October 25, 2008

The Rant Congratulates Michigan State

THE RANT WOULD like to congratulate the Michigan State Spartans on their victory today over the Michigan Wolverines. I realize this game was important to Spartan fans everywhere, and I applaud the squad from East Lansing for not folding like a cheap suit as they usually do about this time of the year. For those of us who went to Michigan, and others who root for the Michigan Wolverines, we should all pause and reflect on some important words that will help us put this game into proper perspective.

If those words are not properly soothing, I would simply note the ancient text of Ecclesiastes 1:9. In this verse, the Teacher said:

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

In other words, one win in seven years does not a dynasty make. (Helpful hint for Michigan State students: Ecclesiastes is a "book" of the "Bible," which you may dimly recall). Also, just as a reminder, readers may find this inspiring:

I'm just pointing it out, that's all.

I realize those readers without Michigan roots or a Michigan connection may not realize just how important the Michigan-Michigan State game is to the Great Lakes State, but Detroit News writer Bob Wojnowski has once again put his finger on the matter:

This is the week everyone in our state loves, and by loves, I mean hates. It's the week when tired stereotypes get tossed around, when Michigan fans pompously accuse Michigan State fans of being simple, insecure, beer-guzzling louts. And Michigan State fans counter by asking what "lout" means, then accuse Michigan fans of being snotty, obnoxious jerks (no clarification needed). It's counterproductive but sort of fun, even if no one else in the country cares about our precious rivalry.

Mr Wojnowski continues:

College football rivalries are supposed to be competitive, respectful and fun, just like sibling rivalries. The Michigan-Michigan State tiff fits that description perfectly, except for the "competitive," "respectful" and "fun" parts. To be fair, the games usually are viciously contested until the very end, when Michigan usually has more points.

This year, sadly, we did not have more points, despite getting pretty much all the breaks during the first three quarters. The Spartans' field goal unit was completely inept, our defensive line played quite well, our special teams were outstanding and we even managed to get a touchdown thanks to a peculiar interpretation of the rules of football. (Thanks, replay booth officials!). Although to be fair, it apparently depends on which rule you examine; I saw one rule that seemed to indicate it should not have been a touchdown, but another one that indicated the play was indeed worth six points. And in the end it did not matter. Unfortunately. That would really have been cool -- to defeat the East Lansing barbarians again thanks to the intricacies of the code of collegiate football.

Of course, losing to Michigan State is prima facie evidence Michigan's season this year has been a complete disaster. The blame for this, of course, can be directly laid at the feet of Lloyd Carr and the former coaching staff, who apparently forgot to recruit this past year. Given the play of Michigan's squad, it is apparent this is the outfit we would have largely had if ol' Lloyd had stuck around. Thus, none of the blame can be placed upon the head of our new coach, Rich Rodriguez, or his assistants, who are making the best of a hand that -- even after all the draws -- adds up to a pair of fives with a jack kicker.

It is also important to note that Coach Rodriguez has already lined up some excellent recruits for 2009, including new quarterbacks. These will prove a blessing next year, as it will allow us to send Steven Threet somewhere more suited to his talents, such as ... oh, Grand Valley State. Although I do not hold any grudge against Mr Threet -- after all, he was the best we could do and he's better than backup Nick Sheridan, who is even worse -- his play has been quite disappointing this year. Mr Threet's three interceptions today did not help us.

True, if we were 6-2 right now, we'd be calling him "Steven Threat." But we're not. So at 2-6, it makes sense we're just calling for him to ... oh, transfer. Retire. Take up needlepoint. 'Cause football is not his thing. I'm sorry, but it ain't. Just the way it goes sometimes. Near the end of this game, when Mr Threet threw a pass into double coverage and it was impossible for his intended receiver to catch it, one could see Mr Rodriguez on the sidelines vociferously wondering aloud just what his quarterback were thinking. We all thought what Mr Rodriguez said, but which the microphones fortunately did not pick up.

But there is always next year -- and that's something we have to think about, because it is clear Michigan's chances of even having a .500 season and a consequent bowl berth are somewhere between slim to none. In the meantime, we should have our players focus on spoiling everyone else's season if possible, up to and including evil Ohio State. Also, it might be a good idea for Michigan's equipment manager to go find the Brown Jug and dust it off for the stupid Golden Gophers, who are apparently pretty good this year. It's back near all those file cabinets with the paperwork from Bump Elliot's reign.

Speaking of trophies, Michigan State fans might have noticed -- but failed to pick up the significance of -- some film that appeared prior to the game today. Michigan's equipment manager apparently had to put the Paul Bunyan Trophy, awarded to the winner of our annual contest, back together again. That's right -- thanks to our six-year winning streak, we actually had the thing in storage.

But do enjoy having it. You did earn it. Just remember we have no intention of letting you keep it for long, so do try not to damage the thing while you are borrowing it. Oh, there's one more thing. This year, you will be eligible for a post-season contest known as a "bowl game." Don't lose it, please. For if there's anything worse than losing to the Spartans, it's having the Spartans then lose to the SEC in the Outback Bowl.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at October 25, 2008 08:59 PM | TrackBack
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