Two things are apparent in the Big Ten as November approaches.
Michigan (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) enters the stretch on Saturday with a homecoming game against Indiana and needing to win three of four to become bowl-eligible.
While lineman Jack Miller said the Wolverines meant no disrespect to the Spartans, he was not surprised they were offended at the gesture.
The Wolverines did score a touchdown this time — the first time they’d managed that against the Spartans since 2011 — but it came late in the fourth quarter.
It didn’t take long for Michigan coach Brady Hoke to issue an apology, taking full responsibility for the action because the stake was used during practice as a motivational tool.
It used to be news when Michigan State beat Michigan, when little brother rose up and knocked the mighty Wolverines down a peg. Now it’s routine and the Paul Bunyan Trophy has taken up almost permanent residence in East Lansing.
The Spartans have won six of their past seven games against the Wolverines, only the second time Michigan State has accomplished that in a series that dates to 1898.
Have you seen the line for this week’s Michigan-Michigan State game?
Which one-loss team has the edge? So many pivotal games are still to come, and the temperature of the playoff change can be flipped and turned upside down any given week.
If all goes well, the Wolverines could walk out of Spartan Stadium having ruined Michigan State’s national-title hopes, but they insist that’s not their focus.