Posted by Adam Jacobi
Now that Michigan's off in the (sigh) Legends Division of the revamped Big Ten, it faces an unusual situation where its biggest rival -- Ohio State -- is off in another division, which means that even though the Wolverines and Buckeyes play each other every year, they're not playing for the same divisional crown or against all the same conference opponents. This will likely make the squabbles between both fanbases even more obnoxious, but that's how all good rivalries ought to be. I digress.
That means of Michigan's new divisional opponents, its most obvious rival -- from both a geographic and historical perspective -- are the Spartans over at Michigan State, and there is absolutely no love to be lost between these two fanbases. How intense is the rivalry? So much so that Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon would much rather not even contemplate a night game between the two teams:
Brandon was more cautious about the possibility of the heated rivalry game being played at night at either stadium.
"I don't even know if I want to do that at home," Brandon said. "I think the passion and the excitement of the crowd, to energize that with a night game, may be more than either one of us can handle. I think we'd have to be very careful about that. But we'll see. You never know what the future holds."
Wait! Stop the party! Dave Brandon doesn't wanna hurt nobody!
If we're being honest, Brandon is right, even if he's forced to speak in euphemisms to describe the real issue here: alcohol. You get tens of thousands of football fans drinking for 10 hours straight before the biggest football game of the year, and there's going to be a few public safety headaches. Now, Brandon can't come right out and say "some people will be too drunk and will cause problems for lots of other people," because nobody ever likes to be told that they can't handle their booze, and that just sends the discussion down a contentious and unproductive path.
It would be a little insane if Brandon gave those reasons for not wanting a night game and he wasn't referring to the alcohol, though, wouldn't it? Like he legitimately thought his fans would be too passionate to handle a night game? That would a ferocious insult to the Wolverine fans and their sensibilities. Fortunately, the euphemisms being used are so widely known that we all know what Brandon really means, and he's probably got a point.