Monday, October 17, 2016

Michigan State's struggles are good for Wisconsin

After losing just four regular-season games over the past three seasons, Michigan State has now lost four games in a row, starting with Wisconsin's win in East Lansing last month. The Spartans still have to play Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, so things are looking bleak.

I have to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for the Spartan football team, because their program is similar to Wisconsin's in a lot of ways. Not flashy, usually underrated, etc. Obviously familiarity breeds contempt, so I still hate their guts. But it's a respectful hate.

The reality, however, is that Michigan State's struggles are probably a good thing for Wisconsin, even if it means that Michigan—a truly evil program—benefits by reestablishing unquestioned dominance in the state of Michigan. Wisconsin and MSU compete for recruits in a way that Wisconsin and Michigan do not. One can dream, but it's unlikely that Wisconsin will ever really challenge Michigan in recruiting.

So the worst situation is a strong MSU program that regularly humiliates its in-state rival, thus amassing the cache to beat out Wisconsin for the 4* recruits they compete for, while Michigan still uses its institutional advantages to still come in and cherry pick 5* guys out of Wisconsin's natural recruiting territory. That's basically been the situation for the last five years or so.

A better situation is that Michigan definitively supplants State, and State becomes a perennial also-ran behind Michigan and Ohio State in the East. Meanwhile, Wisconsin can lay claim to being the superior program in the West, and pitch the opportunity to regularly play for championships. That way they can dominate MSU in regional recruiting, and have at least a chance at warding off the heavy-hitters on Wisconsin's home recruiting turf.

So, upon reflection, I will revel without remorse in Sparty's downfall.


  1. One of my co-workers is an MSU grad...well - the grad part is a bit of an assumption on my part. Anywho - his thought is that while Mich St was doing well recruiting in state while Michigan was poor, as soon as Harbaugh returned, they started whiffing on all their top recruiting prospects. Add to that a a bit of drop in recruiting once Urban Meyer came in at anOSU, and they just aren't as talented as they were a couple of years back.

  2. I had secondary leanings for MSU for much of my youth as MSU actually won some games as opposed to UW, and I had 2 MSU alumni parents that force fed me MSU games. Until the Izzo "I'll remember that" and the recent success of Dantonio it was hard to hate them. I got over that niceness watching Bo dominate Izzo for several years. That said, I don't know how much UW and MSU recruit the same guys. Maybe they do more than I think, but if it's not MSU, then it will be some other decent school like Iowa/Nebraska/etc. UW will have to beat out someone for the 3+4 star kids, whoever it is.

    1. I don't really follow football recruiting, but I"m aware of a couple guys at least. And certainly the threat is there, with them being similarly situated programs pretty close to one another. You're right that there will always be "peer schools" to recruit against -- but the fewer the better!

  3. Please remind me wh Michigan is a "truly evil program."