Monday, September 17, 2012

Fair or Foul: Judging the Week 3 Criticisms

Things were pretty peaceful between Michigan and Michigan State fans after Week 2. Both teams won and put up some strong production numbers. There wasn’t much need for trash talk.
That peace time quickly went away this Saturday.
Following Michigan State’s loss to Notre Dame, 20-3, the Wolverine faithful came out and launched a full-force attack on the Spartans. In turn, MSU fans came back with some intriguing attacks of their own.
For that reason, I have to do another Fair or Foul

Argument from Michigan fans: MSU was exposed against Notre Dame and the Spartans are just a mid-level team again.
Nobody was hyping the Spartans more than I was last week. I thought their defense was among the best in the country and that would allow them to beat a team like Notre Dame. I definitely underestimated Notre Dame and what they would be able to do to the Spartans. Notre Dame exposed the MSU offense for the weaknesses we all knew they had coming into the season. The Spartan offensive line struggled to create running lanes and provide pass protection early, and that spelled MSU’s demise. While MSU was exposed, it doesn’t mean that the Spartans are back to being a mid-level team. Don’t forget, MSU lost 31-13 to Notre Dame last year and went on to an 11-win season. Granted, this year’s loss was at home, but the Spartans are still going to be a tough out in the Big Ten. VERDICT: FOUL

Argument from MSU fans: At least we didn’t lose 41-14 to Alabama.
This argument makes no sense at all. MSU lost at home to Notre Dame, a team that has been fighting to be in the top 25 in the past few years. Michigan lost, in virtually a road game, to top-ranked Alabama, the defending national champion. Through three games, Michigan is the only team to have scored points against Alabama. While I think Notre Dame is shaping up to have a strong year, the Fighting Irish are not the Crimson Tide. VERDICT: FOUL

Argument from Michigan fans: General mocking for losing to Notre Dame
Perhaps Michigan fans have forgotten that they head to South Bend this week. I think it would be wise to tone down the trash talk until that game is over. The biggest argument you will have so far this season that Michigan is the better team is if the Wolverines go into Notre Dame and come out with a win. But if Michigan loses, or gets dominated, all this trash talk is going to get thrown right back at you. I know Michigan has had Brian Kelly’s number, but it appears the Fighting Irish have some very good athletes on defense this season. VERDICT: FOUL

Argument from MSU fans: Why is Michigan talking trash at all? Four straight!
I can’t really argue with this one. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who loses to whom until Oct. 20. Michigan needs to beat Michigan State to stop the verbal assault. Even a win over Notre Dame this Saturday won’t change the last four meetings with the Spartans. For Michigan to get back some control of the in-state rivalry, it needs to win this year at home. VERDICT: FAIR

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