Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will MSU Fans Ever Learn?

Tonight MSU plays the #1 ranked (or #2 if you look at the WWL's poll) Wisconsin Badgers at "the Jack." For some reason, I have a good vibe about this game from a Sparty point of view. I think they are ready to put a full game together and take a large step off the bubble in regard to NCAA tournament consideration.

If MSU is fortunate tonight and upsets the Badgers I am a bit dismayed at what will happen to my email inbox tomorrow morning.

Let me back track a bit...

Last week I opened my email to see a note sent by a former work colleague and fellow alum of Michigan State University.

The title "N.I.T. Renamed."

I shook my head. I knew what was coming and sure enough upon opening the note found it was addressed to a cross section of MSU and UM alum/fans. It read:

Dateline: Ann Arbor, MI

The "National Invitation Tournament" (NIT) has been renamed the "Michigan Invitation Tournament" (M.I.T) due to the fact that it is the only tournament the University of Michigan can qualify for.

I shook my head again. First of is not funny. Second, the timing is purposeful in response to MSU's less than impressive win over UofM in East Lansing last Tuesday.

It is so frustrating to continually see MSU fans perpetuate an inferiority complex that I believe, in some part feeds Michigan State's perpetual inconsistency, especially in football.

At face value the win over UofM was expected. One, it was at home where the Spartans have been (hey, can you believe it?) consistent. Two, it was against a team that struggles on the road.
But it was Michigan and anytime and I mean ANYTIME MSU beats Michigan in a major sport, well Spartan fans need to let those arrogant bastards from UofM know. Right? RIGHT?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Back to tonight...or tomorrow morning.

If MSU wins I am confident the same e-mailer will compose some more less-than-funny prose aimed at, you guessed it - the UofM fans/grads on the list. No celebration of a wonderful victory for the school/alma mater.

Nope. It will be a celebration of victory by proxy.

Somehow, someway the e-mailer will weave a UofM misfortune thread even though they are not in tonight's equation whatsoever. Therefore in his mind, (sorry to go all Carl G. Jung here) no doubt making MSU's win more impressive in the process.

That's how it works at MSU. Been that way for years.

So MSU fans perpetuate the very notion they claim to want leave behind by acknowledging UofM even when they are not involved. MSU's success is based, largely on a combination of 1. MSU's success and 2. UofM's failure (not necessarily in that order). A perverted twist on Jung's Hero Archetype.

As fans I have to say we (MSU fans) are on the top of Mt. Suck in this regard. Loyal as a wet-nosed retriever but a true study in group insecurity feeding a culture of inconsistency. We are part of the problem.

I am hopeful MSU is fortunate and wins this evening. It would be a great win for a team that has really worked hard this year. They have been fun to watch and harking back to the early days of Izzo's teams when he did not have 3 or 4 McDonald's All-Americans on the squad. They play tough defense and I think would be a good tournament team...representing both the school and the conference well.

I am just hopeful MSU fans can start to carry themselves with a little more "singular" school pride. It is great to have a rival and "hate" that rival and celebrate beating that rival. Perhaps this "singular" pride will carry over to the football program which is the primary source of the school's inferiority complex. I don't know.

What I do know is that everyone "felt it" when Notre Dame started their comeback in football this past year...including the tv game announcers. The fact that MSU football fans did not come out from under a rock until after the Rose Bowl was telling. The right to shoot your mouth off was somehow enabled by the two losses to OSU and USC.

Gimme a break.

If Sparty wins tonight, look for a follow-up on my prediction tomorrow. If not, you just have to wait until February 28th, the day after the next Michigan game - or until the next MSU win, which could be quite a while. Rest assured it will happen. It always happens.

We are MSU. The self-made red-headed step children.