I went to elementary school at Leonard Elementary in Ovid, Michigan, a little village of 1200 north of Lansing. We were comprised of 4th through 6th graders. The recess game of choice was a vicious game of tackle football, where monstrous 6th graders dominated every contest. Occasionally, I would sprint my scrawny ass into the end zone and celebrate like crazy. The response of our 6th graders was telling. Multiple over-sized 6th graders would pile on me, yelling "yayy yayyyy" as if to say, yeah, you scored, but don't forget that we're going to be smashing you the rest of the game.
With that, we ponder Michigan-Michigan State. Because really, what is the ultimate mark of an unequal relationship between two siblings or individuals? When the bigger, more confident one realizes that, no matter the score, no matter the momentum, no matter the situation...they're going to prevail both physically and mentally at the end of the day. And that's where Sparty is at right now in relation to Michigan. MSU didn't fear Denard Robinson. The MSU defense didn't even blink when their offensive teammates were playing hot potato with the football. MSU was bigger, faster, and unafraid of any aggressive Michigan actions. Even if Michigan had won, MSU could have shrugged it off, saying they blew the game and Michigan needed a lucky and vicious late game comeback to win.
And that's a mentality straight out of How To Be An Older Sibling 101.
That's four in a row. It was a physical beating, with MSU running for 240 yards and picking up six sacks. Michigan State took shots at the heads and throats of Wolverines, reminding me of that "we will fight on the beaches, we will fight in the fields" Winston Churchill speech.
We will hit you out of bounds.
We will punch you in the throat.
We will smack you in the face.
We will rub your face in the ground.
We will run over your ass and pick up 124 yards of penalties, most of them for being over-aggressive.
Sounds like some of the older brothers I knew back in elementary school.
Michigan is improving, there's no doubt. The secondary is 20 times better than last year...or the year before. Missed tackles are not plaguing the linebackers and cornerbacks. The special teams are 20 times better than last year. We don't fumble punt returns, we don't miss extra points, we kick the ball off with few issues. The Wolverine coaching staff should be lauded for bringing back some of the "basics" that may have been lost during the Rich Rodriguez years.
But Michigan is still the 2nd best team in the state and it's not that close. In 2008-2010, I never held a pregame belief that Michigan would win. This year, I considered Michigan's chances to be decent leading up to the game, mostly on the strength of the improved defense and the explosive Robinson. Big Brother was not having it though, confidently wearing Pro Combat Futuristic-Baylor-on-Cocaine jerseys on the way to punishing Michigan.
Some of you might call me self-hating (Ted, TED I'm waiting for it). Some of you might claim I'm exaggerating the extent of difference between two teams who were only two touchdowns apart this Saturday. But the State of Michigan is split in two, loyalty wise, and so any matchup between the two needs to be looked at in that light. And on this day, MSU pushed and pummeled Michigan into submission. Like a big brother would.