Michigan-Michigan State is what’s affectionately known as a House Divided Rivalry. Most of us live and work with people who swear allegiance to one of the two schools. I wrote in August that the Notre Dame rivalry is the more dignified of Michigan’s three main rivalries. The rivalry with Michigan State is the unruly relative drunkenly dancing on the table pounding a 40-ounce, with a lampshade on his or her head and a path of destruction on the ground behind them. And that’s putting it in G-rated terms.
For many years, a perfectly-fine Michigan State fan sat behind where my parents’ season tickets are in Michigan Stadium. Every other year, he was there. Each time the teams met, especially during the Lloyd Carr era, he was sure his Spartans would finally get a W in Ann Arbor and each year he had his heart broken in some new, humiliating way.
Some years, I truly felt bad for the guy. At a point during each game, he’d reach the inevitable conclusion that Michigan State was somehow going to screw up their chance at winning, and would do so at an earlier point in the game than the previous game, like clockwork, year after year.
And then Mike Hart opened his mouth.
I won’t waste space or words rehashing the dumb reasons why Michigan State has decided to make this their annual season-defining game. But in doing that, the national narrative for the Spartans, particularly when they take the field against Michigan, has morphed into the #disrespekt monster that rears its ugly head every year. It’s bulletin board material for them, that’s fine. Every program needs a reason to go hit another program in the mouth. Unfortunately for us, we never hear the end of it.
This year, Michigan fans appear to have found the cure for the #disrespekt blues.
Enter #LoveWeek / #respek week courtesy of an oft-hilarious Reddit /r/cfb thread I discovered earlier in the week.
It’s simple: say something nice about MSU, just as redditor ATrollingStone has done.
I am deeply impressed that a fight song with the eloquent lyrics of “Fight, Fight, Rah Team Fight” is actually somewhat catchy. -- Sam D.
I actually legitimately enjoy the Spartan Marching Band. They bring the intensity throughout an entire game. Which is hard to do considering MSU can’t pay half their season ticket holders to show up on time or at all. -- Kevin
Magic Johnson is an awesome dude. -- Sam D.
I agree, Magic Johnson is awesome. His tweets are even more awesome. -- Von
Kirk Cousins is a cool guy and a really good quarterback who I have a conflicting fandom of. “YOU LIKE THAT?!” - Josh
In all seriousness, the most frustrating part of the last decade for many Michigan fans, I suspect, is that MSU played the same brand of football as 90s and early 2000s Michigan, but better. Aggressive defense, ball-control offense and excellent quarterback development. Watching your rival better you with an improved version of your past has to sting. -- Sam D
Michigan State is really good at researching grass! The kind you walk on. Their agriculture program is one of the best in the nation. It’s important to have good footing for when Michigan players need to be tripped. -- Kevin
The only time I have ever been to East Lansing, I was able to watch Michigan State try out a pair of quarterbacks in East Lansing, so that was kinda cool. Then I realized I was just watching two drunk dudes throwing a football outside of a Menna’s Joint. -- Von
I went to a music festival with some friends from Michigan State this summer. They’re wonderful people, the best people. I have nothing but respekt for their ability to have a good time and carry a good vibe. -- Dan A
I visited East Lansing for the first time recently, and, it’s a perfectly fine college town. They have a Rick’s. They even have a Big Ten Burrito and a Pizza House. It’s pretty in the fall, and many people live and work there. Which is surprising, given the smell of the place. -- Kevin
I think it is really nice that Michigan State fans burn couches after every amazing victory they have. Since they would have been thrown out anyways, garbage collectors must really appreciate the students’ efforts. That must make their jobs so much easier. -- Von
The first play I ever went to was the final tour of The Phantom of the Opera back in 2009 they performed at MSU, that was a really cool venue - Josh
I think it’s pretty cool and progressive of Michigan State to celebrate moral victories with their choice of mascot. It shows that winning and losing doesn’t matter so much as really giving your best.
But, like actually, I do like most people I’ve met from MSU. Always fun. -- Dan A
Mark Dantonio fires his team up for Michigan better than any other coach has ever prepared any team for any game in the history of sports. - Josh
Leave us your own #respekt offering in the comments, because the more there are, the greater chance of dispelling the bad voodoo before the game on Saturday.