Thursday, September 20, 2007

It's like the back half of Abbey Road...

I had no real major article this week, so I wanted to roll with two ideas which were partially formed in my head: The Michigan State/Notre Dame game this week and an appreciation of Joe Paterno. So that's what you'll get, after the jump…

1). Michigan State/Notre Dame: One Fan's Quandary

In this "Death not an option" exercise, I need to try and decide whom I should be "rooting" for this weekend in the Spartans visit to the Fightin' Irish. There are a number of things to consider in this, so let's look at them.

a). Arrogance

It is often said that Michigan fans are the most arrogant of all college football fans. This, of course, is a pure and abject lie. But, Michigan fans consider Notre Dame fans to be the most arrogant of all college football fans, so this is possibly saying something. By the same token, a not insignificant segment of Michigan State fans have a tendency to be the worst of all college football fans, the needling little brother. Michigan State fans, if they were being purely honest with themselves, are happier that Michigan started 0-2 than that they started 2-0. Notre Dame fans may be arrogant, but they would never revel in a rival's failing ahead of their own success. 1 point to the Irish.

b). Brothers in Arms

There are those who believe that you root for your conference mates during non-conference play for the sake of your conference's national perception. That said, 3-0 Michigan State beating 0-3 Notre Dame this year will not make the Big Ten look strong, but losing to Notre Dame will be another knock against the Big Ten. 1 point to the Spartans.

c). Making history

If Michigan State wins, they will have won six straight games at Notre Dame Stadium, something that no visiting team has ever done. I'm not sure I like Michigan State owning that record. So a small point, but a point, to Notre Dame.

d). We got ours

Michigan has beaten Notre Dame this year, and beaten them soundly. So I don't feel the need to see Notre Dame win to make their beating of Michigan look better in the stream. A point to Michigan State.

e). Does it really matter?

If Michigan State wins, it's another week of "what's wrong with Notre Dame" stories, which, admittedly, takes heat off Michigan. If Notre Dame wins, it's a classic Sparty being Sparty. In the end, it doesn't matter which team wins for Michigan's sake. Maybe it's the choices we do not make that count the most.

2). An appreciation of JoePa I like Joe Paterno. How can you not? Does Penn State have any rivals? I mean, sure, Pittsburgh, but why would you want to play your rivals? But their old Eastern rivalries have died and they're still treated like the new stepson of the Big Ten, sort of the Cousin Oliver when you think about it. But Penn State has Joe Paterno, and they have had Joe Paterno since the Johnson administration. And JoePa may be crusty, and old, and any other hammer you want to hit him with, but he's still the Brooklyn accented bad ass coach who played at Brown, who has more wins against schools in Division I FCS than any other coach, the only coach to win the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, and Rose Bowl in his career, chaser of referees, leader of pep rallies, philanthropist, holder of high academic standards, and general all around grand old man of the game. Perhaps it's easy to like a coach when your team has won eight straight over his team, but if given a choice of who I'd want as my grandpa, I'd pick JoePa over Coach Carr every time.

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