Thanks for everything, Wolverines.
Last weeks results in Ann Arbor was the best possible scenario for Michigan State supporters (I must disclose my own allegiance to the Almighty Sparty). NCAA sanctions against the University of Michigan and its football coach were lighter than expected and U-M won a game against Illinois that they probably should have lost.
How is this good for MSU supporters, you ask? Look at it this way: if U-M had lost to Illinois and the NCAA had imposed even more infractions against the program, U-M coach Rich Rodriquez would have been fired for sure after this season. He might be history anyway, but now there is a chance Rodriquez might stick around a couple of more seasons. Rodriquezs continued coaching tenure would ensure mediocre win totals for U-M, promote more squabbling within the Wolverines sports family regarding Rich-Rods coaching status and drive more top recruits to MSU.
Best of all, I am convinced our big brother in Ann Arbor will never defeat MSU in football while Rich-Rod is the Wolverines coach.
Lets face it. The actual NCAA charges against Rich-Rod were never a big deal. Yes, his assistants cheated when they exceeded NCAA guidelines for football practice, but there are rumors that many football programs have been fudging these rules during workouts, erring on the side of practicing too much (not MSU, of course).
The NCAA seems to be making an example of the U-M football program I dont remember such infractions ever warranting this much publicity. I must admit to U-M fans that accusations of practicing excessively dont come close to the severity of charges made against other universities - such as paying off athletes with thousands of dollars in cash or vehicles. The big deal is that, before Rich-Rod showed up, there was never even a hint of scandal connected to Michigan football.
One thing certain - another new coach for the Maize & Blue is MSUs worst nightmare. Sparty loves Rich Rodriquez. In his three seasons as the Wolverines coach, Rich-Rod has won only five conference games so far and lost all three against Michigan State. Little brother would take great pleasure in Michigan being humbled for at least one more season. Rodriquezs arrival in Ann Arbor from West Virginia was the best thing to happen for MSU football fans since, well... a teen-aged Bubba Smith left Texas over 40 years ago to join the Green & White in East Lansing.
If it seems like childish behavior for me to wish adversity on U-M as much as I hope for MSU success, I plead guilty as charged. Remember, some of us have memories of an era when Notre Dame, not Michigan, was MSUs biggest foe. Michigans football team (prior to Bo Schembechler) wasnt good enough to be discussed in the same sentence with Michigan States success on the gridiron. Seriously.
No joke, you can look it up. At that time, Ohio States rivalry with Michigan wasnt such a big deal either... for OSU. Woody Hayes Buckeyes pummeled the Wolverines most seasons before Bos arrival in Ann Arbor.
Of course, beginning with Schembechlers coaching reign until the end of the Lloyd Carr era in 2007, U-M football had been dominant 40 consecutive winning seasons. During that period, U-M clobbered MSU most of the time, leaving Sparty football with a huge inferiority complex and a few of its own football scandals.
But this is a new era for Wolverines football and you cant win them all, right? I believe MSU fans everywhere can agree that Rich-Rod deserves another season at the U-M helm. And another, and...