Parasite: Someone or something that lives off of the generosity of others without doing anything in return.
Walk up to any football fan in the state of Michigan and ask him to list the biggest rivalry games the Wolverines play each year. I will bet you more money than what is found in the back of Nate Newton’s trunk that he will say Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame, when the Irish are on the schedule.
Those are the games that receive the hours of airplay on local radio and the columns upon end in the Ann Arbor newspapers. I hate to break it to Badgers fans, but this rivalry between Wisconsin and Michigan is one-sided.
A college football rivalry is based on the location of the two schools as well as a storied history between the two teams.
Wisconsin is a seven-hour drive for Michigan and Bucky has a worse record (10-45-1) against Michigan than against any other Big Ten school.
Where as a UW student will be satisfied with a 1-11 season as long as the one win is against Michigan, the Wolverine backer considers the Wisconsin game just another team on the schedule, and the win just another notch on his belt.
So the question is why. Why is this such a parasitic relationship? I’ll concede the fact that many UW students have friends and/or family that go to school in Ann Arbor, and that the ability to place that phone call to the 734 area code at about seven on Saturday night would be as sweet as the first sip of alcohol three hours later.
But it has to be more than that. I hate to say it, but let’s be honest — we are jealous.
We would love to be in a position year in and year out where we are national championship contenders, where our team, no matter who we lose, be he Drew Henson or David Terrell, can be in Big Ten title contention every year. We would thrive on the national attention that Michigan gets every week. How much better would it be if the cardinal and white had a nice little Swoosh on it just like the maize and blue does?
The Wolverines have up-ended the Badgers the last four times the teams have met, which means Wendell Bryant, Mike Echols and company have never beaten Michigan. But believe it or not, history is on their side.
The last five wins the Badgers have earned against Michigan have come when UW was unranked going into the contest. If somehow — and emphasize the how — the Badgers were able to knock off Michigan on Saturday in this season of first halves of greatness and second halves of debacles, as well as a season that has included more hospital bills than wins, the season will be in some ways a success.
I know it sounds crazy, but there will be 75,000 screaming fans who will suddenly forget the name Levron Williams and forget the fact that the Badgers are playing with one starter (Bryant) on the defensive line — if the Badgers win. More so, how rewarding would it be for the seniors, after two Rose Bowl victories, to go out with a win in their final home game of their career against Michigan? Not even “Cheers” had a better series finale. Conversely, if Michigan wins, as they are favored to do and as they have been against Wisconsin the last four years and then some, then the sentiments running through the minds of the Wolverine faithful will be, “sS what, who is up next?” The Michigan devote could not care less about the Badgers unless they are ranked within the top ten. This is not a rivalry game. Iowa and Minnesota are rivalry games. This is a game in which we get all the glory and they don’t get a thing. A win would make the season a prosperous one for so many Badger fans. As for the Wolverine fans — who cares? It’s just another game.