Football fans across Michigan have anticipated Saturday’s matchup for quite a while. Michigan and Michigan State will meet not only for bragging rights, but a leg-up in the race for the Big Ten title. Many believe the undefeated Spartans (5-0, 1-0) are legitimate contenders, especially after knocking off Wisconsin just days ago at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan (5-0, 1-0), on the other hand, must find the cleverest of wizards to steady one of the Big Ten’s shakiest defenses. If the defense becomes even barely decent, you could add that to the Wolverines' potent offense, and you would have a very competitive football team.
It’s been many years since this rivalry has received so much attention. Spartan fans believe their third-year coach, Mark Dantonio, is finally the man they’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, he’ll be coaching from the press box Saturday, since he suffered a heart attack after the Notre Dame game.
Michigan’s program, on the other hand, has been beset with off-the-field problems, NCAA investigations, player eligibility problems, and a slew of injuries. Coach Rich Rodriguez may be looking for another job, especially if the team crumbles down the stretch like a season ago.
But not all is gloom and doom in the Michigan camp. The Wolverines read-option offense has been phenomenal, and ringleader Denard Robinson has been more than a magician at quarterback. In fact, Robinson has become an instant celebrity. His untied shoes have become national icons, while knock-off Michigan No. 16 t-shirts can be found anywhere.
Of course, the rivalry is about many years of football, not just about the last two seasons as many Spartan fans believe.
Just in case you don’t recall the rivalry’s best moments from 1947, we’ve selected 10 key dates to help make your watercooler chats more memorable.