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The Rivalry, Esq.'s 2009 Closing Argument - Michigan State Spartans

But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal – there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court. 

-Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird    


We, The Rivalry, Esq. place before this college football court, the 2009 season of the Michigan St. Spartans.  This is a long-sleeping giant that may well have awoken...unless it hits the snooze button again.  The summer has been filled with debate.  I say to you, ladies and gentlemen of the college football jury, ENOUGH!  Let this court give them the fair assessment that they deserve.


I. Case History

It was a good year for Michigan State.  Beat Notre Dame?  Check.  Beat the Big House?  Check!  Yes, the Spartans came up short against Penn State and Ohio State.  That happened to almost everyone.  But, MSU established themselves as the third best team in the league.  They also played a good game against the preseason #1 team in the country.  Yes, Georgia won in the end, but Sparty didn't embarrass himself or the conference. 


II. Factual Summation

A. The Rivalry, Esq. Says

Here's some of what we've written about the Michigan State Spartans over the off-season

Spring Preview

What MSU Recruiting Means for the Big Ten

Who's the Halfback?

Are the Spartans the Big Ten's 3rd Best Team?

SpartyOfficer HightowerGreg Jones

B. Michael Jackson Says

Because all blogs are required to compare athletic teams to some random entertainment icon, we're equating Big Ten Teams and Michael Jackson songs.  The quality of the reading improves if you listen to the barely justified song choice as you continue.

Don't Stop, Michigan State.  You're not there yet. 


III. Emotional Plea

A. I Hate Michigan State

Maybe its because he's lived too long in the South, where hatred is a tangible commodity, but Bama Hawkeye has felt his hatred for Big Ten rivals boiling.  Here's why he hates Michigan State.

I hate Michigan State because they can't decide if they want the "S" or Spartan head on their helmets...I hate Michigan State because of the horrific beat down they put on the Hawkeyes in 1999...I hate that the Hawkeyes haven't won in East Lansing since the mid-90s...I hate that they once wore three shades of green at the same time (helmet, jersey, and pants), none of which matched the two shades of green that were on their field...I hate Michigan State.

B. Why You Should Love Michigan State

Because for the majority of the rivalry, they've been the kid brother to the winged helmet types.  Because it sucks when your biggest rival doesn't consider you its biggest rival.  Because they were the school that enabled the Big Ten to be called the Big Ten (you know, when counting mattered).  Because it's nice to see the chronic under-achievers actually get it together.  Because they let Nick Saban leave the Big Ten.  Because they're in the Big Ten.



IV. Verdict

A.The Rivalry, Esq. Calls the Games

Opponent Graham Filler Picks Law Buckeye Picks Bama Hawkeye Picks
Montana_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
Central_michigan_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
@ Notre_dame_medium Notre_dame_medium Notre_dame_medium Notre_dame_medium
@Wisconsin_medium Wisconsin_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
Michigan_medium Michigan_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
@ Illinois_medium Illinois_medium Michigan_st_medium Illinois_medium
Northwestern_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
Iowa_medium Michigan_st_medium Iowa_medium Michigan_st_medium
@ Minnesota_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Minnesota_medium
Western_michigan_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
@ Purdue_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium Michigan_st_medium
Penn_state_medium Penn_state_medium Penn_state_medium Michigan_st_medium
FINAL RECORD 7-5 (4-4) 9-3 (6-2) 9-3 (6-2)

B. Bama Hawkeye Calls the Bowl Game

The Big Ten has nine bowl eligible teams by the end of the season.  Despite having a better record (by a game), Michigan State gets passed over by Penn State and Michigan in bowl selections.  At least a trip to the desert beats a third straight trip to Orlando. 

  Insightbowl2002_small_mediumvs. Missouri1_medium

V. On Appeal

Words from an SBNation blogger on their team.  You can't go wrong with The Only Colors.  Here's Pete's opinion on what it will take to gain the respect of the Wolverines

The same thing any team has to do in any rivalry to gain respect - win.  I think some of the fire has been added back to the rivalry since the win last October; it's tough to remember how much it stinks to lose to your rival when you've won six years in a row.  That said, there's going to be some subset of Michigan's fan base that will never respect the Spartans.