Yeah ok, this is going to sound like sour grapes coming from a Michigan fan, but hear me out on this one, I have a real reason for it.
Now to begin with, this comes from CBS Sports website where Chip Patterson wrote an opinion piece about the top modern college football rivalries, stating Michigan State and Ohio State as the top dog of them all.
For the purposes of my big reason why I disagree with him, I'll cite one section of it that relates to what I'm talking about:
Now, to make this clear, I am not doubting at all the recent success that Michigan State and Ohio State have shared and how titanic their matchups have been since 2013. They met in the B1G title game that year and MSU won to dash the Buckeyes national title hopes, then the following year J.T. Barrett and company walked into East Lansing at night and torched the Spartans 49-37 en route to their B1G and eventual national championship. Last year with OSU as the favorite to reach the playoff again, MSU used a combination of stifling defense and atrocious play calling by OSU (10 carries for Ezekiel Elliott for the whole game) along with a steady running attack when needed to beat the Buckeyes 17-14 to once again dash OSU's national title hopes and propel the Spartans to another B1G title and a College Football Playoff berth.
There is no question based on this article that if rivalries were completely defined by measure of success against a particular team back and forth, that MSU vs. OSU would be the best modern college football rivalry.
The thing is, measure of success is not what completely defines rivalries. It's only part of the conversation. There's one critical part of the rivalry equation that in my opinion is sorely missing from the Michigan State-Ohio State equation, a piece that one might think would take a long time to develop but really doesn't when you think about it:
Hatred. Pure, unbridled, raw hatred.
It's what Ohio State feels for Michigan and what Michigan feels for Ohio State. It's what Michigan State feels for Michigan and for the past eight years, what Michigan has felt for Michigan State. It's what Alabama and Auburn, Notre Dame and USC, and Oklahoma and Texas all feel for each other. Does anyone get the sense that either Michigan State or Ohio State feels hatred for each other? On that level?
Here's how the CBS Sports article tries to quantify it:
All of that is true, but I'm not hearing a whole lot of hatred there. After that stunning loss to MSU last year, Ezekiel Elliott blasted his coaches, not Michigan State. There was no real trash talk from either side before or after that game and there never really has been, at least not anything that has made major headlines.
But when they asked Woody Hayes why he kept going for two against Michigan in 1968 his answer was, "Because I couldn't go for three." That's hatred.
When Mike Hart made his infamous "Little Brother" comment toward the Spartans in 2007, it was MSU head coach Mark Dantonio himself who made a crack about Hart's 5 foot 8 stature and uttered the now famous words in East Lansing, "Pride comes before the fall." He also said it's not over and it was just starting. That's hatred.
Recently when the Big Ten Network bus visited Ohio State's campus, the following was done to the bus to observe a rule on campus about an anti-MIchigan dress code:
Notice how the Spartan emblem is completely untouched. That's not hatred.
This topic was recently discussed on a local Detroit radio show, the "Valenti and Foster" program that airs from 2pm to 6pm on 97.1 the Ticket. Mike Valenti is well known to most Michigan fans as a huge Spartan homer that makes his show extremely difficult for a Michigan fan to listen to these days with the last eight years of success MSU has had on the football field. When discussing this topic, he naturally agreed with the CBS Sports article but his producer Mike Sullivan made a comment that struck me, saying that he was at the MSU-OSU game last year and he heard an OSU staff member say, "Michigan is not our rival anymore, it's Michigan State."
Had I been listening to that show live and not later on a podcast segment, I might have called in to ask Sullivan what would happen to that Ohio State staff member if he uttered the word "Michigan" in front of Urban Meyer, considering that all over OSU's facilities you see this instead:
Here's what happens when you Google the acronym "TTUN":
See, THIS is hatred and THIS is a rivalry. Now I know that Michigan-Ohio State is a game that hasn't meant anything at all since 2006 when it was the #1 vs. #2 matchup in Columbus and I know that this hatred I'm using as an example is a product of decades of emotions and battles on and off the field and on the surface, it doesn't hold water to the "modern rivalry" definition, but how can you possibly have a rivalry without some level of genuine hatred between schools? Isn't that part of it? The trash talking? The crazy quotes and guarantees? The snide remarks from coaches and players? Any measure of after the whistle violence or incident?
I've seen none of that between MSU and OSU in the past three years and that's why I can't call it a rivalry. They only have half of the formula complete, which is playing meaningful games against each other with everything on the line. If only someone could talk a little trash, get a little spark going, make a guarantee or a coach makes a snide comment.
Of course if you get that at all in this "rivalry" you won't get it from Dantonio, who was OSU's defensive coordinator for three seasons under Jim Tressel. You won't get it from Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer who has nothing bad to say about Michigan State whatsoever, in spite of the two heartbreaking losses they have given him and his team, their only two losses currently in the B1G as Valenti and other Saprtans would love to remind us all.
But when Meyer was on David Letterman after the Buckeyes won the national championship, he refused to utter the word "Michigan" on national television.
That's hatred and you need that in a rivalry. If Michigan State and Ohio State are really to be the best modern college football rivalry in the land, somebody better start publicly hating the other because this is the tamest "rivalry" I've ever seen in college football.