As we await the big game in Columbus this week between No. 10 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan, there is a certain fanbase left out in the cold.
While Wolverines and Buckeyes faithfuls try to hold in their excitement for what is sure to be a classic matchup, fans of the Michigan State Spartans may find themselves struggling to pick a side.
After losing to both schools this year, are Michigan State fans supposed to root for their bitter in-state rival or the perennial Big Ten powerhouse?
The Wolverines (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten) are more-or-less a lock for the College Football Playoff if they beat Ohio State. That's not exactly the case for Ohio State if they win this game. The Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) likely would still need some help from other teams to make the jump into the playoff picture.
Those are the facts.
And even with those facts on the table, how can Michigan State fans root for Michigan to make the College Football Playoff, even if it means beating Ohio State? You might think it's a simple decision: Root for your conference, root for your state and root against the Ohio State football machine.
But no, it's not that simple. There are Michigan State fans -- perhaps the majority -- who literally cannot imagine siding with the
maize yellow and blue on anything, in any sport, conversation, thought, idea, etc. Moreover, for these Spartans diehards, watching the Wolverines lose is almost as nice as watching the Spartans win.
You can call it childish (sad, even), and maybe it is, but this attitude toward the school in Ann Arbor is as much a fact as those listed above, and the feeling Michigan State fans have for Ohio State just isn't the same. The pure hatred isn't there, though it has been trending stronger in the past decade thanks to Mark Dantonio.
Cheering on Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines in what could become a National Championship season for them (*cringe*) does not appear to be an option. As much as it may hurt a Spartan's soul, pulling for Urban Meyer is the only way for Michigan State fans right now. They need to hold onto something: Their school is the only one in the state to make the trip to the football final four. It would be nice to keep it this way as long as possible.
What do you think? Go ahead and call me names in the comments -- I can take it -- and let's let the reader poll decide.