Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Expectations Define A Program

One of the big misconceptions about the MSU-Michigan rivalry right now is MSU’s current winning streak over the Wolverines and what it means in the grand scheme of things.
While I clearly state that the Spartans have the edge on the Wolverines coming into the season due to the four-game winning streak, it doesn’t change the fact that MSU has a long way to go to catch up to Michigan on the overall spectrum of success.
Proof of that is this quote from Mark Dantonio at MSU’s Media Day on Monday. (From MSUSpartans.com)
I think we're in a position of contention. We always are. I think we are moving along. When you talk about where we wanted to go when we first came here, what we wanted to try to accomplish, we said want to build a foundation. We keep trying to build a foundation to try to get to that Rose Bowl. We're not there yet. We haven't made it there yet, but that's our goal.
Michigan State is still attempting to clear that Rose Bowl hurdle. It really is their ultimate prize at this point in the program.
They haven’t appeared in a Rose Bowl since 1988 and have only been to four in the history of the program. Michigan, by comparison, has been to 20 Rose Bowls and won eight of them.
Michigan State is still looking to “turn the corner” before it can really talk about competing for a national title on the football field.
While Michigan’s expectations today aren’t necessarily for a national title either, as they attempt to get back to where they were in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, they have been there before.
In fact, prior to the arrival of Rich Rodriguez, fans grew tired of Lloyd Carr for his inability to get Michigan into the national title picture. Rose Bowl appearances had become more than just an expectation, they were a standard. That is what put Michigan into the elite of college football.
Michigan State is far from that point. Can they get there? Maybe.
But it starts with an outright Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. The Spartans probably need a Rose Bowl victory to really step up to that next level, but right now the hopes of the program are on a trip to Pasadena.
When the day comes that Michigan State is contending for national titles and making Rose Bowl appearances more often than not, that is the day that Michigan fans can truly worry.

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