The time for talk is over.
At some point you have to step into the ring and knock out your opponent.
That’s where we are at in the Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry.
Is there history here? Yes.
Is there hate? You bet.
Between fans and both programs.
There’s respect too, but hate is the more powerful emotion.
Hate is a strong word in the English language, but Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich recently acknowledged animosity exists.
But beyond the hate, it has been business as usual for Michigan this week.
Head coach Harbaugh has been preaching all season that they are going to treat every week of preparation the same, treat every game like it’s a championship game. While that’s easier said than done, if you listened to Michigan players and coaches talk this week, they dialed back anything Michigan State can use a new bulletin board material.
- “I think we could all use a break from the cliches that have been plowed so thoroughly on both sides.”
- “We’ll be really intense for it.”
“I know how important of a game it is for both Michigan State and us. We’re gonna attack it with the same enthusiasm we have been the last six weeks. Just take it one game at a time.”
Safeties coach Chris Partridge
“I’m not gonna talk about the past, but we’ll be intense this game. And we’ll bring the intensity.”
There hasn’t been anything this week from a Michigan player that would be deemed disrespectful toward the Spartans. Likewise, MSU has also played things cool throughout the week.
Harbaugh is right. The time for clichés are over.
The time to call Michigan State “little brother” can wait.
The time to go out and win, to walk the walk, is upon us.
The game is receiving playoff buzz after Michigan State shocked Penn State in Happy Valley and the Wolverines dominated Wisconsin to catapult all the way to No. 6 in the polls.
With the hype, with the script now having Michigan controlling their own destiny of getting to the College Football Playoff, the game could be a turning point for the program.
How the Wolverines prepare for this mentally, how they ultimately perform against the Spartans in East Lansing, will say a lot about whether they can beat the likes of Penn State and Ohio State in November.
A convincing victory will have the masses believing that Michigan can compete with just about any team in the nation, and every team in the Big Ten. It will give Michigan the confidence to beat any opponent that remains on their schedule.
This is now playoff season, the games are going to feel different.
The toughness and mental resolve of Michigan will be tested, will they be up to the challenge? Collectively, they seemed focus. Now all they have to do is go out and win the rest of their regular season games. It won’t be easy, but they’re in an excellent position to reach big goals they set out to accomplish in 2018.
“The revenge tour has officially commenced,” Winovich said after beating Wisconsin. “We’re a hungry team. I can’t wait for Michigan State next week.”
The “revenge tour” isn’t just about MSU, it’s about Penn State, it’s about Ohio State, it’s about anyone who’s said anything disparaging about this group.
Michigan does look hungry, and they’re going to need to keep playing with a chip on their shoulder, keep feeling they need to inflict some revenge... that could and should give them the competitive edge they need the last month of the season.