So Let's Talk About Michigan State

I have some things to say.

Photo: Patrick Barron
It's the bye week, and Michigan just beat Michigan State 21-7 in their stadium on a day that saw 55 degrees and sunny turn into 35 degrees and rain and snow and hail all within the span of about 2 hours. And while we shouldn't ignore the actual events of the game on the it always goes with Michigan State, the off the field stuff takes the front seat.

So let's go.

About two hours before the game, Michigan State players did their ceremonial field walk of intimidation thing (I don't know if it has a real name?). Apparently, they were 15 or so minutes late in doing so, and some Michigan players were on the field warming up. One of them was Devin Bush.

You know the rest of the story...

...there was a line of Sparty players with helmets on (???), the Michigan players on the field stood their ground, pushing and shoving occurred...all the while Mark Dantonio was walking 5 yards behind, all smiles. Fast forward some bit of time...a frustrated Devin Bush tears up the grass upon which the Sparty logo was painted at midfield. Later, after the 21-7 pummeling, Mark Dantonio was asked about his take on the midfield pregame altercation. A reporter told him Harbaugh said it was bush league and that Dantonio was there and was "all smiles". To which Mark said "B.S." and told reporters to  "check the tape"...which everyone then did...and sure enough, there he was smiling.

Now, if this were the Rich Rod era Michigan would've lost by 3 scores or more. If this were the Brady Hoke era, Devin Bush wouldn't exist, and we still would've lost by 3 scores and Hoke would've sent an apology letter to a gleeful Mark Dantonio.

But this is not the current reality.

The current reality is much different. Michigan State, during the tenures of Rodriguez and Hoke, had firmly planted their flag in the head of the Michigan football program. Though Harbaugh has been favored in every meeting with the Spartans, things haven't really ever gone Michigan's way...from the most improbable play in college football ever in 2015, to the "lose with dignity" game in 2016, to the torrential downpour turnover fest in even this year with the weather issues...Michigan State has been the absolute psychological thorn in Michigan's side for the better part of 10 years.

That is, until now.

What Michigan State did during the pregame on Saturday was par for course for them. Anyone who's seen this rivalry over the last 10 years could've told you about 30 yards before the line of MSU players met the Michigan players that shit was about to go down. Any other coach in the Big Ten, hell...all of college football, would've nipped that shit in the bud. But not Mark Dantonio. My money says he planned to be late to create a scenario just like what played out. Even if he didn't...what does it say about the man that we're even considering it as a possibility?

For better or worse, Michigan State has accepted and embraced every bit of the "little brother" label that Mike Hart so perfectly bestowed on them 11 years ago. They talk like it, they act like it, they play like it.

The Big Ten should address this, but of course they won't. And even if they did, like when William Gholston was slapped with a one-game suspension back in 2011 for trying to twist Denard's helmet off and gouge Taylor Lewan's eyes won't change a fucking thing. Michigan State is a dirty program run by a dirty coach who's employed and enabled by a dirty school.

Two years ago, I wrote a piece about not really wanting to play Penn State anymore. The Jerry Sandusky scandal had occurred years prior and I, along with everyone else, thought Penn State had learned their lesson...but I was wrong. It was announced at that time that they were going to honor the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno's first game as head coach there. And that was it for me. I haven't looked at Penn State the same way since. 

Now here we are with Michigan State. The only difference is that instead of sexually abusing dozens of young boys...Michigan State, as an institution, is not only complicit, but rather directly responsible for the sexual abuse of HUNDREDS of young girls over the course of decades. This is fact. This is institutional. Laws were broken. Laws of nature were broken. And Michigan State has done nothing but cover it up, avoid firing anyone they can, attempted to bribe the victims, and try to sweep all of it under the rug...because that's what Michigan State does and that's who Michigan State is.

Cheat. Lie. Cover it up. Spartans Will.

It's not just Larry Nassar. Evil can exist anywhere. But at Michigan State, evil was allowed to exist unabated because of the culture that allowed Nassar to thrive. It's the exact same culture that allows football and basketball players to skirt ignore rules and laws only to be allowed back on the field with little to no enforcement and no oversight to make sure those programs are above reproach. They're not.

Surely no words of mine could inflict any sort of real change, I doubt very much, I'm just a football blogger and who really cares what I think. But I'm also a husband and a father. For most fans, it's so easy to set aside those real world problems on a fall Saturday when you're tuning into a game on TV. But at what point do you just have to say "stop". "No more". At what point to do you have to step back and actually look at this small part of the world we're crafting for our children and their children? I love college football, but I cringed at the thought of my 8 year old son watching this Michigan State game, seeing countless unsportsmanlike penalties and thug behavior displayed by Michigan State players, and him thinking that this is all okay...that this is acceptable. 

Some will argue, that's just football.'s not.

This is not what college football should be like. But this is how Mark Dantonio has chosen to conduct his team...and he he will continue to so with impunity because Michigan State will allow it. They will always allow it. Until there is real change in East Lansing...and I mean wholesale change, this is just how it is now.

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