Why The Chip On The Shoulder? How Much Time Do You Have?

Why The Chip On The Shoulder? How Much Time Do You Have?

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Why The Chip On The Shoulder? How Much Time Do You Have?

The chip on the shoulders of Spartans is a much-discussed dynamic of the rivalry between Michigan State and UMAA. If one takes a little time to examine the reasons for the chip, one is left to wonder why the chip isn’t bigger and edgier.

Contact @crowleysullivan

It was the first day of Big Ten Media Days – it was around 2003 – and I saw Lloyd Carr in the lobby of the Chicago hotel where everything was taking place.

I had not yet gotten my credential and was just sort of mulling around waiting for my colleagues so I walked up to Carr.

I introduced myself, received a pretty cold hand shake, and not much of a greeting.

It reminded me of the time I was at a party and a drunk friend of mine introduced me to a lamp.

I started to just chat with Carr.

It was a little bit like chatting with a monk – but without all of the holiness and such.

I had it on rock-solid information that Carr and his assistants spent all day on the Monday after the infamous “clockgate” game when Jeff Smoker connected with TJ Duckett on the last play of the game of Michigan State’s 26-24 victory examining the tenths and hundredths of seconds that may or may not have expired.

I didn’t bring it up.

Also on rock-solid information, I knew that Carr threw a garbage can out of his office during one stretch of the UMAA fixation on the clock situation.

I didn’t bring that up either as he patronized me without looking my way while we “conversed.”

I tip-toed around with him while we chatted for maybe five full minutes, finally letting him know I was an ESPN producer and that I’d love to grab him for a few minutes for an interview.

To his credit – at that point – he nodded his head and asked what time.

We arranged for the meeting and he met me in the spot we agreed on.

When he arrived, our crew was all set up, ready to go, grateful for the opportunity to have a talk with Coach Carr about UMAA’s upcoming season.

As I sat down to start conducting the interview, I laughingly said, “Hey, Coach – please find a way to look past the fact that I graduated from Michigan State – just pretend I’m a normal producer…”

Carr stood up that moment and said, “You didn’t tell me you went to State. That’s a double cross. I’m not sitting here with you. Goodbye.”

That’s a verbatim transcript of the quote.

He literally used the term “double cross.”

I sort of thought he was kidding – but as I tried to salvage the interview by telling him it was going to be a regular, ESPN-produced interview, he walked off as if he had just left the proctologist.

Lloyd Carr was a terrific football coach, dedicated his life to coaching kids and helping kids – and the charity work he does is beyond reproach.

But that day, he literally stood up and stormed out of an interview I had secured with him – and he did that because I told him I went to Michigan State.

That’s weird and petty and rude and condescending and it’s precisely the type of thing that makes Michigan State people have the ammunition to say that UMAA looks down its nose at Michigan State.

2001: Michigan State 26, UMAA 24

Two years before Carr bolted from our interview because I went to Michigan State, Carr stood up at the post game press conference after Smoker found Duckett and harrumphed, “We deserved better……Our kids deserved better…”

Since when did – and since when does – UMAA “deserve” anything at all?

Regarding Carr’s insistence that UMAA “deserved better” – it was an entire game and each team had the full game to make plays.

Michigan State made enough of them and UMAA did not.

Michigan State didn’t “deserve” the victory – Michigan State earned the victory.

2003: Oregon 39, UMAA 7

In the 2003 season, Lloyd Carr famously complained about how Autzen Stadium’s playing surface at the University of Oregon was “crowned” and, therefore, UMAA was at a disadvantage throughout the game that afternoon against the Ducks.

Oregon beat UMAA that day 39-7.

I’m sure the crowned surface of the field was the difference.

1966: Michigan State 10, Notre Dame 10

Michigan State and Notre Dame tied 10-10 in 1966.

It was The Game of the Century and Ara Parseghian caught flak for “playing for the tie” as the game wound down.

The truth was that Ara played it smart – Notre Dame was #1 (State was, of course, #2) and a tie would deliver Notre Dame the national championship.

Duffy Daugherty and Ara Parseghian – and the players – shook hands after the game and everyone moved on.

Michigan State celebrates that game since it’s one of the greatest games ever played in the history of the sport.

Michigan State and Notre Dame share a collegial pride in having contributed one of the most monumental moments to the sport.

Sure, Duffy Daugherty, Bubba Smith, Gene Washington, George Webster and every Spartan fan alive and dead would have loved to have won that game.

1973: UMAA 10, Ohio State 10

But compare the way Michigan State dealt with that tie to the way the UMAA people – led by Bo Schembechler’s childish and silly temper tantrums in the immediate aftermath – handled the 1973 10-10 tie against Ohio State and the way the Big Ten athletic directors voted to send Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.

Temper tantrums are systemic at UMAA.

UMAA is still whining and complaining about that.

Carr’s “We deserved better” wasn’t just a 2001 thing – it started back in 1973 when the UMAA folks thought they “deserved” to go to the Rose Bowl after that 10-10 tie.

Why?

Lots of “we outplayed them” quotes from the UMAAers.

If you “outplayed them,” why did the game end in a 10-10 tie?

UMAA didn’t “deserve” anything following that 1973 10-10 tie.

1990: Michigan State 28, UMAA 27

Desmond Howard’s decades-long complaints about how he thinks he was interfered with on the two-point conversion that would have beaten Michigan State when UMAA was #1 in the nation in 1990 – nobody ever seems to want to address other issues related to that moment and the entire game.

Howard dropped the ball, for one thing.

Go back and watch the play and listen to Keith Jackson’s call (7:50 mark of the video here) –

 

The ball was right, smack in Howard’s bread basket and he failed to secure the ball – and Jackson said, emphatically and about ten times, “HE DROPPED IT.”

Regarding that 1990 game that Michigan State won – once again, the game was a four-quarter game and Michigan State made the plays over the course of those four quarters.

UMAA did not.

Michigan State held UMAA on four straight goal-to-go downs late in the first half, shutting UMAA out of the endzone on 4th down.

Had UMAA managed to get into the endzone – or if Gary Moeller had chosen to kick the field goal – UMAA would have earned the victory.

UMAA’s field goal kicker also missed a chip shot field goal (I think it was a 30-yarder) as the first half expired.

Make the plays.

Do the things necessary so that you don’t have to whine for decades about something that didn’t go your way.

1987: Michigan State 17, UMAA 11

When Michigan State intercepted Demetrius Brown sixteen times in 1987, did UMAA “deserve better?”

Michigan State manhandled UMAA that day.

2013: Michigan State 29, UMAA 6

What was the reason for UMAA “deserving better” when UMAA lined up for a 4th and 31 punt during the Spartans’ 29-6 victory in 2013?

2015: Michigan State 27, UMAA 23

We’ve covered the way the guy had trouble with the snap and how that occurred after UMAA failed to convert a single first down in the final 8:56 of the game.

https://spartanswire.com/2018/10/17/3-years-ago-today-this-happened-nothing-will-ever-make-it-go-away/

2017: Michigan State 14, UMAA 10

Last year, it was raining.

For UMAAers, that rain, strangely, was the reason that Michigan State was able to win the football game 14-10.

That one really confuses me.

1981: Arby’s 7, 31 Flavors 2

In 1981, I played baseball for 31 Flavors in the Glencoe Mustang League and we were in the World Series against Arby’s.

Arby’s won the game 7-2 (it was a one-game clash) and claimed the title.

To this day, I maintain that since the weather was pretty hot that day, Arby’s really didn’t deserve to win that game.

That’s reasonable, right?

2003: UMAA 27, Michigan State 20

As I think about it, the 2003 game at East Lansing was won by UMAA 27-20.  But, it rained and misted all afternoon that day.

I guess that game warrants an asterisk due to the elements?

Chris Perry was an absolute monster that day and he carried UMAA to a win – but I guess I’m allowed to discount what he did because it was raining?

ERAS THAT DON’T COUNT

There is also this thing –

“Well, I don’t count the Brady Hoke Era or the RichRod Era – those teams stunk.  You guys never had to beat any good teams during those years.”

Oh.

Well, I guess I can say that I don’t count the Denny Stolz Era, the Muddy Waters Era, parts of the George Perles Era, parts of the Nick Saban Era, the Bobby Williams Era, and the John L Smith Era.

You don’t count the years when your teams were “bad?”

What sort of logic is that?

THE FRENCH MILITARY = UMAA

According to scholars who are smart, France has fought in 168 battles and/or wars since 387 BC.

The French have won 109 of those battles, lost 49 of them, and have earned a “draw” in 10 of them.

Do the French just simply not include the 49 losses when taking an honest look at their nation’s proud military tradition?

IN SUMMATION

The weather is never a reason for a team’s victory or a team’s loss.

The clock was correct and official (the Big Ten confirmed that the right amount of time was left on the clock).

** Even with the clock controversy – defend effectively on the final play and win the game.  Or, don’t and lose the game.

Howard dropped the ball.

The trouble with the snap was allowed to occur because there were zero first downs in the final 8:56 of the football game.

Demetrius Brown threw nineteen interceptions and they weren’t due to the fact that Michigan State has a veterinarian college that’s pretty damn good.

Bobby Morse’s punt return in 1984 wasn’t the result of a conspiracy that led to the UMAA players having soft cement secretly placed in their shoes that caused them to be slower than usual and unable to catch Morse as he outran them all on the punt return.

Plaxico Burress’s 225 yards against UMAA in 1999 weren’t due to drones flying around Spartan Stadium and firing little, tiny darts into the UMAA players that caused sleepiness in their persons.

Michigan State’s 8-2 edge over the last ten years has nothing to do with weather or flukes or luck or divine intervention.

Michigan State “deserves” that edge because Michigan State has earned that edge.

So, please forgive us all if we have a chip on our shoulder.

It’s been formed over decades of listening to incessant whining from the people who claim to not really care about this game all that much.

The whining sure does suggest that there is an element of “care” underneath the condescending veneer.

What will the excuses be this time?

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