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Michigan - Michigan State - College Rivalry Series

Updated on June 10, 2013

Paul Bunyan Trophy

The Paul Bunyan Trophy, in the hands of the Spartans
The Paul Bunyan Trophy, in the hands of the Spartans | Source

Michigan - Michigan State History

The first Michigan State and Michigan football game took place in 1898, and ever since then it has been one of the most important sporing events in the state of Michigan. Even though the first football game occurred in 1898, the two teams did not meet every season, as they started doing the home and home series when Michigan State joined the Big 10 in 1953. Ever since then both teams have been in contention to win the most prized collegiate possession in the state of Michigan: The Paul Bunyan trophy.
The Paul Bunyan trophy stays with the winner of the game for one year, and the trophy is up for grabs again the one the next game of the series comes up.
Both Michigan and Michigan State have seen their fair share of success throughout the years on the football field, however Michigan has the leading edge as it currently is winning the overall series.

Michigan Stadium
Michigan Stadium

Michigan - Michigan State Tickets

Tickets for the biggest game in the state of Michigan are obviously hard to get. However there are always ways people can acquire a set of them, especially if the game is being played in Michigan Stadium, which holds more than 100,000 people.
If the game is being played in Ann Arbor, there is a good chance that someone will have couple of extra tickets to sell, however the you might find out that the price of them is extremely high as we are talking about ticket prices ranging from $250 - $500 for regular seats.
If the game is played in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, your chance of getting a ticket the good old fashioned scalper way is slim to none. The reason for this is that Spartan Stadium holds about 78,000 fans, 30,000 of which are season ticket holders, which makes about 48,000 regular seats up for grabs. However the game is such a big deal in East Lansing that tickets are sold out way in advance and for you to get a chance in getting a pair of them is gonna cost you a lot of money. You will have to pay in the range of $350-$700 for a seat in Spartan stadium, especially if both teams are doing good and they are unbeaten coming into the game.
Every year no matter in what form both teams are, ticket interest for the big game is enormous. Many people buy season tickets just because the in-state rival is coming into town, and fans stand their ground and don't give out their tickets easily.

Your best bet to find a ticket will be online, or a student selling their tickets, however you might not want to spend the entire game in the student section where things get wild, and potentially dangerous.

Michigan - Michigan State - Game Day

Let's say that you are one of the few lucky fans that managed to get a ticket to the big game and you are wondering what is your day going to look like before, during and after the game.
Before the game, no matter which school hosts the game, you need to be at a tailgate. If you are looking for the ultimate Wolverines - Spartans experience, you will need to wake up early, set up your tailgate at the right spot (preferably by the stadium) and start participating in the various activities throughout the day.
Michigan State campus seems to be a bit more relaxed when it comes down to tailgates and parties in general. There is still lots of police officers strolling around the various parties, but they are there to control not to cause problems. As long as you are having a good time without bothering other people around you, nobody is going to say anything to you.
If the game is played in Ann Arbor then you are in for a bit more stricter atmosphere as there are nearly 200,000 + visitors to Ann Arbor on Spartans - Wolverines Game day. When you are tailgating at UofM you will need to abide by all campus rules, as University of Michigan tries (sometimes unsuccessfully) to keep things in order even when there are hundreds of thousands of people visiting the city that day.
Once game time comes I suggest that if you are not rooting for the home team, you don't wear your teams colors. Reason being is that there have been lots of accidents with both Spartans and Wolverines around and in the stadiums throughout the years. Especially if the game is in Ann Arbor you will find that if you are a Spartan fan you will be subject to abuse. Wolverine fans that don't go to Michigan tend to be the biggest trouble makers on any given game day in Ann Arbor and this is especially true when the Spartans come into town.

After the game my suggestion is to to simply go home, mainly due to the fact that there is lots of tension between the fans, and it tends to escalate right after the game is over especially if it was a close game.

UofM vs. Michigan State - A Great Rivalry
UofM vs. Michigan State - A Great Rivalry | Source

Michigan - Michigan State - Rivalry

Everyone knows that University of Michigan has a much more decorated football program than Michigan State, however in the recent years things have changed a bit in the state of Michigan.Michigan State has stepped up their football program and have won several important bowl games, as well as Big Ten Championship. Not to mention that the Spartans have been producing quality NFL ready players such as Kirk Cousins, L.Bell, and lots more. Mark Dantonio, the head coach of the Spartans is doing a phenomenal job with somewhat average players, and has developed them to be world class players who will have an enormous impact on the upcoming NFL Drafts. Clearly the Michigan State football program is on the right path to success and with little luck and lots of effort they could be considered a Top 10 football teams in the nation year in and year out.

The situation in Ann Arbor does not look nearly as positive as it does in East Lansing, and this is primarily due to lack of coaching ability on the sidelines. Brady Hoke has taken over the Michigan football head coaching job and has done OK with players that have been recruited by Rich Rodriguez, as these players graduate, the true face of UofM football will come out. Michigan is constantly regarded as one of the best schools for recruiting and developing talent, however that has not been the case for the past 10 years. Not to mention the fact that they've lost 4 out of the last 5 playing against the Spartans and things are not looking better for the next two years when the Wolverines will have to play in East Lansing twice in a row.

Michigan - Michigan State - Final Remarks

Both Michigan and Michigan State have outstanding athletic programs. It's no wonder why the Wolverines and the Spartans are one of the most bitter rivals in college football. Everything is about bragging rights, as the two neighbors (both campuses are 60 miles apart) try to prove to the nation who is the best football team in Michigan.

This is the most important game for the state, and it carries huge economic impacts through the region. It is what the state of Michigan needs, as it continues to struggle with budget problems. Even though Spartans and Wolverines hate each other everyone respects the opponent, as it should be. This is a game of football and there is no place for anything else but football.

Michigan State Football Video

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