Michigan Football: The Soul of Sparty

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on against the Purdue Boilermakers in the second quarter of a game at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 23, 2017 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Michigan won 28-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on against the Purdue Boilermakers in the second quarter of a game at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 23, 2017 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Michigan won 28-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Saturday night was tough for Michigan football and it fans as the Wolverines lost 14-10 to the Spartans. Here’s a look at the aftermath.

So much sadness to bear today. So much blame going around, mainly for the offensive play-calling. But, IMHO, this is a problem that goes way deeper than off. Play-calling, though that is part of it. Spartan’s head coach, Mark Dantonio, said this after the game: “They are extremely well-coached,” he said of Michigan football. “They ran 40 different formations in the first half. Forty. They are extremely talented … but we have some guys, too.” According to Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press.

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Dantonio is surely throwing some shade here. He is mocking the Michigan conglomerate of high paid coaches failing to get it done against his team once again. Dantonio is the king of ‘chip on the shoulder’ disrespect. He has been a great target to make fun of since Harbaugh got here because we Michigan Football faithful were sure that our born and bred Meechigan Man, Jim frickin Harbaugh, would light his ass up and dispense him to the scrap heap of CFB history. And last summer when the Spartan football program was practically on the verge of an NCAA death penalty, to hear most diehard Wolverine’s tell the story – including myself – it seemed that maybe we could dispatch this gnarly, gritty, little antagonistic enemy for good.

Yes, Dantonio and his curmudgeonly ways were easy to make fun of. I did it myself, often. Look back in the posts I’ve written here, you will never see me taking him seriously, only disrespect. His name was often Mork or Dantonini from me. But I’m through with that now. What he did, to wake that program up in less than one year’s time is amazing. Mark Dantonio is an amazing human being and football coach for what he has done in the last year and the past ten years.

Now, stick with me Michigan football fans.

You know the reputation we have with Sparty fans and with those outside the state. They think we act like blue bloods. We tend to think a U of M degree is worth more than others, especially an MSU degree. Well, don’t you think that reputation is a little bit antithetical to the establishment of a smash-mouth football program? What would you do with a football program that acts like Richie Rich? Punch em in the mouth and send em home to their mamas? Yes, you would? Well, isn’t that what the Spartans have been doing for years? Even when they weren’t beating us on the scoreboard they were beating us physically. That is what needs to change, IMHO.

What does Sparty want? Listen to them. First of all, its undeniable – they want respect. Just basic human dignity. Don’t they deserve that? How many of you have told Sparty jokes? Here’s one: You know how to get a Spartan off your porch? Pay him for the pizza he delivered. Sure, an MSU degree qualifies you for a pizza delivery job. Aside from insulting pizza drivers it insults the merits of a great institution in our state. As for me – I will no longer participate in denigrating that fine institution. Why add fuel to the fire? And I will always refer to head coach, Mark Dantonio, by his proper name – no disrespect here.

Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan Wolverines Football /

Michigan Wolverines Football

But, cutting out the dignity denying Richie Rich crap, there is more that has to be done to fill in this ‘fire in the belly gap’ that exists between our football team and theirs. And this has been going on for an awful long time. There are tales of dirty plays going all the way back to when Jim Harbaugh was a player. There are pictures that exist that show JH with a crooked kind of left arm.

Speculation exists that this happened in a Sparty game in 1984 when he dove for a fumble, got his left arm broken at the bottom of a pile and ended his season, causing the only non-winning season in Bo’s history of 6-6. Sparty has always been there as a little demon to punish our Richie Rich attitude. Karmic pairs do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in order to teach us lessons. And the lesson we need to learn here is, we need to match their fire in the belly before we are ready to challenge the Ohio State’s and Alabama’s of the world.

John O’Korn showed some fire in the belly Saturday night. He worked those sidelines for penalties like he has done before (Indy ’16) and he kept going back and throwing into the teeth of that storm and the Sparty defense without flinching. He ended three straight possessions with interceptions. That showed some fire in the belly and courage. Of course John O’Korn is not from around here and maybe he failed to realize that in the great circle of life water has dominance over fire. But he did show courage and that’s what is needed IMO.

We need to get over our Meechigan arrogance and steal something that Sparty has been using to stay somewhat even with us from time immemorial and dominant over us over the past decade, since that great football coach, Mark Dantonio, arrived in our great state. We need to get close enough to them to steal their fire. So, why don’t we just try to give all the Spartans we know the dignity which should be afforded to all human beings and maybe listen to them and find the secret of their fire?

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And if, some day, some Spartan comes up and plants their tiki torch on your lawn and starts pissing in your grass. Maybe, just maybe – instead of telling him about our great coaching NFL resume, then threatening to call the ACLU, the ADL, the FBI and last but not least 911 to get him off our lawn … maybe we should try this – beat him over the head with that tiki torch, set his hair on fire, thrash him unmercifully with the remnants of his torch, while he’s trying desperately to get his Spartan kilt in place and send him screaming back to his mama.