When you have the most wins in college football history everyone is your rival. Michigan is used to teams playing a bit harder the week the Wolverines come to town.
Michigan's latest rival seems to be Rutgers who seems very un-happy with the Wolverines of late. They did hire an OSU assistant to be their head coach. So he has the rivalry already built in.
Let's look a bit deeper at these hurt feelings and why Rutgers is so mad at the Wolverines:
- Michigan is a brand name college football program and has a long storied history. Rutgers likes to say they are they're "The Birthplace of College Football" for having hosted the first-ever intercollegiate football game on Nov. 6, 1869.
- Michigan tried to hire their famous coach, Greg Schiano when they were wining games in the Big East. Greg said, yes to Michigan, then no, and if you believe the reports he tried to say Yes again, but Sailboat Bill wasn't having it. He left for the NFL a few years later and is now an assistant coach for Ohio State.
- Michigan has been pulling some of the nation's top players out of Rutgers backyard in NJ. It started with Peppers and this past year with Gary.
- Rutgers did win the first match-up as Big Ten teams against Michigan when the program was on fire under Hoke. So that gave them some confidence. Michigan won 49-16 this past season.
- The Big Ten saved Rutgers athletic department from serious debt. Rutgers is making money off of the Big Ten's history and accomplishments. With Michigan as one of those storied Big Ten programs, Rutgers has a little bit of jealously.
- Jim Harbaugh is in tight with one of NJ's top high schools in Paramus Catholic High School. He hired their former head coach and is even doing the graduation commencement speech.
- Jimmy is running a satellite camp at Paramus this summer, Rutgers and OSU are doing a competing camp on the same day.
- Rutgers is now going to "stripe the stadium" when Michigan comes in for a night game this fall. Meaning they will have people wear Red in certain sections and Black in others.
I tip my hat to Rutgers as they are trying to re-build their program that still many people wonder out load how they got into the Big Ten. They also won a game when Michigan was lost for a few years. With that said, Michigan is on the rise and Rutgers is trying to be.
Good luck with this strategy, usually you don't want to poke the bear.