The Wolverines hope their "Revenge Tour" Continues - John U. Bacon The Wolverines hope their "Revenge Tour" Continues - John U. Bacon
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The Wolverines hope their “Revenge Tour” Continues

Michigan and Michigan State both faced top ten opponents last weekend.

The unranked Spartans suffered a couple bad losses, and entered last week’s game looking for a miracle against eighth-ranked Penn State – at Penn State, no less, one of the toughest places to play. But the Spartans pulled the upset, earning them a 4-2 record and a return to the top 25.

Meanwhile, Michigan started its three game “gauntlet,” a brutal stretch consisting of Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Penn State. All three beat Michigan last year, and all three were ranked in the top 12 when this season started. If the Wolverines were going to prove they were ready to jump back into the top echelon, this would be the time to do it.

Under the lights on a big national stage, the Wolverines thrashed Wisconsin like old times, 38-13. It was Michigan’s biggest win in two years, catapulting the Wolverines from 12thto 6thin the national rankings.

But both teams’ success will be eclipsed by whatever happens this weekend. Why? Because, for the 111thtime, they’re playing each other.

Michigan has three main rivals, and they’re all different.

With Notre Dame, the fans are respectful, and so are the players.

With Ohio State, the players are respectful, while a lot of their fans aren’t.

With Michigan State, the fans are generally respectful. Just about everybody in the state has friends who went to both schools, creating a fun week of ribbing between them.

But the respect stops there. The players have harbored a genuine hate for each other going back decades.

Michigan players, past and present, will tell you no one hits them harder, or later, or cheaper. The trash talk is constant, and when the whistle blows, the extracurriculars start, including spitting, scratching, and even punching to the groin.

For all these reasons, it’s been a painful decade for the Wolverines. Although the Spartans have been the underdog in six of the past ten games against Michigan, the Spartans have won eight of them. Even Michigan State’s national championship coaches, Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty, never had a better decade against Michigan than current coach Mark Dantonio.

While a victory over Ohio State is always the crown jewel for a successful Michigan season, you get the feeling beating the Spartans might be more important to the current Wolverines, for the simple reason that losing to them is so painful.

And that’s why, minutes after Michigan finished whopping up on Wisconsin, Wolverine star Chase Winovich said, “The revenge tour has officially commenced.”

And there’s probably no one the Wolverines want revenge against more than their neighbors in East Lansing – mainly because it’s proven so hard to get.

* * * * *

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3 comments Leave a comment  

  • Patrick October 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    All true
    I’ve noticed some growth in animosity between the MSU and Michigan fans of late as well though. Particularly Michigan. We never used to care about State.

  • Patrick Fetterman October 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I respectfully disagree with you on the fans just ribbing each other this week. I don’t know any Michigan fans who genuinely hate MSU, and even though I’m a Wolverine I generally cheer for MSU when they’re not playing Michigan. On the other hand, I know a ton of MSU fans who cheer against Michigan all the time, and revel in every loss we suffer, every season. I don’t get it. I always thought you cheer for your team first, your other in-state teams next, then the other Big Ten teams against everybody else.

    The one thing you don’t address in this article is where the player hatred comes from. If it’s that deeply seated, what started it? I always thought the hatred between Michigan and OSU was way worse.

  • Ben Ricciardi November 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    John I’m 43 yrs old. So I started “remembering” Michigan games in probably ‘82-‘83. I understand both sides of the rivalry have felt that up until Coach Dantonio Michigan had the upper hand. But. I never felt that way. I remember Harbaugh breaking his arm. Lorenzo White and Tony Mandarich. Pass interfence on Desmond while going for “2”…Tony Banks and Spartan Bob. Michigan lost to MSU 4 times in the 90’s alone! From die hard, life long, born and raised Michigan fan…I never believed MSU’s disrespect card angle. Why? Simply because there was nothing to disrespect. Formidable opponent.


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