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Five Reasons Why Michigan Still Owns Michigan

People like to say that the battle between Michigan and Michigan State on the football field is for state supremacy. Whichever team wins the game is the best team in the state of Michigan and has bragging rights until the two teams meet again. Some even think that these two victories for MSU mean that the balance of power is shifting in the state.

But that's not exactly true.

The state of Michigan belongs to the University of Michigan. Michigan State gets bragging rights for the second year in a row as far as the rivalry is concerned. They were better than Michigan in 2008, and they were the better team on October 3, 2009 in East Lansing. But is Michigan State really the best college football team in the state of Michigan? And if they are, for how long?

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you a mere five out of many reasons why Michigan still rules the state:

1) Michigan dominates the all-time record in the rivalry.
This goes to my question of timing when it comes to state supremacy. The record between Michigan and MSU is 67-30-5 in favor of Michigan. That's nothing like Michigan's record against rivals Notre Dame and Ohio State--those records are much closer. So, though MSU might think they're in charge for now, everyone knows that overall state domination belongs to Michigan. And when people think about college football in the state of Michigan--particularly in the context of success--they will continue to think about Michigan...especially this year, considering Michigan is 4-1 and MSU is 2-3.

2) MSU lost to Central Michigan.
If you don't buy the first argument I gave, I've got one much better for you--what about that MSU loss to Central Michigan? It's not like Michigan's going to play CMU, unless they happen to meet in a bowl game. So, in actuality, the question of which team owns Michigan right now really isn't settled. Gone are the days when it's all about Michigan and MSU, and, arguably, neither Michigan nor MSU are the best team in the state. But...who among us seriously thinks Michigan would lose to CMU? At least the Wolverines beat CMU the last time those two teams met...and it wasn't even close (41-17 in 2006). And, along the same lines...

3) Michigan has beaten the two other teams in the state.
Michigan has gotten past every MAC team they've faced this season by a large margin. Those two MAC teams? Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. True, they're not as good as CMU. But consider this: Michigan was not favored to beat WMU by a significant portion of the college football nation--MSU was favored to beat CMU--and Sporting News even had WMU ranked higher than Michigan in their preseason poll. It's not Michigan's fault that WMU is falling short of expectations everyone had for them, nor is it likely that CMU would schedule both Michigan and MSU in the same season. Still, the bottom line is Michigan has beaten more teams in the state of Michigan than MSU has--2 to 1.

4) It's two lousy years in a row.
This also is a question of timing. Michigan State has an argument for 2008 and 2009...but two years in a row doesn't change history, nor does it mean the balance of power has shifted in the state. In fact, that this is the first time in over 30 years MSU has defeated Michigan twice in a row should tell you a lot--namely, that MSU should enjoy their moment in the sun because it's likely to be over soon. MSU might make it three years in a row like in the 1960's--not likely, but it could happen. But then it'll probably be until 2040 until they get anymore back-to-back victories...and the world will probably have come to an end by then anyway.

5) MSU won, and everyone is still talking about Michigan.
You've just gotta laugh. MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins was awesome, converting on 3rd and long multiple times. MSU played great defense, holding Michigan to 28 rushing yards for the entire...game. Freshman running back Larry Caper shredded Michigan's defense, scoring the game-ending touchdown in overtime. And what is everyone talking about? Michigan's comeback, particularly the play of Tate Forcier. And the second hot topic of discussion? Nope, still not about anything MSU did--it's about Forcier throwing an interception in overtime and how that's supposed to remind us he's a freshman. Caper's OT run is third, at best, and who even knows the name of the guy who caught Forcier's interception pass (aside from "experts" and MSU fans)? The praise Michigan is receiving for doing absolutely nothing in this game until the last five minutes of regulation is so thick that it's got Mark Dantonio snapping at interviewers in Detroit (and a station that focuses on MSU athletics, no less!).

Hmmm. Apparently, little brother is always in the shadows--even when he beats big brother...the ultimate proof that big brother still reigns supreme.

-Ren Simon

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