U-M fanbase refuses to move forward
State News vs. Michigan Daily dueling columns: Passions run high between schools
Stephen Brooks is a State News football reporter. Reach him at email@example.com.
Let’s begin with a stroll down memory lane.
That’s not too much to ask for a university and fanbase obsessed with the past, right? In fact, many of you never left.
I understand most of you have simply gone along with the elitist, holier-than-thou rhetoric you’ve heard from Michigan fans and supporters all your life. The sense of superiority and arrogance has been passed along for generations. For those of you that picked it up from a real alumnus instead of in the Wal-Mart clearance section, good for you! That’s a rare feat.
Slide those blue-and-yellow tinted glasses off and take a look at the real world, where quarterbacks don’t wear No. 98 and people don’t act like they reinvented the wheel for playing night games. Like the females in Ann Arbor, the past isn’t as glamorous when you take a longer look.
The almighty Wolverines claim 11 national titles in their 100-plus year history. The NCAA recognizes nine of them – and only four are claimed solely by U-M.
The early championships date all the way back to the fiercely competitive days of the early 1900s when only a fraction of schools competed and the Ford Model T still was years away from hitting the market. From 1901-04, the Wolverines ripped off four-consecutive national titles before the forward pass was even legal. It’s too bad none of us were around for some of those classic games against Physicians & Surgeons, American Medical or Drake back in 1904. I bet those were great.
Since the Associated Press began crowning national champions in 1936, the Wolverines are credited with just one outright (1948) and one split national championship (1997).
That doesn’t scream “leaders and best” to me, but hey, I’m just an uneducated Spartan, right?
That’s the root of this rivalry hatred: perception. MSU supporters take issue with the disconnect between perception and reality with U-M people. We grow tired of Wolverines living in the past and the superiority complex that comes with it.
Call us little brother, it’s true. I don’t have to do the math for you studious folk to tell you U-M is older than MSU. Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Peyton Manning – they’re all little brothers. They turned out OK.
For a school that loves bragging about education, will somebody tell Brady Hoke the Buckeyes hail from Ohio State? The Ohio Bobcats aren’t on the schedule — probably for the best considering how tough MAC foe Akron was.
U-M is afraid to admit it’s threatened by MSU. It always has been, going back to when it attempted to block MSU from joining the Big Ten. Now, the Spartans are on the rise with a clear foundation and knack for winning the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
I can see how it’s so easy to cling to the past when the present offers such little hope.
U-M embarrassingly chased away a top-notch coach like a new kid on the elementary playground because he was different and didn’t conform to “the Michigan way.” Then they tried to praise the hiring of a third-string candidate who’s still using Rodriguez’s players and only recently stopped using his playbook. U-M continues to get pummeled by Ohio State annually and shows no signs of beating MSU on a consistent basis.
The faux aura around the U-M football program is as big a sham as a newspaper staffed by kids that don’t major in journalism.
Like it or not, these programs see eye-to-eye now. Big brother has grown old and decrepit, a has-been that’s all but faded into the shadows of a once-glorious past. Little brother is youthful and energetic, his best years yet to come.
Four wins in five years, favored to be five of six by the end of the weekend. The pressure on U-M is evident, from the faculty-endorsed skywriting to Fitz Toussaint’s false sense of bravado. It desperately yearns to return to an era none of us were alive to see.
For the Spartans, where’s the threat?