In the week leading up to the Michigan-Michigan State football game each year, writers from The Michigan Daily and the student newspaper at Michigan State exchange columns. You can find this year’s installment below, starting with The Daily and followed by The State News.

Nicholas Stoll, co-Managing Sports Editor, The Michigan Daily

It just seems unfair.

The game, this column, comparing our publications — it’s cruel.

It all hit me after last year’s game. As we popped champagne in the endzone, I should’ve been elated. After two years and the bulk of a pandemic, we finally got to pummel The State News in our annual touch football game once again.

Instead, I was conflicted.

As The State News’ babysitters cursed at us like immature children to get off the field, its unbecoming role models, athletic inadequacy, mediocre campus and subpar writing ability all came into view at once. How could I be happy beating, well, that?

But as I sat down to write this, combing through The State News’ advertisement — sorry, I mean website — and its writers’ old tweets, I remembered there’s absolutely no reason to feel bad about being on The Daily and beating State News. And as I scrolled through past dueling columns, I remembered something else: 

You’ve had as many original thoughts as wins since the Bush administration.

We are all so tired of your clichés, and we already know what you’re going to say. You’ll probably start with those ACP Pacemakers and awards you love to tout. How are those nominations going this year? Let’s check. We have seven, five individual and two full-paper, and you have two total? I doubt you’ll include that part, though.

Then you’ll probably mention how big our staff is, even though your alumni will probably embarrass themselves talking about it first. Let’s stop pretending that we should gatekeep journalism. Maybe you have to be selective when your acceptance rate is four times that of Michigan’s, but if you’re going to hand pick your writers and editors, at least try doing a better job. 

Seriously, how do you let some of this through?

“As a head coach, Tucker likes two separate penalties into two categories: ‘dumb, stupid’ ones and those that are simply the result of an aggressive team.”

Apparently editing was “two” much for you.

Speaking of numbers: Four. That’s the amount of lazy ledes in the only four volleyball stories you’ve written since the beginning of the season. Our staff has written 13 volleyball articles since the start of October. But hey, you’re covering some of Michigan State field hockey’s “homes games” now — something you haven’t been so great at in the past. Just a heads up, if you ever want some help on a story, let “any riffraff” at The Daily know; we’d be happy to help, and we’d certainly do a better job.

Next, you’ll say we don’t get paid. We do. But while I’m sure your paychecks come with a 401(k) and dental, maybe try saving some of that money to actually do your jobs. I didn’t notice a dateline from Seattle when the Michigan State football team played Washington. Don’t worry, we’ve got some from when the Michigan softball team was there.

While we’re on the topic of the Spartans’ football team, I’m so sorry for you. I know you’re huge fans, and a team that bad must be hard to cover for writers with as little objectivity as your own. 

I guess your beloved J-school forgot to mention that you aren’t supposed to root for the teams you cover. Too bad Michigan State just gives out journalism degrees like candy.

And yes, we mainly focus on criticizing your sports content. We can’t help ourselves. We know what good sports writing looks like, and we just want to help you figure it out, too. But you already know your sports stories are weak. That’s probably why your sports Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since May 3.

But if you want to bring up our non-sports content, feel free. The Daily has done an incredible job covering the Robert Anderson protests, a presidential firing and investigating University Housing concerns, just to name a few. Maybe you’ll be thankful we don’t bring up your stories about magic tricks. Although, to be fair, you might need one or two to win Friday night.

Speaking of which, it wouldn’t be a dueling column without ending with the main event: the yearly massacre we call a touch football game. Don’t worry, the field is reserved and the forecast doesn’t call for snow. But, with recent results, you might not actually want to take the field at all.

Did you know that no current staffer at The State News has ever scored a single point on The Daily? As a matter of fact, we have more touchdowns than you have first downs since 2019. The years of marginal gains really seem to be paying off.

But that’s not the most embarrassing statistic you have to cope with. The last time The State News won was 2004, and by the time we play, there will be people in your newsroom who were not alive the last time you beat The Daily. After 18 years, our win streak has become generational.

So this year, when we’re inevitably popping champagne again — and there’s no one to kick us off our own field — I’ll try to enjoy it more. I just hope you can come to terms with what we both already know:

You’ll always be The State News, and we’ll always be one step ahead.

Stoll is a co-Managing Sports Editor and football beat writer at The Michigan Daily. He can be reached at and on Twitter @nkstoll. Please @ him. 

Sam Sklar, Sports Editor, The State News

Alright, let’s just be real to start things off: Last year was a disaster. 

We came into that rainy night convinced it was going to be the game that went differently. 

It wasn’t. 

Daniel Dash’s overarching presence – physically and figuratively – was an easy game plan for you all. Luckily, it won’t be that easy this year. The Daily will actually have to come up with something a little more creative than lobbing it up to your towering receiver. 

Unless, of course, you found a new one from the scraps to add to your embarrassingly large, unpaid staff. 

As an out-of-state student, I never really understood much about the Michigan State-Michigan rivalry until I came to MSU. I obviously was aware of the stem of the hatred, but never realized it reached all the way to the student newspapers. 

But now in my sixth semester with The State News, I get it. The State News is far superior to The Michigan Daily, despite all of the slander and libel you like to throw our way because you think you’re so cool. Oh wait, you don’t even have a journalism school to teach you what those two words mean. 

There are so many veins to open up here, but I’ll start with one of the most important ones: Pacemakers. 

How many does The Daily have? Do I even need all of my fingers to count them?

Sure, you may have a much larger staff that covers every nook and cranny of your grotesque campus and will bring four-times as many people to Friday’s game, but The State News brings quality. That’s reflected from outside organizations like the Associated Collegiate Press, not even us. 

Now while you bang your heads on your expensive table you probably charged to your expensive Amex, at least remind yourself to be unbiased in your reporting. 

I’m looking at you, football reporters. Those were some sweet buffs you were wearing! Was it your mommy or your daddy who paid for them? Or were they fake? You look like the kids who peaked in high school.

I’m sure some of the players thought your looks were awesome and will provide you with the best possible quotes you can get. Perhaps the “walking mismatch” and anti-Semite Donovan Edwards will help you out. 

Here’s something we can both relate to: Turmoil amongst our school’s leaders.

Santa Ono just took over as Michigan’s president, while MSU has begun searching for its new president. Though it’s been less than a month, it looks like Michigan may have found the right fit for president. Good for you. His Twitter selfies are adorable! Will he post one with The State News on Friday night?

Michigan State’s presidential drama is just as embarrassing as Michigan’s. If you’re going to cover what’s going on here, at least have the decency to write your own story rather than regurgitating other publications. But hey, we appreciate the extra clicks!

While looking through this article, I also decided to meander through your news section to see what’s been going on in Ann Arbor. After a long yawn, I discovered a hysterical trend: Every other article is about a random person speaking about a random topic. 

How about you focus on some actual news that people care about? Yes, that’s a hyperlink to Raising Cane’s, which just opened its first Michigan location in East Lansing, intentionally choosing it over Ann Arbor. 

We got obliterated last year, that means zilch this year. It’s a clean slate. And when a celebration is warranted after The State News’ victory Friday night, it will be accompanied with Raising Cane’s chicken fingers in one hand and our Pacemakers in another just because we can. 

We’re coming for you. 

Sklar is the Sports Editor at The State News. He can be reached at and on Twitter @sklarsam_.