Michigan State has beaten Michigan four times in five years, the only loss coming last season, in Ann Arbor, by a paltry score of 12-10.
The last two times Michigan has traveled to East Lansing, it entered with a higher ranking than Sparty but left with a big red "LOSS" on its resume. That includes its most recent visit, in 2011, when Brady Hoke's No. 11 Wolverines were throttled to the tune of 28-14.
But apparently he isn't scared to play there.
According to Hondo Carpenter of Spartan Nation Magazine, Michigan State has framed and hung these comments from Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon:
UM AD Dave Brandon & Coach Brady Hoke’s Words Hang in Michigan State Football Building To Remind Staff & Players pic.twitter.com/Y4ExAvCrra— Hondo Carpenter (@HondoCarpenter) July 31, 2013
Brandon is recalling a conversation he had with Brady Hoke where the two discussed the rivalry with Michigan State. Though the teams traditionally host their in-state rival every other year, a scheduling quirk gave Sparty back-to-back home games in 2013 and 2014.
Which prompted Hoke to go full-Gene Hackman, reminding the world of the dimensions at Spartan Stadium—their adherence with the dimensions at every other football field—then boldly asserting that "we can win there as easily as we can win at home."
Can he though? Only time will tell. But given the history between Michigan and Michigan State, the Wolverines should know better than providing Sparty with bulletin board material. Especially just one year after finally breaking the curse of Mike Hart.
For those uninitiated, in 2007, Michigan All-American Mike Hart called Michigan State his school's "little brother" after a come-from-behind 28-24 win in East Lansing.
The quote sparked outrage among Spartan Nation, fueling the four-game win streak MSU enjoyed until last season and even spawning blog posts from The New York Times.
Were Hoke's words as pointed? Not even close. But they did kind of insult Michigan State fans, implying that a home crowd in East Lansing does nothing to provide an advantage. That quote isn't as patronizing as "little brother," but it should be enough to stoke the Spartans come Nov. 2.
Especially if it's hanging from the clubhouse walls until then.