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Poking the flames of Spartans Wolverines rivalry

Written By: Terry Foster | January 18, 2012

Filed Under: Opinion, sports

I did it for a reason. I stoked the flames of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry because I love it when fans back peddle. I love it when they set a standard for their program and won’t do it for the other.

The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry is alive and well although some folks still try to deny it. My job is to poke the flames now and then just to keep things rolling. I don’t have a horse in this race. I am a state of Michigan man and only ask that you entertain me three times a year with two good basketball games and a good football game in the fall.

Shortly after Michigan beat Michigan State 60-59 Tuesday night I threw a test bomb out there by writing on this blog that MSU remains the better program. You can go back to the archives to read it.

That riled up blue bloods from around the country who said I was unfair and it was untrue and that the timing was all wrong. And then some of you rocket scientist came up with the same old tired retort that I am sniffing Mike Valenti’s jock strap. When you don’t have a good argument that is the card you play.

But let’s go through a time line and go through your reaction.

When Rich Rodriguez fire bombed Michigan’s football program I did say that the Spartans were not only a better team but a better program. The reason is that this was no longer the Michigan program I recognized. It was something else. Blue bloods got mad because they said you have to look at Michigan tradition and it trumped the Spartans. I would have normally agreed but that thing they paraded out there was not Michigan football.

This was the dazed and blue.

When Brady Hoke took over I acknowledged that Michigan was back and that if you want to use tradition as a reason why Michigan’s program is stronger then go for it. Michigan State however was the better team. Of course the Spartans got mad because they’d beaten Michigan four straight times.  The Michigan fans were happy with that statement and I got emails praising me for standing up to the mean devil known as Mike Valenti.

Last season I said that Michigan was a better basketball team than MSU even before the Wolverines beat the Spartans for the second time in a row. Again Spartans were mad and talked about the Detroit bias against their team.

And finally I threw out Tuesday’s test bomb. I said the exact same thing about Michigan State’s basketball program that I said about Michigan’s football program under Hoke. You thought I wrote setting children on fire is a good thing. The blue bellies got so fired up that I thought they were going to explode.

I guess my question is simple. If Michigan is a better football program because of tradition and recent accomplishments prior to Rich Rod then why isn’t Michigan State’s basketball program better because of tradition and recent accomplishments?

I will be listening and reading.


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17 Responses to “Poking the flames of Spartans Wolverines rivalry”

  1. Dan Says:

    Bam. You nailed it Terry. Michigan winning 3 in a row vs MSU in hoops adds fuel to the fire in regards to what University reigns supreme in Michigan. The rivalray is finally getting interesting with both teams winning in the sports that they aren’t known for.


  2. Saji Says:

    I’m a umich guy my self and I do say Michigan has a better football program for one reason alone. I believe in our recruiting power and that we have a better shot at a nc. Same argument goes for Michigan state basketball program. It takes a long time to build reputations like these programs have and a few off yrs wont destroy it


  3. George Markley Says:

    Talent wise, MSU still has a slight edge. They have some younger inexperienced guys and they have not gelled as a team yet .I know, I know…a “program machine” like MSU is built to absorb change and not skip a beat…but the stakes have been raised by a program in Ann Arbor that has finally begun to build an on and off the court infrastructure to create a niche of their own and become a formidable competitor again with the Big 10 and other top programs. It is fun to watch and exciting for our state.


  4. Bill Says:

    Terry the issue that I have, is that you seem to go out of your way to start a fight between the fanbases. People get on Mike, but your the one that often eggs him on.

    You say something like, “Mike I was at the grocery store, and a Michigan fan said this….” That starts 3 hours of Michigan bashing.

    When MSU lost to North Carolina here at Ford Field. To hear Mike and other Spartans talk… it was like it was the 2nd battle of Thermopylae. MSU had a home game and got blown out, and made excuses… and you let them get away with it. My favorite excuse, was when Mike made reference to the point spread being different in Basketball then in Football. I guess it’s that new math they teach at MSU. In reality, it’s no different then when Michigan goes to a Rose Bowl, gets hammered, and the talk is Michigan stinks.

    There is a double standard on your show Terry. You guys get a lot of air time from bashing Michigan. However, it’s starting to become an old bit. I guess that fuels ratings, because if you did the same with MSU… there would nothing but silent phone lines.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Bill I remember the North Carolina-MSU game. What was I supposed to say? I saw North Carolina play live the week before. I knew the Tarheels were going to blow out State. The game played out exactly as I said it would. That was the best team in the nation and it did not matter where they played. So what was I supposed to say when things played out like they were supposed to?


  5. Tommyez Says:

    Msu has a better basketball program because of the tradition. Michigan has the better football program fire the same reason. I find it interesting that on the field roles have reversed. I believe the attitudes of the fans have reversed roles as well. MSU fans are at times are snooty and Michigan fans seem to have a little inferiorty complex. This is from a realistic Michigan fan.


  6. Glenn Says:

    I will be popping my popcorn and watch the comments of stupidity flow. I like Michigan and I think you argument is sound. Fans need to gain some perspective.


  7. Jason Says:

    Your show is biased Terry. I’ll give you a perfect example. Last night after the game, Izzo was whining. He made excuses about the minutes played by Appling, the youth of his team, and he complained about the officiating.

    Well lets see, Appling played 31 minutes to Burke’s 37. Michigan’s starters:

    Burke 37 min
    Morgan 33 min
    Douglas 36 min
    Novak 37 min
    Hardaway 36 min

    Michigan also had the youngest player on the court. (running Michigan’s offense no less)

    So MSU was tired, young, and the officials were also a problem last night. I think it’s pretty clear that Izzo was complaining and making excuses…. However, we won’t hear about that on your show. If Michigan had lost that game, and Beilein had said the same things as Izzo…. that would be the theme of your show today.

    It’s ok though. When it comes to your show, “Blue Bellies” (if it’s not personal with you, then why use that term?} know what to expect.

    The thing is Terry, I have been listening to you and Mike since your first show. I am a loyal fan, but it’s gotten to the point that when I hear you or Mike say the word Michigan…. I change the station or turn off the radio.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      How can you bitch about the show and what we are going to say without listening to it? That is unfair. That is like me ripping obama for campaign slogans that he has yet to write. Also I call the Spartans the tooner. do you think they like that?


      • Steve Says:


        You know that the problem for you in this whole thing is that you get lumped in with your radio partner. I get you and your humor, even though most times you like to poke at UM fan too. Mike though is more arrogant than any UM grad on the planet and cries about as much as Izzo does when something doesn’t go his Sparty way.

        As for the rivalry, we all know football matters most. We also know that the RR years weren’t reality. Dantonio is fantastic…for Sparty. But, Hoke is here, and when he gets his players in, he will be dropping some serious beat-downs on him and the B10 in the coming years.

        And now that Basketball is becoming relevant again in AA…look out!!!


  8. Slappy Chris from Hartland Says:

    Terry, you’re simply inviting ignorant response with this article. I know you received ignorant response from the last one, but in a die hard, borderline slappy, sometimes cant stand Mike Valenti, bleed Maize and Blues guys opinion, you were right. You’re gonna get argument about the education, which is absolutely ignorant considering were arguing sports. Youre gonna get arguments about championships that are older than Abe Lincoln. Thats ridiculous. Nobody, not even the university, should give a flying … about things that old. Put up the banner, and move on…ALL fans should consider one thing, when you go to the Pistons game, they dont announce the 2004 NBA champion Pistons…no, they put up the banners and they move on. We should all do the same in this rivalry, MSU has turned Michigan footballs world upside down for 4 years now, and they should be proud of that. Michigan basketball is sneaking its way up the charts and they should be proud. But Michigan and michigan state is defintely on, no matter what anyone says…


    • Terry Foster Says:

      The problem is nobody can just move on from a rivalry. There are really no rivalries in pro sports. In college people will fight for their program even when the program has nothing to right for. I know I invite the ignorant but that is what we deal with in sports. They read and listen and are a huge part of things. I do not run from them


  9. Mike Says:

    Terry, how can you compare UM football to MSU hoops? Its not even close…UM football tradition of winning goes back almost 100 years. You could claim before Izzo, UM and MSU were pretty similar in basketball. Both only had 1 national title, and UM went to 3 final fours from 89-93. In my opinion the gap is way larger (historically) in football. MSU definitely has a superior basketball program, but the gap isn’t nearly as large as UM to MSU in football.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      I can compare based on this. Before last season Michigan State hoops was considered a better program than Michigan. Should three games make a difference? Michigan State beat Michigan four straight years in football but Michigan fans still say they are a better program. That is how I can compare.


  10. Brandon Says:

    The MSU/ Michigan rivalry is fueled by the Michigan fan’s repression of MSU. Terry, you hit the nail right on the head when you said that anytime MSU beats Michigan, the fan’s initial response is to deny the game at hand by pointing to the record books. The big headline going into this past fall was the Michigan fan’s denial to even acknowledge a rivalry with MSU in athletics, which the arrogance makes our green and white blood boil on its own. It wasn’t that long ago that the Michigan fan base even acknowledged they rooted for a basketball team. “Oh, no I only watch football; no one cares about basketball…” The other part of the equation is, as MSU fans, we are vastly outnumbered and thus feel a greater sense to protect our programs. In the state of Michigan it is the MSU fans, who in large majority went to the University, versus the Michigan alumni base along with everyone else. I have a ton of Michigan friends, only two of which went to Michigan, which also explains the phenomenon of the “Wal-Mart Wolverine”. Bottom line, I can take the heat and the fun banter from actual Michigan alums, because it can be intelligent and respectful. What I cannot stand for, is the loud, trashy fan that has never stepped foot on a major university campus, let alone Michigan’s. It is their arrogance and false sense in pride that has made this rivalry what it is.


  11. Chrisitan Says:

    I don’t listen to your show, but I hear plenty of your comments. I’m Detroit born, and a Michigan fan, and I hate the obsession with tradition in every argument. Tradition doesn’t win games this season…In the end I like your argument certainly think it’s sound but I don’t think anyone should bother disagreeing with it. It’s almost like they feel your opinion changes the outcomes of games. Regardless of who is the better team or program at the moment, the only thing that truly matters is who wins the games.


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