There are those that may doubt a Spartan victory over the Wolverines this Saturday. Simply glance at the records of both squads and one would be hard-pressed to vouch for the Spartans. But with such a strange series of events that have surrounded college football this season, anything can happen. Weâ€™ve witnessed the fall of great powerhouse teams, and underdogs fighting for respect. Although the Spartans have lost some tough close games, and perhaps some losses to Iowa and Northwestern that probably should have been victories, they should not be counted out. This is the game that the Spartans usually win.
It usually seems as though the Spartans follow a certain trend each season. While usually suffering frustrating losses to beatable teams, they prove their worth against top ranked teams, for instance the upset wins over Wisconsin in â€™03 and a near win in OT against the Wolverines 3 years ago. Saturday is the Spartans chance to pull off a great victory in this classic rivalry. Spartan fans know that Michigan needs to be prepared to face a hungry Spartan squad.
The 100th match-up between the two squads should prove to be a great game, and is a big test for the Spartans. Â The prospect of winning out the rest of the season is a lofty goal. The Spartans have the talent and discipline to beat any team in the country. Like Ervin Baldwin told me after practice earlier this week, â€œits time to put another W on the board.â€
For many Spartan players, this rivalry affects them on a personal level. No one on this current Spartan team has defeated the Wolverines. For the seniors, this is their last chance to make a statement. Maize and blue flags hung on the walls over the entrance to the practice facilities at Duffy Daugherty. But like Jonal Saint-Dic replied after practice Tuesday, no one, not even the coaches, media, or other players, had to tell him how important this game is to the Spartans. The rivalry is planted deep within each player, even those that are not from Michigan. Ervin Baldwin, from out of state, explained that he knew of the rivalry, but once he became a Spartan, the hate for U of M began to build within him.
We can speculate all we want about how this game will end, but until the final ticks of the game clock, we will be on pins and needles. For the Spartans, a chance at a bowl bid, momentum into the remainder of the season, and a last laugh for the seniors that have never beaten the Wolverines. For U of M, a chance to improve on their shaky season and another win in the Big Ten. Either way, this game has a massive effect on players and fans alike. All we can do is sat back and listen as the Spartans let their pads talk for them.