Fall time means many things, but one thing is for sure: Fall means football, and if you live in Michigan, football is a big deal. This weekend marks the weekend all Michigan Big Ten fans wait for, the Michigan-Michigan State Game. The rivalry between the two schools is a natural in-state rivalry that stems mostly from a competition for the same athletes, recruits, resources, academic prestige, and just to be considered the best school in Michigan (who wouldn’t want that?). Football is not the only thing the two schools compete over, there is also a considerable rivalry in hockey and basketball (okay, so maybe just about anything the two schools can compete for is of essence).
The first football competition between the two schools dates back to 1898, and then it was in 1910 that the Wolverines and the Spartans started competing annually. In 1953, the rivals started competing for the “Paul Bunyan–Governor of Michigan Trophy” when Michigan State gained full membership to the Big Ten Conference (the process beginning in 1950). The rivalry in football between these two schools can get very contentious, but the weekend of the games is jovial and entertaining to be sure. The state of Michigan loves football, and that is very obvious the weekend of the Michigan-Michigan State game each year.
Although the two schools compete at just about everything, football, hockey, and basketball are some of the most contentious events. The competitions between the hockey teams, if nothing else, draw huge crowds. On October 6, 2001, the teams set a world record with a crowd of 74,544 resulting in a 3-3 tie in the game dubbed the “Cold War.”
That record has since been broken by a game between the US and Germany, but was then blown away by Michigan and Michigan State in 2010. The Wolverines converted the infamous Big House into a hockey arena and hosted 104,173 attendees to watch “Big Chill at the Big House” and resulted in a 5-0 win for Michigan. Regardless of scores, the rivalry draws attention and the hockey teams have proven time and time again to be a popular contest.
Michigan and Michigan State both have good basketball teams that have a dedicated following, but the competition between the two schools is less notable than with hockey and football. Regardless, the two schools are always competing for recruits and the best of the best. This extends from the field, to the ice, to the court, to the classroom. It is important to note that both schools have shined in their individual ways, and that both are part of what makes the Mitten so awesome.
Who will you be rooting for this weekend? Let us know in the comments!