Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hoke Needs to Make MSU, Not OSU, Most Important Game

Let me just start off by saying that I am a big Brady Hoke supporter.  What he has done so far from the turnaround season to recruiting is truly remarkable.  I am a lifelong Wolverine fan who understands and appreciates the traditions of Michigan Football.  Heck, the traditions are what makes Michigan Football so great and unique and unlike any other program in America.  The traditions are what got me hooked since I was a young lad.  The biggest being the annual war with Ohio State or "Ohio" as it is being referred to.  It is the best rivalry in college football.  However, it can no longer be deemed the most important game on the schedule each and every year.  That title now must belong to the game vs. Michigan State.  Don't tell that to Hoke.  He recently stated that while they take the game vs. Sparty "very seriously," the OSU game remains the most important.  Sorry, I simply have to disagree with that.

Brady Hoke has made it clear that the Wolverines' goal every season will be to win the B1G and that will be how they are ultimately judged.  I could not agree more (though they also need to strive for national titles).  In the new B1G conference alignment, that means they will have to win the Legends Division and then win the B1G Championship Game to reach this goal.  Michigan State is in the same division with UM, "Ohio" is not.  I have some news that most of my UM brethren are not going to like to hear but it does not look like Sparty will be going away anytime soon.  With that said, it looks like most years whoever wins the in-state battle will win the Legends Division.  This alone makes this game the most important game on the schedule year in and year out.  In years past whoever won "The Game" would win the B1G most years and head to the Rose Bowl.  Times have changed, and now so must the thinking inside Schembechler Hall.

Also, inevitably the Buckeyes will win the Leaders Division thus earning a trip to the conference title game.  What happens in the years when the Wolverines win the Legends Division as well?  Doesn't that somewhat make the annual clash at the end of the year a meaningless game in the grand scheme of things?  Do both teams rest players to ensure their best chances to win the rematch that will be played shortly after?  Those are questions that will certainly be asked if and when this scenario plays out.

As for MSU, Mark Dantonio has probably the biggest Napoleon Complex in college football.  Especially when it comes to Michigan.  I am not so sure Coach Hoke needs to be making these types of comments to further fuel Dantonio's desire to beat the Wolverines and add to the Titanic-sized chip that is on the Spartans' green shoulders.  Bulletin board material only goes so far but why give them any more ammo?  No thank you.  I for one am sick and tired of losing to MSU and would like their streak to end at 4.  If the Wolverines lose for a 5th time to Sparty, it will be a lot bigger blow than if they lose to the Buckeyes both in perception, and in the standings.

Whether Hoke or the players will admit it, the game vs. Michigan State has become the most important game on the schedule.  Starting this year, both teams will annually be contenders to win the Legends Division.  The game whether it be in The Big House or Spartan Stadium will be paramount to both team's pride, perception, and above all, their chances to win the B1G Championship.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think that neither of these games should be the most important game of the season. Being that we Michigan expects to win the B1G every year, the B1G title game is the most important game of the season. When you take care of business in the regular season, its the post season games that matter the most!