Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fair or Foul: Judging the MSU/Michigan arguments for Saturday's game

The trash talk for the Michigan-MSU rivalry is always at a peak when the two are set to meet at the end of the week.
Such is the case this year. Michigan fans have a reason to be excited, but Spartan fans still have the bragging rights, at least for now.
Here are a few of the arguments I have heard this week and whether they hold any weight.

Argument from MSU fans: Michigan hasn’t played anyone in the Big Ten: While that may be true to a certain extent, the one thing the Wolverines are doing is easily disposing of those teams. That is something that MSU is obviously not doing. Indiana gave Ohio State a run, but I still don’t believe the Hoosiers are that great of a Big Ten team and Iowa has suffered a pair of losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan. We don’t know where Purdue and Illinois will finish in the conference, but you have to credit Michigan for taking care of business against teams it should best. VERDICT: Foul

Argument from Michigan fans: We’ve taken back the rivalry: You haven’t done that until you beat Michigan State on Saturday. You should win Saturday’s game, but if you don’t, you can’t claim hold of the rivalry. A win goes a long way, but I also think it would be beneficial for Michigan to win the Big Ten to really show that it has returned to control the in-state rivalry. VERDICT: Foul

Argument from MSU fans: Denard Robinson will go down as the QB that couldn’t beat MSU if he loses on Sunday: I think that is a reasonable statement. For all the numbers that Denard Robinson has put up in his time with the Wolverines, he really has nothing to show for it. No conference titles and no wins against Michigan State. He has a Sugar Bowl win, but a Rose Bowl victory is what Michigan fans want most. Robinson needs a win on Saturday to avoid being remembered as the guy who couldn’t beat the Spartans. VERDICT: Fair

Argument from Michigan fans: MSU is going to “thug it up” on Saturday: Michigan fans feel the Spartans got away with too many cheap shots during last year’s game. That may be true, but the refs for this game will be well aware of what took place in last year’s game. Look for them to call this year’s game tightly and not allow a lot of the post-play shoving. If the Spartans try anything funny, it will likely come with a 15-yard penalty. Also, the Spartans were at home last year and trying to intimidate Michigan, I don’t think the confidence level of MSU is high enough to bring that same attitude into the Big House this year. VERDICT: Foul

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