Michigan linebacker Devin Bush was interviewed on 97.1 The Ticket’s Jamie and Stoney program on Friday and made a rivalry statement that will be sure to ruffle some feathers in all three fanbases mentioned.
Bush spoke on the rivalries between Michigan State and Ohio State and said that it is actually the Spartans that he hates more between the two teams, both of whom Michigan will travel and play on the road this season.
“I hate Michigan State, I don’t like Michigan State,” Bush said. “I don’t like Ohio State either, but I just don’t like Michigan State. I don’t even want to touch their green.
”I don’t like Michigan State.”
I’ve felt for years like Wolverine players do not take MSU seriously, especially after how many times they’ve been kicked in the teeth in the last decade or so with Mark Dantonio at the helm. The eyes are always on Ohio State and it seems like people always buy into the hype that MSU is overrated or that Michigan is better.
Yet, the Spartans play each game in the rivalry as if it is their last and have made a habit out of punching Michigan in the mouth. And Michigan fans will say “oh they’ve been lucky with the snap a few years ago and the rain last year. Jim Harbaugh should be 3-0 against them.”
Well, he isn’t, and the record is what it is. There are no moral victories here.
MSU hates Michigan and it’s that hatred that has fueled their entire rebuild and emergence under their head coach, who is 9-2 against the Wolverines in his career. Even in years where they beat the most downtrodden of Michigan teams, that is the biggest game on their schedule and they live off of embarrassing the Maize and Blue. If Bush is echoing the sentiments of his teammates, it’s been a long time coming that the hatred is finally matched.
The truth of the matter is that the game against Michigan State is now the most important game that is played every year from Michigan’s point of view because it kind of decides who’s game against Ohio State is going to matter more in the Big Ten title picture. You can’t own the Big Ten until you beat Ohio State, but you can’t have a shot to do that if you do not win your own state first. As long as Dantonio is in East Lansing, beat the Spartans and you set yourself up for some good things down the road.
In order for the game against OSU to mean anything or for your destiny to be in your own hands, MSU needs to be more of a focus. In Bush’s case, it appears that’s where things lie right now.
There’s plenty of room for two rivals, but in the current landscape of the Big Ten, no rival is more important than the one right down the road.