls are wrong, and they've "proven" that their team is better than our team. They've been bouncing off the walls all week, proclaiming their pronouncements and showing their math equations, and proving their theorem to themselves and all of their closest friends wearing yellow pants.

All this, even though the team that wins the rivalry game does not always end the season ranked higher, a fact that may have eluded many chUMps, since they have never actually experienced the process firsthand. Now they feel a little bit funny going through it themselves for the first time.

It sure does look like Michigan has the better team, in almost every available measurement and comparison. Except of course, for "Head-to-Head" competition. That's still two weeks away.

Wolverine Nation would be wise to keep their pie-holes closed until Gameday actually arrives. All of their lip-flapping and jaw-jacking only serves to remind us why we called them "chUMps" in the first place.

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  1. You guys are an embarrassment to Spartan Fans, maybe you should take your own advice and stop the "lip-flapping and jaw-jacking?"

    I don't think anyone thinks Michigan is better than MSU. If you're referencing internet posters, then you're an idiot.

  2. This writer must not qualify someone under the umbrella of "anyone":
    Have you heard ANY sports talk radio?

  3. I do listen to sports talk radio, and while many talking heads have said that "right now Michigan is playing better," I haven't heard one person say that the Wolverines actually are better.

    I think the Spartans still win in AA a week from Saturday. I'm not as confident as I was in August, but MSU is easily the better team.

    I've thought for a while that Harbaugh would turn around the Wolverines during his tenure. He's moving a lot faster than most expected, but that offense is still average.. and despite what Forde thinks, there is no way Michigan beats both the Bucks and Spartans this season.

    If I didn't know better, I'd think someone slipped you guys some Blue Kool-Aid. Let the Michigan fans talk, that's what they do best, but don't get too far down on this Spartan Squad. They may not look like the team we thought they'd look like, but their 5-0, and I am confident in saying they will get to 7-0.

    1. Nice thoughtful comment, Bill.

      Brady Hoke turned the Wolverines around a lot faster than most expected with his 11-2 season also. We will see who wins the recruiting battle on the field the next five years. That's where all of the talk should be.

  4. Okay... now I'm mildly concerned.

  5. I think we all are, Bill. Or we're liars. We haven't played our best game yet and if it doesn't show up next week I'll become a chUMp believer. They HAVE played their best football the last three games but they haven't played a strong offense yet either. The best part to come out of Saturday is that now they expect to win and hanging another L on them for the 7th time in 8 years will be all the more devastating.

    As for rankings that come out later today, my thoughts are that we will fall out of the playoff spot at 4 and they move into the top 10. All the other undefeated teams in the top 10 have played better football than us this year. And you can now put a one loss Alabama team up there too. We'll see. IT'S MEEEEEECHIGAN WEEK!!!!


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