GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan-Michigan State rivalry week is here.
Michigan will face off against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for noon.
To get fans ready for the big game, the Grand Rapids Economic Club brought both programs’ athletic directors to the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel to talk about the rivalry and the business of college athletics. Michigan State’s Mark Hollis joked when he agreed to the event months ago, it seemed like a good idea. However, his Spartans are reeling with five consecutive losses.
“There’s no doubt our expectations haven’t been met. We’re working hard, Coach (Mark Dantonio)’s working hard trying to find solutions. It’s important for everyone in our athletic department; our student athletes, our coaches, our administrators all take a look and see what they can do better,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ward Manuel’s Michigan team is 7-0, ranked second in the country. The Wolverines are a 23-point favorite in Saturday’s game.
“Doesn’t matter at all. That’s a great team, great coach. They’ve hit some road blocks, but overall, they’re a great program. Throw the records out,” said Manuel.
Both coaches agreed the in-state Big Ten rivalry is something special.
“It’s a chance for families to be together. You walk away and one always has bragging rights over the other. That’s kind of the whole fun of the event. It’s not a game where you just go to it and it’s over. It’s a game that lives leading up to it and it lives when it’s over,” Hollis said.
“It’s going to be a battle. I’ve played in them and it really doesn’t matter what the record is. It’s really about pride in the state,” Manuel said, adding that Michigan head coach “Jim (Harbaugh) will have our team ready and we know (Dantonio) will have his team ready and we’ll see how it goes on Saturday.”
Fans who don’t have tickets can watch the matchup on ESPN.