I was talking with my friend who’s a student at Michigan (and because of that affiliation, I use the word “friend” as loosely as possible) about what would happen if the Wolverines found themselves with a 2-3 record after this weekend.

“Wow,” he said, obviously considering the possibility for the first time. “I have no idea.”

Frankly, I don’t either.

I mean, would the stock market crash? Laws of physics be suspended? Earth fly out of its orbit?

Nobody can be sure. Mighty Michigan with a losing record? Hide the women and children.

It’s that little bit of arrogance in Michigan fans that we, in Spartan Nation, find so irritating. Especially from the hordes of Michigan fans – you know who they are – who’ve never set foot on the campus except maybe to sit in that sardine can of a football stadium. So let me get this straight – you’re not Michigan alumni, but it’s your favorite team because it wins a lot? That’s true passion, my friend.

Hey, maybe Michigan State doesn’t have the more prestigious history in this rivalry, but at least it’s our history.

But what use is it trying to hammer sense into a Wolverines fan’s head? We’re just different, you and us.

Our mascot is the Spartan, which is native to Greece. Your mascot is the Wolverine, which is native to landfills.

We had two basketball teams in the Final Four last year. You had two good-looking girls enrolled last year.

We’re consistently recognized as one of the best schools to party at.

You, um … hey, remember how good Charles Woodson was?

But let’s put aside our differences for a moment and talk about the big game Saturday between No. 11 Michigan State and unranked Michigan. (Sorry. Just wanted to see what that looked like in print.)

Michigan Daily Sports Editor Sharad Mattu wrote a column this week talking about how the buildup to this game is different from previous years: “Usually when Michigan beats Michigan State they’re just taking care of business – if the Spartans win, the Wolverines’ year is ruined.”

Oh, we’re sorry. Were we bothering you all these years by trying to win? Our bad.

We’ve had to sit and silently take second-class treatment like this from you for years because, to a degree, we’ve deserved it. Michigan has won about 70 percent of the games in this series. You’ve been the big brother that we just can’t beat.

But now it’s time to stop letting the past dictate the present.

This is not the same Spartans team that self-destructed in Ann Arbor last year. Knocking off Notre Dame and St. Weis in South Bend, Ind., proved that they can hang with the big boys.

And it’s definitely not the same Spartans team that doesn’t know how to play as the favorite. I mean, did you see that 61-14 shellacking of Illinois last weekend? Those were Tecmo Super Bowl numbers.

No matter what excuses the Michigan bandwagon comes up with (Mike Hart’s been hurt! Chad Henne’s been replaced by a robot clone of Joey Harrington! We only got to play Eastern Michigan once!), it’s still highly likely that Michigan State is the better team in this game, which scares Spartans fans a little and Wolverines fans a lot.

It’s a small indicator of something else that should scare the Michigan faithful a lot

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