Ah hate week. There’s nothing like it outside of college football. Thanksgiving weekend is the final games of the regular season, when some of the meanest rivalries get settled for another year. According to Bleacher Report, roughly 30 games pit two hated foes against each other.
I live in SEC country. Down here, it’s all about the Iron Bowl – Auburn vs. Alabama, Florida vs Florida State and Georgia vs Georgia Tech. In the B1G it’s the Hat game between the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats, the Axe game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and the old Oaken Bucket game between thePurdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers.
When the Penn State Nittany Lions moved over to the Big Ten Conference, the powers that be felt we needed a rivalry game. They paired us with the Michigan State Spartans …the two schools had so much in common. You can go to either school to major in making baby sheep, milk products, and grass growing. We got the Land Grant Trophy – and a meme was born.
There is some history here. The two teams first met on November 13, 1914. They’ve played each other 30 times. Sparty leads the series 15-14-1. Sparty owned this series from 1949 to 1966 and are currently on a 3 game winning streak (2010 to 2015). Penn State has the widest margin of victory, when they knocked the crap out of Sparty in 2002 to the tune of 61-7.
Ironically, when the Nebraska Cornhuskers joined the B1G, THEY were supposed to be Penn State’s rival. The conference administrators felt they were an even better match than Sparty. And yet another meme was born…unrivaled.
Sparty got a pat on the head and Indiana instead of Penn State. Now, after ditching the stupid Leaders and Legends crap, Sparty is back as our final game.
And while neither the Spartans nor the Lions see this game as a rivalry, it’s getting there. Both teams look elsewhere for their best hate…but in the meantime both teams see this game as a must win.
And let’s face it, Mark Dantonio is easy to hate.
With that, let’s get to your questions. Just leave them in the comments below and we’ll answer them in the next Mailbag!