August 24, 2010

TMI: the Michigan State edition

Finishing out our look at the school behind the football team we bring you our hated nemesis Sparty and the fight for the trophy no one wants. Gratuitous ugly trophy shot in 3...2…1…

It's so ominous it takes two guys to lift that thing

About the University

In 1855 Michigan Governor Kinsley S. Bingham signed a bill establishing the United States' first agriculture college, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. The first president, Joseph R. Williams, designed a curriculum that required more scientific study than practically any undergraduate institution of the era. Despite Williams' innovations and his defense of education for the masses, the State Board of Education saw Williams' curriculum as elitist. They forced him to resign in 1859 and reduced the curriculum to a two-year vocational program.

In 1860, Joseph R. Williams became acting lieutenant governor and helped pass the Reorganization Act of 1861. The College changed its name to State Agricultural College, and its first class graduated in the same year. The Civil War had just begun, and the first alumni enlisted to the Union Army. The following year, Abraham Lincoln signed the First Morrill Act of 1862 to support similar colleges, making the Michigan school a national model. In 1909 the college officially changed its name to Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.). During the early 20th century, M.A.C. expanded its curriculum well beyond agriculture. By 1925 it had expanded enough that it changed its name to Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science (M.S.C.). In its Centennial year of 1955, the State of Michigan renamed the College as Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science. The State of Michigan allowed the University to drop the words "Agriculture and Applied Science" from its name nine years later. Since 1964 the institution has gone by the name of Michigan State University.

For those of you that don't know, the reason that God-awful trophy is played for is because both Penn State and Michigan State are the nation's oldest land-grant universities, both founded in 1855, although MSU beat us to the punch (Michigan State on February 12 and Penn State on February 22). And no, it wasn't some 5th grader's shop project either; it was designed by former Michigan State coach George Perles.


The athletic teams of Michigan State University are known as Spartans.

Linebacker-U, using burnt out internet memes since 2009!

In 1925, when MSU was an agricultural school, its teams were referred to as the Aggies. Looking to move beyond its agricultural roots, Michigan State held a contest to find a new nickname. They decided to call the teams the "Michigan Staters". Local sports writers for the Lansing State Journal and the Capital News didn't like the new moniker so they went through the losing entries to find a shorter and more heroic name. They decided on the "Spartans". The "Spartans" quickly caught on as the teams' new nickname.

Football related data

Last season: 6-7 – lost to Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl

Since joining the Big Ten Penn State leads the Land-Grant trophy series 13–4 and the all-time series 14–12–1. Michigan State has won 6 National Championships although the last came way back in 1966 and the '65 season they were voted in after losing the Rose Bowl to UCLA. They have played in 4 Rose Bowls winning 3 of them and making UCLA their bitch twice in the 50's. Their last Rose bowl came back in 1988 and lately the bowls they've attended have the words "Sun," "Aloha," and "Alamo" in them.

While there haven't been a lot of memorable Spartan teams they did play in one of the "games of the century" against none other than Notre Dame (who seems to play in a lot of "games of the century"). The game was played in Michigan State's Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966. Michigan State entered the contest 9–0 and ranked #2, while Notre Dame entered the contest 8–0 and ranked #1. Notre Dame elected not to try for the end zone on the final series, thus the game ended in a 10–10 tie with both schools recording national championships.

Also, MSU has the biggest comeback in NCAA history that came in 2006 against Northwestern. The Spartans, after falling behind the Wildcats 38–3 with 9:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter, rallied to score 38 unanswered points to defeat the Wildcats, 41–38.

Famous Alumni

Michigan State has 9 College football hall of famers and 2 Pro Football Hall of Famers. They have 31 players currently on NFL rosters.

Michigan State doesn't have the amazing list of celebrities that some of the other schools on PSU's schedule but they do have a few. Teamsters president James P. Hoffa was a Spartan as was Quicken Loans founder and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Rod Brind'Amour, and Robin Roberts where MSU Alumni. Hollywood members that cheered for Sparty include Robert Urich and James Caan.

Comedian Dick Martin called MSU home. Before he was catching predators Chris Hansen was a Spartan.

What would TMI be without some eye candy? Worthless that's what. Fox news anchor and erstwhile E! Entertainment Television regular Suzanne Sena graduated from MSU.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary attended but did not graduate.


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