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October 24, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-24

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The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

8- Friday, October 24, 2014

8 - Friday, October 24, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

History not on Michigan's side

'M' needs season's
best performance

Daily Sports Editor
Add Vegas to the list of
Michigan doubters.
In a year with far more valleys
than peaks, the Michigan
football team faces its biggest
challenge of the season - a road
game against No. 8 Michigan
State (3-0 Big Ten, 6-1 overall).
Very few, if any, outside of
Michigan's locker room think
the Wolverines can pull off
the biggest upset of Michigan
coach Brady Hoke's four-year
tenure. Many analysts picked
the Wolverines to lose this game
before the season started.
Michigan would need an
outstanding performance from
fifth-year senior quarterback
Devin Gardner, Heisman-like
showings from running backs
sophomore De'Veon Smith and
redshirt junior Justice Hayes
or a 2013-Michigan State-esque
dominance by the defense.
So, to put it mildly, the
Spartans are favorites in this
one. The Wolverines (1-2, 3-4)
opened the week as 15-point
underdogs, and since then,
Vegas' line has moved to 17.
It's the largest spread in the
Spartans' favor in the history of
the rivalry.
"Look, the only people
who really care about that
are gamblers. I don't gamble,"
Hoke said Monday. "That being
said, we've been the underdogs
before, and for us, it's just going
out there and playing football."
And he's right. Michigan has
been an underdog before, but the
team's performances in those
situations doesn't help his cause.
Since Hoke took over in
2011, the Wolverines have been
underdogs 14 times, winning just
three of those games. Of those
14 games, eight of them had
Michigan as more than three-
point underdogs, and the team
came up short all eight times.
The Wolverines' best chance
to change that narrative came

Michigan is a 17-point underdog to Michigan State, the largest spread against the Wolverines in the rivirys history.

Managing Sports Editor
Brady Hoke had to correct
himself during Monday's
press conference ahead of the
Michigan football team's game
against Michigan State.
"This is a great rivalry and a
great rivalry in a lot of ways,"
he said. "Obviously, we have
three great rivalries - two great
Since Notre Dame opted out of
its annual series with them, the
Wolverines have been left with
just two yearly rivalry games.
You can't avoid it now, Michigan
fans: Michigan State is now
undeniably one of the biggest
games of the year.
But the series has been a little
lopsided lately - and not in the
way it has been historically..
The Spartans have won five
of the last six. The Wolverines'
point totals have dropped in
every year since 2004. (The trend
will continue if Michigan scores
fewer than six points Saturday.)
And Michigan State won the
Rose Bowl last season, while
the Wolverines haven't won the
"Grandaddy of Them All" since
Jan. 1,1998.
Michigan is a 17-point under-
dog in Saturday's -game, the
biggest spread against it in the
rivalry's history. If the Wolver-
ines want to snap their Spartan
skid, alot needs to go right.
. "We've been the underdogs
before, and for us, it's just going
out there and playing football
each week," Hoke said. "We've
obviously got to play our best
football Saturday."
This isn't the same Michigan,
State squad that manhandled
Michigan last year, holding
it to minus-48 yards rushing.
The Spartans have looked
vulnerable defensively, allowing
an average of 29 points against

last year when they were five- two coming in the last three
point underdogs on the road matchups. But three of the
against Iowa. But they lost, 24-21, four times when the Spartans
and their fight against the spread were favored, the Wolverines
produced more of the same. were unable to pull the upset.
Another opportunity arose last The lone victory came in 2005
season when Michigan hosted when Michigan was a 4.5-point
15.5-point favorite Ohio State. underdog on the road, but won,
but it fell short 34-31.
on a last-second While it's
two-point not news
conversion, " ho wouldn't that the
losing, 42-41. Wolverines
"You can w ant pto lay a are struggling
talk about t J this season,
underdogs and game like this?" the Vegas line
those things, makes it look
(but) when you historically
start talking bad. But the
about rivalry games, things assessment makes sense.
change a little bit to some Over the last four years,
degree," Hoke said. "Everybody Hoke's biggest road win came
talks about how this week is last season over Northwestern.
different." It was a triple-overtime affair
In this rivalry, Michigan has where Michigan was the
been the underdog just four underdog for the first time ever
times in the last 17 years, with against the Wildcats. Hoke

has never beaten Notre Dame,
Michigan State or Ohio State
on the road. And after laying an
egg in South Bend earlier this
season, Hoke has yet another
chance to fix that trend.
"Who wouldn't want to play
a game like this?" Hoke said.
"Who wouldn't want to get
ready to prepare to go play your
best football? ... It's a daggone
important game because it's a
great rivalry game."
This is just the fifth time since
1997 that the Wolverines are
more than 14-point underdogs.
The previous times came in 2008
and 2013 against the Buckeyes.
Michigan's closest opportunity
for the upset was last year against
then-No. 3 Ohio State.
It's clear that neither history
nor Vegas are on the Wolverines'
side, so all that's left is to just
play the game and see. There's a
first time for everything.

Power S opponents.
But the Wolverines haven't
exactly been an offensive
juggernaut. The unit has reached
the end zone just three times
in five games against Power 5
A single touchdown was
enough in an 18-13 victory
Oct. 11 against Penn State. The
Michigan defense shut down the
Nittany Lions in the second half,
and senior Matt Wile kicked the
Wolverines to a win under the Big
House lights.
But the Wolverines might not
be able to rely on such a strong
defensive performance Saturday.
Unlike in previous years, the
weapons. There's quarterback
Connor Cook, whom Hoke called
"one of the better quarterbacks in
this league," and there's receiver
Tony Lippett, whom Hoke said
"has played like the best receiver
in this conference."
"We are playing the defending
Big Ten champs, who deserve
that and have played very good
football during the year on both
sides of the ball," Hoke added.
The Spartans remain
undefeated in the Big Ten an*
have a legitimate chance to claim
back-to-back conference titles
for the first time since 1965-
66. Meanwhile, the Wolverines
haven't finished atop the league
since sharing the honor with
Iowa in 2004.
"It's not about us ruining their
season; it's about us," said fifth-
year senior quarterback Devin
Gardner on Monday.
But if Michigan were to
ruin Michigan State's season,
it would require an inspired
performance by the offense
coupled with another strong
game from the defense.
Otherwise, the Wolverines'
second-biggest rival could
dominate Michigan once again.

Dueling columns: The Daily vs. The State News*

Ifeel bad for my past State
News colleagues. The yearly
rivalry columns used to be
harder to write I'm sure.
But we don't live in that world
anymore. Writing this is as easy
as grabbing
a maize and
blue shirt off
the clearance
rack at
that MSU
has exerted GEOFF
in my time PRESTON
on campus
over the little
sister down the road is almost
hard to watch. And I always
thought it was the Wolverines
who were supposed to feel sorry
for us Spartans.
We're here for you, Ann Arbor.
Seriously, we're here for you.
The phrase "Not our real rival"
Is thrown around with an ease
among Wolverines, an ease that
reflects the delusional nature
that those people live with every
day. Ohio State is going to beat
you too, I know, but we're not our
rival? Come on.
But hey, I'm not here to fight,
Let's entertain your notion of this
not really being much a rivalry,
MSU has won five of the past
six years in football and beat
U-M for the Big Ten title in
basketball. Outside of sports, our
parties are louder, our women
are prettier and The State News
actually gets nominated for
national awards and not just
regional ones.
You know, come to think of it,
"not our rival" might be the most
inarticulate rubbish to spew from
the arrogant, entitled country-
club Michigan fan's mouth since
the 1999 Rose Bowl.

So what does the poor
Michigan fan do? Well, if you
work at The Michigan Daily,
you'll probably resort back to
attacking the quality of our
student publications, because
there's really no ammunition left.
But we can look at that too, and
this'll be fun for the Michigan
fan because we know you guys
love to talk about the past.
The State News has won
14 Pacemaker awards for the
print publication, the highest
prize in college journalism. The
Michigan Daily has not. Not even
The Michigan fan will
probably talk about their winning
streak against The State News
in the two-hand shove football
game we hold once a uear. When
we take that from you, the way
that MSU has taken everything
from U-M in this rivalry, you will
literally have nothing left,
MSU will win on Saturday,
Period. To pile anything else
on your pathetic, kale-eating,
Prius-driving town would be like
putting a kid in a football game
when he had a concussion.
Oh, still too soon?
You can call us "little brother"
all you want, but after The State
News beats the Michigan Daily
this weekend, I suspect you'll
have run out of things to say.
And that dueling column next
year? It'll be even easier for the
guy who comes after me.
Preston is a State News
football reporter. He can be
reached at gpreston@msu.edu.
Editors's note: This column
was subject to the editing team
and style guide of The State News.
The Daily has published it as

very year, we trade
these columns back and
forth, and every year, we
debate the same talking points.
The Daily will inevitably
cover Michigan State's
has the
tradition of
success on
its side and
that it's only
a matter of GREG
time until it GARNO
gets back to
Naturally, The State
News will claim Michigan
is entitled and arrogant, its
fanbase consists of "Wal-Mart
Wolverines" and for the past
six years, the Spartans have
been the better team on the
But no matter how much we
debated, we were only talking
in circles.
That is, until you finally
provided something original
in last year's column. The
one that said,"The faux aura
around the U-M football
program is as big a sham
as a newspaper staffed by
kids that don't even major in
You were right; Michigan
students can't get a degree
in journalism. I major in
communication studies and
minor in writing. So allow
me to change the script. I'm
going to do what you think
you inherently do better:
I reached out to students
at Michigan State University,
people from different years
and programs, to ask them

about their news readin,
But I know not everyn
reads the news often (w
can agree that's a shame
Which is why I also pos
a hypothetical: if they w
to read one news outletc
campus, which would th
choose, Paper A or Pape
Imagine both papers<
the same campus coveri
same events, but staffed
run differently.
Paper A is a large pap
an active staff of more tl
100 students and provid
coverage on news, sport
and campus life.
The Society of Profes
Journalists nominated I
A for two reporting awa
in its region
just last year.
It placed
second in best Stu
all-around the
newspaper cathey
Paper A;
is sourced M i
by larger,
papers in the
local area
when it shares news. It 1
a credible reputation am
other news organization
Paper A's sports secti
particular, provides cov
from both home and aw
football games with stor
on volleyball and soccer
amongst others, but not
extensive as the biggers
Within the past three
years, Paper A has prods
reporters who write at s
to mid-level newspaper:
And lastly, Paper A st
writers from a journalis

g Meanwhile, Paper B also
has an active staff that covers
one the covers the same topics,
-e but does so with a bigger staff
). that produces a wider range of
ed content in any given week.
ere Paper B was nominated for
on six reporting awards by the
sey SPJ in its region and took first
r B? place in two of them (including
are on sports writing). Paper B was
ng the declared not only the best
and paper in the region, but also a
finalist in the entire nation.
er with National outlets such as The
han New York Times, ESPN and
es CBS Sports have sourced or
s, arts cited Paper B in its reporting
of events. So have local outlets.
sional The Daily Show with Jon
aper Stewart did a five-minute
rds segment featuring Paper B.
Paper B's
sports staff
covers every
athletic team
byon campus
work done1. oncmu
byin some
aper like The capacity, but
chigan Daily more stories
per team,
even the
smaller ones.
has from Paper B, in the last
tong three years alone, have gone
as. to work full-time at The New
on, in York Times, Pittsburgh Post-
erage Gazette, Sports Illustrated,
ay Sporting News, Los Angeles
'ies Times and The Tennessean.
Paper B's staff doesn't learn
hing as at a journalism program.
ports. Yet Michigan State students,
after I went through the list
uced one-by-one, picked Paper B.
mall, In this case, of course, Paper
S. A is The State News and Paper
affs B is The Michigan Daily. The
m superiority of one over the
other is so obvious. But don't

let me do that talking.
There's Marshall W, a
senior, who said, "If I wasn't
affiliated with Michigan State,
and I was presented with both
facts, I would stick by my
And Sara S, a junior, said,
"Based off those conditions, I
would say B."
Stephen P, also a senior,
said, "I think each paper has
its own reputation, and I think
that carries more weight than
anything else."
I used a small sample size
- only six people - but not a
single one picked The State
News. And it shouldn't take
more than them to tell you:
If they didn't go to Michigan
State, students would prefer
the work done by a paper like
The Michigan Daily.
I won't pretend the
Michigan football team will
win on Saturday. It's a team
with an offense that can't stay
on the field and a defense that
can't record turnovers. I won't
try to stick up for a coach and
athletic director who risked a
player's safety by putting him
back out with a concussion.
But I do know that the
school without a journalism
program kicked your ass in the
very subject within the last
year alone.
And after we beat you in
football on Friday, for the 10th 9
year in a row, we'll return to
the newsroom and continue to
do our job better than you.
Just as we always have. And
that's not up for debate.
Garno is the Co-Managing
Sports Editor and a football beat
writer at the Michigan Daily. He w
can be reached at ggarno@umich.
edu or on Twitter: @GGarn9w

D The Michigan Daily


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