Cleveland leads, 1-0
Series tied. 1-1
New York 1
Series tied, 1-1
Los Angeles 2
St. Louis 4,
Tracking 'M' teams
Check out the Michigan women's tennis team this
weekend as they head to Champaign this weekend for
the Illinois Tournament, in which they will face Duke,
Texas, Northwestern and Notre Dame.
October 7, 1999
Countdown to The Showdown: days
ere at Michigan State we
have more than 40,000
I see them everywhere I go.
But at Michigan, it seems like
there are only five.
I've been to Ann Arbor dozens
of times, and, try as I might, I can
only find five different Michigan
There is Nicky, the rich, arro-
nt sorority girl wearing her tight
ck pants, walking into the latest
coffee shop for a cafe latte.
Then there is
Steve, the rich, Pt
ness student, Muir
. Abercrombie &1
and khakis. He's
(king into an
w'ually trendy s
coffee shop to
get a light lunch TnE
on his way to STATE NEWS
white fraternity cap hides the horns
that are already starting to grow out
of his head.
Nicky and Steve's worst enemy,
Moonbeam the hippy, is right
,und the corner at the beatnik
coffee shop. She's rich and arrogant
but doesn't want anyone to know.
Her coffee tastes the same, but it
costs more because the beans were
grown in an eco-friendly environ-
ment. She later tosses her cup on
"I hate those kids, Nicky and
Steve. They're so materialistic,"
,oonbeam says as she plunks down
W for a new pair of Timberland
Of course, there's also William,
the nerdy pre-med student who
won't let anyone borrow his notes,
lest he inadvertently ruin the curve
in his organic chemistry class. He is
slowly developing into a new ver-
sion of Michigan alumnus Ted
Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Steve
and Nicky pick on him. Moonbeam
- ghs at him, but soon he will rule
world - at least he's rich and
arrogant enough to think so.
William doesn't stop in any of
Ann Arbor's 2,000 coffee shops
very often because he's too busy
Finally, there's Mike from Long
Island. Mike is rich enough to
afford out-of-state tuition and arro-
gant enough to resent being in
"This coffee sucks," he says.
"It's totally better back East."
Mike doesn't really get along
well with the others.
Trust me. I know all of these
people well. I've been to Ann Arbor
more times than I care to remember.
I even lived there for a summer - I
call it my "dark period" and rarely
speak of it.
That's how I know there are only
e different people on or around
What they all have in common,
besides wealth and arrogance, is
they expect Saturday's game against
Michigan State to be a cakewalk.
Well, they can take their Diag
and their block 'M' and shove it,
because it's finally the year of the
Why is it that none of them has
Did they get too stoned at Hash
Did their brains freeze while
running the Naked Mile?
Or does it all just come back to
Ann Arbor's chief natural resource
Spartans are losers
- it's in their blood
its pretty easy to make jokes about
our lovable, dim-witted friends at
Michigan State. I could write for
hours on how Michigan State students
are couch-burning, cow-tipping, less-
than-sharp meatheads whose closest
venture to success would be delivering
pizza to the head of a major corpora-
But what's the point?
I feel that
students get a T.*j
bum rap in this Berka
state. Sure, most
of them tried to
get into other
failed, but that
they are dumb. I
think that TEEING
Michigan stu- OFF
dents should be
charitable and try to understand what
goes through a Spartan's head.
First of all, this game on Saturday is
extremely important to the students at
Michigan State University. They really"
have nothing else to live for. Ever
since their senior year of high school,
when they received the rejection letter
from U of M, they have been yearning
for the chance to stick it to the superi-
or school in the state.
It's really hard for a Michigan stu-
dent to relate to the inferiority com-
plex that comes along with being a
student at State. Michigan is in the top
10 in countless academic programs
and has won five national champi-
onships in four different sports since
1995, so Michigan is used to success.
At Michigan State, success is mak-
ing flame-retardant couches, defend-
ing local landmarks with squirt guns
and winning seven games in a football
season. That, and beating the
Michigan really doesn't think any-
thing about beating State. It's some-
thing that Michigan students have
taken for granted. Ever since the early
days of elementary school, Wolverines
have been getting the best of Spartans.
You remember the Spartans from
growing up. The kids who would lick
the flagpole on a cold January day and
get their tongues frozen on. The kids
who bought tickets to the pep rallies
in high school. Those kids now attend
It was fun to pick on them when we
were younger. But it just doesn't have
the entertainment value anymore. We
have bigger schools to fight with now,
such as Notre Dame and Ohio State.
It's no fun picking on the kid who
can't defend himself
But Spartans do have some funny
qualities. First of all, they love to hear
themselves talk. The Spartan kid was
the kid who would throw words into
random sentences, even if there wasn't
an ounce of truth to them.
For example, Michigan State kids
always claim the week before the
Michigan game that this is the year
that they will win. But since I've been
in school, the closest they have gotten
was a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
But that's what makes Spartan kids
so funny - the utter lack of reality
that they use in everyday situations.
Another favorite example of Michigan
State chatter is the groundless claims
- usually spouted off during a drunk-
en fit - that they are an intellectually
Actually, that does have some merit
- if your future career is chicken
farming or fast food service. The
wages at McDonald's are increasing
every day, so career opportunities are
better than ever for the average
Michigan State graduate.
But as much as I want to accept the
Sparties as a member of the Michigan
family - they can be the uncle who
quits school for a career in the circus
- I really can't totally let them in.
Because Spartans are losers.
That seems a bit harsh, because
Spartans can be really nice, folksy
kids. While they may have the intelli-
gence of your average tree-swinging
primate, they do try to be positive
members of society.
But they always lose out in the end.
Michigan won a football national
championship in 1997. We won hock-
ey national championships in 1996
and 1998. The Wolverines even won a
national championship in men's gym-
nastics in April.
What have the Spartans won in the
past three years? An extra-value meal?
What does a Spartan aspire to in life?
A grocery store manager'? The guy
who works in a highway tollbooth ?
1 really don't know. But ask a
Spartan. I'm sure they could come up
with a great story.
Just not a victory on Saturday.
- Lii Berka sees the Spartans losing
in a rout Saturday, then claiming that
they are the better team. He can be
reached via e-mail at
Things have improved for Michigan State quarterback Bill Burke this season. A new offensive coordinator, more freedom to
audible, and a defense that allows 42 rushing yards a game have Burke and his teammates enjoying a 5-0 record.
Freedom ne w offensive system ehas
Spartans' Burke leading a top team
By TJ. Berka
Daily Sports Editor
Things weren't exactly perfect last
season for Michigan State quarterback
Bill Burke. He struggled mightily under
center as his team - a preseason top 20
pick - finished 6-6 and didn't qualify
for a bowl for the first time in four
Fans were angry at the Warren, Ohio
native, and many wanted to replace him
with Ryan Van Dyke, a hotshot fresh-
man from Marshall, Mich. With the loss
of running back Sedrick Irvin to the
NFL, big things weren't expected of
Burke and the Spartans this year.
Not as if Burke cared.
"I looked at last year as being a learn-
ing experience," Burke said. "It was my
first year, so I was learning and starting
to come into my own."
Not many preseason prognositcators
were sure what Burke would be like
after he came into his own. With that
said, and the loss of Irvin, the Spartans
were picked as a middle-ofdthe-pack
team in the Big Ten this year.
They have been far from mediocre
this season. Michigan State has started
the season 5-0 and finds itself ranked
1 1th in the national polls preceding
Saturday's high noon showdown with
And a lot of that success can be
attributed to Burke.
"Bill has played very well for us,"
Michigan State coach Nick Saban said.
"For us to be successful, Bill has to keep
Under new offensive coordinator
Morris Watts, Burke has had to pass a
lot to be successful. And with talented
wide receivers Gari Scott and Plaxico
Burress at his disposal, Burke is loving
every minute of it.
"We definitely like to mix it up and
spread the wealth around," Burke said.
"We like to run the ball, but we also
pass more than we used to. As a quar-
terback, I love it."
Watts has put more emphasis on
Burke and his connections with the 6-
foot-6 Burress and senior co-captain
Scott. It is a direct contrast to last sea-
son, when the offense consisted of Irvin
running the ball, Irvin catching the ball,
and the other guys getting the ball once
in a while.
Along with getting everyone
involved in the offense, Watts has also
allowed Burke something that wasn't
allowed last season - for Burke to call
his own audibles.
"I have more freedom in a way,"
Burke said. "I do a lot of checks at the
line of scrimmage."
The new freedom on offense has
been the icing on the cake for Burke in
his experience at Michigan State.
Although he was a native of Ohio, he
never was a big fan of Ohio State, which
allowed him to have an open mind when
it came down to choosing colleges.
The openess in his mind was closed
quickly, as Burke instantly fell in love
with the State campus. All other
prospective schools were thrown out the
window after Burke visited East
"I took a visit to Maryland, but I did-
n't go anywhere else after I visited
MSU," Burke said. "I like the size of the
campus and the educational programs
available to me, not to mention the foot-
ball program and coach Saban."
After backing up Todd Schultz for
two seasons, Burke had his chance to
See BURKE, Page 10A
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