I’m a bad husband.
I picked out the biggest Michigan Wolverine booster I could find and waited for him to be within listening distance of my wife Abs. Just to let you know, Abs is a die hard Spartan. She is always nervous during Michigan-Michigan State week for fear that Michigan might beat her team by a ridiculous score of 82-0.
Any way this guy is strolling around Kroger with the biggest, boldest Michigan Wolverines shirt in history. I waited until he was near Abs to ask: “Who is going to win the big game this Saturday?”
In years past the Wolverine would pause for effect, take a stance like they were John Wayne before proclaiming: “We are going to kick some Sparty ass.”
This guy didn’t. My Wolverine friends at the gym didn’t either.
“Well you can tell who I am rooting for,” he said. “I think we should win but you just never know. I am worried.”
He went on to proclaim MSU coach Mark Dantonio to be some kind of magician who spins wins out of thin air. The Wolverine was nervous.
A Michigan writer asked Coach Jim Harbaugh can his team muster up enough energy to face a Spartan team who makes this game their Super Bowl and World Series all rolled into one.”
That is no longer true. The Spartans do not make this a life or death situation any more even though beating Michigan is important to them. They get riled up when Michigan players bombard them with “little brother” talk and other disrespectful terms. Harbaugh, who once guaranteed victory over Ohio State as a player, has put the cone of silence around his players this week and they followed his lead.
Harbaugh has won the week by his players not talking a lot of noise. MSU is already fired up about this game. Why add fuel to the fire?
Do your talking on the field.
And you know the media is dying for a Michigan player to utter the term “little brother.” So is Dantonio.
The Spartans have finally humbled the Wolverines. They’ve won eight of the last 10 meetings, won two Big Ten championships and been to the BCS national championship semi final.
Michigan, who used to rule the state, hasn’t even played in a Big Ten title game.
MSU also wins games it has no business winning. That is why the Michigan program is being more respectful and silent.
I’ve spent years snooping around the Spartan program as a journalist. MSU players would give us the standard “we hate Michigan” sound bites. Calm stuff. Then someone from Michigan would talk about little brother and suddenly State players had razor blades piercing from their eyes with anger.
My advice for Michigan players was to shut up and play the game. It looks like the humbled Wolverines learned their lesson and it is one of the reasons I pick them to win a dreadful, boring game over the Spartans.