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Dueling Columns: The Michigan Daily vs. The State News

By Everett Cook, Daily Sports Editor
Published October 30, 2013

In the week leading up to the Michigan-Michigan State football game each year, football writers from the Daily and the student newspaper at Michigan State exchange columns. As the teams prepare to clash in East Lansing, here’s this year’s installment:

The Michigan Daily's Everett Cook:

One of my earliest interactions with Michigan State started with a female Spartan screaming at me to suck a part of her body that she categorically cannot possess.

This was during my sophomore year two years ago during the “touch” football game that The Michigan Daily and The State News play every Friday before the real football players battle on Saturday. I grew up in California not knowing a thing about Michigan State or why there is such animosity (for Michigan State fans reading this, that means “bad blood” ) between these two schools.

I’m not like a lot of my classmates, the ones that grew up with or knowing Spartan fans, or the ones who applied to both schools, just in case they don’t get into Michigan. Everything I know about Michigan State comes from personal experience — there were no preconceived ideas or stereotypes that come with growing up in this area.

So, my relationship with Michigan State started on that field with that foul-mouthed Spartan, who I later found out was the editor-in-chief of that esteemed publication.

Two years later, not much has changed. The State News scored only one touchdown in last year’s game for its eighth (yes, eighth) loss in a row, there were several verbal grenades thrown toward our sideline that would have made even the crudest Spartan cringe and I still don’t know a ton about Michigan State.

For out-of-state students that don’t have family members or anyone from the bottom half of their high school head to East Lansing, this intra-state tension feels a lot different.

Still, over the course of an undergraduate career, Wolverines meet Spartans, usually through mutual friends. It happens. Truly, they are not all bad people.

But when the topic of school comes up — what’s your major, etc. — if a Spartan got into Michigan, they will let you know.

It’s never, “Yeah, I’m studying to be a veterinarian and I really like the program.” It’s always, “Yeah, I got into Michigan but decided to go to State because the program was a better fit for me.”

It doesn’t matter that Michigan State has a very respectable veterinarian program — if that Spartan got into Michigan, you’ll know very soon.

For an out-of-state student, this inferiority complex doesn’t make any sense. Michigan State is a fine school with decent athletic teams. Its football team has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools — obviously impressive. The all-time record of 68-32-5 in Michigan’s favor changes that perception a bit, but hey, four of the last five!

Even if you had never heard of this “little brother complex” before — which a good chunk of out-of-state students haven’t — it became painfully evident during the touch football game. The best part about the editor-in-chief screaming that anatomically incorrect barb? It was after she had picked up a first down.

Instead of being happy after a nice play, the insult was hurled out of pure anger. Anyone who thinks that inferiority complex doesn’t exist is delusional.

The game on Saturday — which will likely decide the division winner — is going to be close. It may not be pretty, because Michigan State has a dominant defense while Michigan has an exciting offense that has a tendency to turn the ball over. Also, the finest intramural quarterbacks in East Lansing probably could have equaled whatever Connor Cook and Andrew Maxwell are doing this season, but that’s beside the point.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke has historically struggled on the road during his tenure in Ann Arbor, while Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has traditionally done very well against Michigan. It’s going to be a dogfight.

And yet, the real game on Friday, where the Daily goes for nine in a row, will be even better.

But I can guarantee that nobody wearing maize will be telling anybody to suck anything — just not how we operate. Maybe that’s an entitled thing to say, but I would rather be entitled than ignorant.

That’s not coming from someone who has been told that his whole life — that’s coming from someone who has had the pleasure to witness it himself, up close and personal, over the last four years.