Here's the deal in a nutshell: this is one of the best games of the year for both fanbases, there's a large amount of acrimony, not a lot of mutual respect, and more chips on more shoulders than a, uh, congressional budget negotiation? Family reunion? High school reunion? Family high school reunion budget negotiation? Done.
Earlier this week, I spouted off about how much I dislike the idea of a "rivalry du jour" from opposing fanbases. I'm going to walk that back a little bit. Here's all there is to it: This is a special in-state rivalry to both schools. Michigan fans will be haughty, and oftentimes MSU fans will turn around and be exactly the immature fans they've been typecast into being.
But those roles reverse, oftentimes just as much. I'm not going to sit here and call this a fair rivalry or point out the merits of both sides. Assholes abound, and being on the Michigan side of things, I've seen (or don't forgive) more from Spartan fans that make me cringe than I have from Michigan fans. Such is the nature of the rivalry.
I was going to write something about the mean names I've been called or heard opposing fans called in East Lansing, or the ferocity with which some Spartans defend their fandom. But most of the friends I've got from MSU - and there are a lot - are a good-natured bunch, ones you share a giant pile of nachos with, drink with during the game, and jibe at the quality of product on the field with. I'm doing that with some Spartan friends this weekend, and I'd like to think that they want to do the same things with me. It'll be fun.
On to the beer. It's going to be a balmy 46 at game time and windy and probably rainy. So you'll need some good brews to get you through the day. I tend to think in two tracks here: It's the day after Halloween, so go find a pumpkin beer you like. But they're so hit-or-miss, and who am I to recommend a shitty craft to you on a rivalry game day? I'm not. So let's go with a Michigan staple everyone can agree on:
Bell's Best Brown Ale. It's officially out for the fall, and I'm going to put a minikeg in a cooler tomorrow and enjoy before the game. I'd say after, too, but it'll be long gone. This beer has already made it to the East Coast this season, and it's delicious. Can't wait to get my hands on a draught or two. This is the second-best brown ale out there, according to my very scientific rankings. Only Shorts' Good Humans is better, and it's not as easy to find. What really sets the Best Brown apart is that it's not very heavy. It's perfect for a rainy fall afternoon, but not quite heavy enough to make you wish it were snowy.
I'm going to Spartan Stadium this weekend, and it's going to be a street fight of a football game. Here's to a great sports weekend for the Mitten, and here's to shit talking on Mondays in offices everywhere. Until next week, Cheers, Michigan Faithful!
Oh - want a distraction for 15 minutes this weekend? Here you go. There's that other kind of football that's pretty good too.