Michigan State will travel south-south-west sixty miles to battle Michigan this Saturday in an empty Big House.

It is a blood rivalry that will not ever be over, the hatred and malice carrying over from one season to the next, year over year, from the dim past to the distant future, and no one on either side denies it.

Despite having no fans at Michigan Stadium per Michigan Covid-19 protocols, Harbaugh has no doubt the state championship game will maintain its malice.  

“It’s different,” Harbaugh said, according to The Detroit News.

“It’s still a game. The red blood is pumping and it’ll be really pumping for both sides in this game, no question about that. It’s for the state championship, that’s what we call it. I think a lot of players can relate to that. It’s a really big deal.”

Michigan and Michigan State have cursed each other since 1855, when the Land-Grant school known as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded in East Lansing. The cadre in Ann Arbor, representing the flagship school founded in 1817, never seemed to accept their “little brothers” to the north as equals, and for the Spartans the feeling was mutual. 

This rivalry has manifested itself in intense fashion on the football field since the first game was played in 1898, and then for the Paul Bunyan Trophy since 1953, when the Spartans joined the Big Ten conference for good.  

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh went 2-1 against Michigan State in back t0 back blowouts in 1985 and 1986 as the Wolverines primary starting quarterback. But in the 1984 game, Harbaugh suffered a badly broken arm on an afternoon when the Spartans upset the favored Wolverines in Ann Arbor. As a head coach, Harbaugh is 3-2 against MSU. 

The Wolverines lead the trophy era of the series 38-27-2, and the overall series 71-36-5. But recently the Spartans have had their most success, winning eight of the last twelve meetings. The Wolverines are currently on a two-game series winning streak.