Michigan State beat Michigan 37-33 in East Lansing last October. It was a hard-fought game, one of the most entertaining of the season.
Unlike Michigan’s 42-27 win over their biggest rival Ohio State, MSU defeating Michigan didn’t pay off in a major way. Michigan would be the team to not only beat their biggest rival, but also win a Big Ten Championship and make the College Football Playoff. Michigan went on a five-game winning streak after the MSU loss, while the Spartans would lose the following week to Purdue, finish third in the Big Ten East, and win the Peach Bowl versus Pitt (QB Kenny Pickett opted out of the game).
Michigan State’s win over Michigan is commendable and certainly memorable, it was a gut-punch to Michigan at the time. However, it’s not worthy of being flaunted on a ring. And that’s precisely what Michigan State did — on one side of their Peach Bowl ring it reads “MSU 37 - UM 33”.
Flexing about a regular season win to this extent, when it didn’t pay major dividends for their season, is certainly a bold move. The ring lacks self-awareness as to how it would be perceived outside of the Michigan State program bubble.
Both programs hate each other, both fanbases are eager to troll the other every chance they can get — and MSU head coach Mel Tucker has continued the legacy of former Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio by staying competitive versus Michigan while remaining unapologetically petty.
The fact of the matter is these types of stories add more fuel to the fire in the rivalry, and this ring should motivate Michigan players more to make sure the Spartans can’t put a regular season win on a bowl ring again anytime soon.
But for the 2021 Michigan team, the loss to Michigan State was put in the rear-view mirror, even if MSU is still hyping the win up.
“That Michigan State loss makes me sick to my stomach,” former Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson said in February. “I would say losing to Ohio State trumps that every single time. Because the fact that we beat Ohio State this year and we lost to Michigan State, honestly, I couldn’t care less. As long as we beat the Buckeyes every year, I’m happy.”