The Detroit Lions have been a bad joke all year.
The Michigan State Spartans grossly underachieved–and that's a nice way of putting it.
But the Michigan Wolverines have a chance to give football fans in the Great Lakes state something to look forward to on Saturday: a win over the 11-0 Ohio State Buckeyes, who strive to "beat the (bad) out of Michigan" at The Shoe in Columbus for the sixth time since 2002 (counting 2010's win, of course).
The Lions have given away at least four games to opponents this season, with the latest gift coming via Thanksgiving's meltdown against the visiting Houston Texans, who won in overtime, 34-31.
The loss was a symbol of just how frustrating this season has been for the Lions, who went 10-6 in 2011 and, brace yourself for this one, made the playoffs.
A Big Ten title loss didn't stop the Spartans from beating the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2012 Outback Bowl. This year, the Bulldogs are one of the SEC's title contenders. The Spartans, well, they'll be thankful just to win Saturday in their season finale against Minnesota.
It's funny how quickly things can change after they've quickly changed for Michigan State.
The Lions aren't going to the Super Bowl. The Spartans are lucky they sputtered toward bowl eligibility; they just have to beat the Gophers, which may or may not happen.
So there's no pressure, Wolverines.
Saturday's game is essentially the biggest for the state–Michigan's Super Bowl–collectively. Michiganders are already used to blunders by the Lions and Spartans, so try not to mess this one up against the four-point favorite Buckeyes, Michigan.
That's just a simple request.
And adding to this twisted drama, The Ohio State may be playing for something similar. Maybe Ohioans look at the season-capping game as something more than just the typical Wolverines vs. Buckeyes classic. Maybe it's more of Michigan vs. Ohio mixed with "well-this-is-kind-of-like-our-only-shot-for-the-year-in-football" thoughts from those in the birthplace of aviation.
Ohio's Cleveland Browns have been worse than the Lions, proving that the Motor City doesn't have the worst team in the NFL after all.
The Cincinnati Bengals could make the playoffs, so maybe Ohio State-Michigan isn't the end-all for Bengals fans, but it's a game of impact, nonetheless.
A Wolverines win, in theory, would give those in Michigan something to be proud of. Spartans fans, Lions fans, maybe even Eastern Michigan fans (they need something to cheer for, too).
"Hey, at least all of our teams weren't dirt," they'd say.
However, a Buckeyes victory would simply top off a 12-0 season in which conference and national championships were never a possibility.
Michiganders can take solace in that.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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