College rivalries are known to be fierce and face painted. For many individuals, the allure of professional sports pales in comparison to watching an Alabama versus Auburn football game or Duke and North Carolina basketball match-up. Most fans didn’t go the the University of the Green Bay Packers, they never walked the halls of the Seattle Seahawks State College and because of this their connection to the their favorite pro-team is an ideological or geographical one at best. Their college teams, on the other hand, may very well be what still connects them to the glory days where they met their spouse, found their best friend and created their career.
The fans’ love for their respective teams comes second only to the intense opposition between the teams themselves. The dog eat dog (or fill in whichever is your favorite team symbol) competition to decide who has the best fans, most fun and best teams is contentious. With an antagonism that has evolved over years of heated conflict and a desire to dominate one’s foes, these schools don’t know the meaning of the word lose. However, Michigan colleges and schools exhibit a kind of vehement passion for sports glory that seemingly eclipses even that of other universities.
They simply call it “The Game.” The embattled rivalry between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes is the stuff of legends, and for good reason. Both football teams have long and storied histories. Both are known for their athletic excellence and have received much recognition for their football programs. Also, these two teams hate each other. While the coaches and players may speak of their rivalry with a respectful political correctness that hides a baser bitterness toward the opposition, the fans openly and emphatically show their contempt not only on game day, but also year-round. The antagonism between Michigan and Ohio State comes to a head at the end of every season, which is eagerly anticipated by fervent fans and casual sports enthusiasts alike. The athletic prowess that has distinguished these teams from the rest of collegiate football may in large be due to this intense rivalry. Too much pride is at stake to allow failure.
This fanatical devotion to sporting excellence carries over into other well-known rivalries. In fact, one of them is between two programs both within in the state of Michigan. That’s right. Michigan colleges and schools don’t discriminate between opposition outside of state and that at home. However, the setting of this battle is not the football field but the basketball court. The competition between the Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines (again) constitutes one of the great rivalries of collegiate basketball.
This frenzy has endured for more than a hundred years when the Wolverines won by a 20-point margin over the Spartans, and the battle between these two legendary programs has raged ever since. While both teams have not achieved the kind of consistent dominance of their sport that the Buckeye and Wolverine football programs have enjoyed over recent history, it has yet to make an impact on the intensity of their rivalry. Fans flock to see these teams shoot it out every year, and should the Spartans and Wolverines reach March Madness with winning records, fireworks are bound to go off when they meet.
The perks of college life encompass a range of experiences. Some students focus solely on their academic success. Others head off to school hoping to find their future soul mates. Meanwhile, other students just can’t wait to get away from their parents. If you are a bona fide sports fan, then Michigan colleges and schools might just be the perfect fit for you.