It wasn't a surprise, Michigan being selected by the Sugar Bowl and MSU falling to the Outback Bowl. But once it happened, boy did the social media world light up.
It started Saturday night, when U-M fans began celebrating MSU's loss in the Big Ten Championship. I wasn't online, but a few U-M fans were taunting MSU fans leaving Lucas Oil Stadium.
At that point, the results were all but official in terms of the teams' bowl destinations, and that's when the complaining from MSU fans began. Yes, the fact that U-M is in the top 14 of the BCS standings and MSU is not means you can't just put MSU in the Sugar Bowl. The complaining was pointed at the fact that MSU was penalized for having to play another game. But, they controlled their destiny — something they didn't a year ago — and didn't come through. They said Rose Bowl or bust and they busted.
Based on the tweets I was getting, MSU fans were more concerned with U-M than Georgia and U-M fans were more concerned with MSU's complaining than Virginia Tech.
After MSU's loss, Kirk Cousins didn't hold back his emotions on the fact U-M would jump MSU, while the Wolverines "sat home (Saturday) on the couch." So some Michigan players were asked about those comments while talking to media after being selected to the Sugar Bowl last night.
Kevin Koger didn't bite, but Ryan Van Bergen did, saying "I mean, if he wants to be able to sit on the couch and watch us play in the Big Ten championship game, then he can do that. We would have loved to trade places and have that chance and have that opportunity. All complaints aside, they had an opportunity to the Rose Bowl sitting right in front of them to grab, and they didn’t seize the opportunity."
While MSU's football banquet was going on, some players began tweeting about U-M while Mark Dantonio apparently referred to U-M as "The University of Whatever." (Is that the new "Ohio?")
But as Angelique Chengelis pointed out, Cousins and Van Bergen are seniors. They don't have to play each other again. The MSU seniors who spoke to the media after the banquet didn't say anything toward the Wolverines. They're smarter than that. Athletics director Mark Hollis expressed frustration. However, the younger Spartans on Twitter didn't hold back.
Among the tweets, Nick Hill said Michigan got lucky. Tony Lippett said, "Michigan sucks and we will prove it every year." Hill later added that MSU won the division and pointed out four wins in a row over U-M.
But some players took the high road, like Max Bullough, who tweeted that he doesn't care who went to what bowl and that he's focused on MSU's next game. (That's why he's a team leader, folks)
Today, Le'Veon Bell pointed the frustration toward next year's game, tweeting "But just kno this, when we bring home Paul Bunyon next year he will graduate as a 5th year senior...MSU>UM anyday of the week."
This is the point where some hoped the rivalry would get, where, day-in and day-out, MSU and U-M fans would banter back and forth, and both had solid ground to stand on. This is what makes the U-M/MSU and U-M/OSU rivalries different. The fanbases interact on a daily basis. That's what an in-state rivalry is. Texas can be rivals with Oklahoma and with Texas A&M. They're different (or were before A&M left for the SEC). That's what makes Alabama/Auburn such a good rivalry. Fanbases living together and hating each other every day.
Last year, the trash-talking began in the offseason, with Morgan Trent saying MSU didn't beat a real Michigan team. Now the trash-talking has begun before this season has even ended.
U-M is back under Brady Hoke and MSU isn't going away under Dantonio. This rivalry is going to be very competitive in football and basketball for years to come.
Is it Oct. 20, 2012 yet?
(By the way, the hockey team plays U-M this weekend)