Ugh, Michigan

Ugh, Michigan

Michigan. The very word must be uttered with disgust.

A friend gave us a bag of hand-me-down baby clothes a couple weeks ago. Among them were two baby-sized Michigan jerseys. Ugh, I said and she laughed: I knew you wouldn’t want those!

I have a hard time coming up with a legitimate reason why I can’t stand Michigan. I just can’t. Well, except for that awful game in 2005, which will probably always hurt to mention. It’s an unforgettable game. Try as we might.

I read something recently on which a Michigan alum commented, “I think it’s hilarious that Penn State fans still get upset about that game.” All of his Michigan friends jumped on board in agreement. It seems these fans didn’t consider us to be on their level. Hmmph.

Michigan likely considers Ohio State and Michigan State before us in the rivalry department. That leaves the rivalry between us feeling a bit one-sided. Even though we are both universities with storied histories, we actually haven’t been playing each other for that long.

So, who is our biggest rival?

Allen Robinson's one yard line catch against Michigan.  Photo courtesy of Tom Mairs. Allen Robinson's one yard line catch against Michigan. Photo courtesy of Tom Mairs.

Ohio State? Some have suggested Rutgers will be our next big rival; maybe, time will tell. I’ve always enjoyed the match up with Michigan State. Two historic land grant universities battling it out in the last game of the season. Can we still consider Pittsburgh to be our biggest rival if we no longer play them? If Pitt does, in fact, return to the schedule in a few years, that should settle the biggest rivalry question. You can’t beat the lengthy history of games between us.

Still, Michigan is up there. We share some similarities which make for a good rivalry. The Big House vs Beaver Stadium. 1817 vs 1855. National championships. Big Ten educations. Wolverines vs Nittany Lions.

Sure, there’s a whole bunch of statistics to pour over. If you want to watch ESPN, you can hear all of the reasons why we will win or they will. In conference play, it seems statistics and predictions rarely matter, and that’s what truly makes it an exciting rivalry.

We’ve certainly had some dramatic games against Michigan. Last year’s game was nothing short of epic. Beating them in such exhilarating fashion has me feeling somewhat charitable towards them. Perhaps it’s time to put the grudge behind us.... Ah I’m sorry! I can’t do it. What time is it?