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Sunday, October 18, 2015


People can look at numbers in different ways. Most people who want to identify a trend-line in any aspect of life will take a snapshot of the present moment, then look backwards in time until they see a pattern emerging. The result is considered the "current trend".

Others, like Michigan Football fans, will establish their trend-line by starting at an arbitrary date two centuries earlier, then add-in whatever just happened to make a microscopic revision to their "pattern". The UM football numbers game is a trick, designed to keep everything looking just the same as it did in 1935 or thereabouts.

By beating Michigan on Saturday, Michigan State Football has now pulled EVEN with UM since the turn of the new millennium. As you can see below, the series is tied, 8-8 beginning with the year 2000:

The football series between Michigan State and
Michigan is tied, 8-8, since the year 2000

(courtesy Wikipedia)

You can go as far back as 1998 when the series was tied at 9-9 to the present day. This is a much more relevant measurement than starting in the 1800s before rugby had developed into modern football, with forward passing and scoring systems that resemble what we see today.

Only chUMps start their trend-line analysis with a random date only a few years after the Civil War. For example, stock brokers looking at a particular stock don't begin their survey with the stock price of 75 years ago. Meteorologists don't base their weather forecasts on the conditions that prevailed when the Wright Brothers were getting it up at Kitty Hawk. People traditionally start in the present and work backwards to see relevant patterns.

So the new "water-mark" in the rivalry series, including the most recent game, shows that the game record between MSU and UM is TIED going back nearly two decades. Wolverine dominance was largely a feature of the 1970s-1980s, not including the pre-war era when all games were played in Ann Arbor.


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  1. I was in High School when the millenium struck. I remember there were always a few teachers that would say the millenium didn't start until 2001. I always thought they were stupid...

    But if they're right, then the standings in the new millenium favor the Spartans.

    Still can't believe the Spartans won that game. Field bad for the punter, but that's about it.

    1. **feel bad for the punter**

    2. Good catch on the calendar. The first day of the century and the millenium was Jan. 1, 2001.

    3. I feel no worse for the UM punter than for any of the other kids that missed tackles, blew routes, botched assignments, or whatever else mistakes they made.

      You go out onto the field. You do your best. It's a team effort. Your team mates cover for you and you for them. Coaches call plays and make adjustments based on the ebb and flow of the game.

      It's the drama of not knowing what exactly to expect next that makes the game such fine entertainment, such fun to watch.

    4. And to that end, I would rather watch a game of MSU versus a good UM team than a bad one. This year, the Spartans took on a good UM team and it was a game for the ages.

      As a fan, I have learned to watch for the full 60 minutes. I did not quit when MSU gave the ball back. I did not quit at 10 seconds. It seems the team did not quit either.

      Now we have to wait a full, freaking year before it happens again!

      It's just starting! Woo Woo!

      Go State!

    5. The dude got death threats.. and that's a hell of a way to lose a game.

      I always thought compassion was what separated us from the others.

  2. If one does go back to 1998, then the time span starts when the seniors were just beginning PeeWee football. Connor Cook was born in 1993. Over the course of Cook's lifetime the series is nearly even, 11-12, with the edge going to Michigan.

  3. Nice post-game discussion guys. Quite a game. I guess I feel worse for our player with the broken hip than anybody else.

    As for the "Millenium" discussion, I also recall the definitional debate, and it was for that very reason, I chose to GIVE UM THE 2000 GAME, just to eliminate any claims that I was fudging the record book. If I did not count that game, I felt it would dilute the point, so I let them have that one as part of this millenium/century or the previous decade, however people want to count it.

    The point rides just as tall whether it leaves us at 8-7 or 8-8 or 11-12 or anything other than 15-1 or 22-3. The modern-day series is very, very close, not like the old days.

    I also think that going back only three years or only eight or nine years is not quite long enough to establish "program trends". But we don't need any pre-World-War-Two games and certainly nothing from the Davy Crockett days.

    I think they lead us 14-11 over the last 25 and I plan to report that as well, just because 25 is a numerical marking-point, not because it "makes us look good".

    To Bill: Thanks for your participation, you seem to be for real at this point. Sorry to mis-cast you as the enemy, but we've had a number of them come after us. Feel free to chime in again in the future.


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