Michigan and Michigan State have fielded champion-level contenders in both football and basketball. Both universities compete in some longstanding rivalries and we expect big bets to be placed on these Michigan and Michigan State games in the near future.
Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan football has the most wins in college football history. Everything about the University oozes with history, from the winged helmets to the iconic fight song and the annual rivalry game with Ohio State. Michigan plays its games at the Big House on campus in Ann Arbor. Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in the U.S. with a current capacity of 107,601 and ever-growing.
Michigan claims 11 national championships, most recently in 1997 when the University also won its third Heisman Trophy with Charles Woodson. The Wolverines play in the Big Ten and have won 42 conference titles and played in 48 bowl games. Michigan has finished top 10 in the AP poll 38 times since its inception in 1936. Every Michigan coach from 1900 through 1989 has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Most notable among them was Bo Schembechler, who won 13 Big Ten championships in 21 seasons with the team and ignited a fierce rivalry with Ohio State’s Woody Hayes.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry #1: vs. Ohio State Buckeyes. “The Game” is the greatest rivalry in college football and maybe all of the American sports. The two teams first played in 1897 and have met annually since 1918 on the final Saturday of the regular season, at Michigan in odd years and at OSU in evens, with The Game determining a Big Ten champion 49 times. The Wolverines lead the overall series 58-51-6, but the Buckeyes have picked up eight wins in a row, one away from tying the series’ longest win streak (Michigan, 9, 1901-1909). The Game this year will be Saturday, December 12, in Columbus.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry #2: vs. Michigan State Spartans. This state rivalry is the big one, so it’s only appropriate that the teams play for the four-foot tall Paul Buynan — Governor of Michigan Trophy statue every year. The Wolverine State rivals have met over 100 times with Michigan dominating the overall series, nearly doubling MSU in victories, though the series has had significant ebbs and flows over the years. Michigan has won three of the last four and will host the Spartans on Saturday, October 31.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry #3: vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This is one of college football’s great rivalries between two of its great programs. Michigan ranks No. 1 all-time in both win percentage and wins, but Notre Dame is close behind and always chasing the Wolverines. Unfortunately, the rivalry is currently on hiatus, but the teams are scheduled to meet again in 2033.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Football
Eastern Michigan football has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows. The team has finished the season undefeated five times and even held their opponents scoreless in 1943, but they’ve also completed eight seasons without a single win, most recently in 2009. EMU is one of the worst Division I schools historically, ranking among the lowest in football in both win percentage and scoring margin. The Eagles compete in the Mid-American Conference and play their home games at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti. They are coached by Chris Creighton.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Rivalry: vs. Central Michigan Chippewas. The Eagles call both Directional Michigan schools rivals and compete with both of them for the Michigan MAC Trophy each season, but CMU is the bigger rival between the two. These rivals have played nearly 100 times since 1902. EMU dominated the rivalry early, but CMU leads the all-time series by a wide margin. The Eagles will host CMU this year on Friday, November 27.
Michigan State Spartans Football
Michigan State may not have the prestige of Michigan football, but they claim six national championships, all the same, all of them between 1951 and 1966. The Spartans play in the Big Ten and have won 11 conference titles. They’ve played in 29 bowl games and played in the College Football Playoff for the first time in 2015.
The Spartans recently moved on from over a decade with Mark Dantonio and debut a new coach in 2020 with former Colorado coach, Mel Tucker. Michigan State plays its home games at Spartan Stadium on campus in East Lansing.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry #1: vs. Michigan Wolverines. This state rivalry is the big one, so it’s only appropriate that the teams play for the four-foot tall Paul Buynan — Governor of Michigan Trophy statue each year. The rivals have met over 100 times with Michigan dominating the overall series, nearly doubling MSU in victories, though the series has had significant ebbs and flows over the years. Michigan State has won four of the last seven and will visit Ann Arbor this year on Saturday, October 31.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry #2: vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This is a historic rivalry that peaked in the incredible 1966 matchup billed as “The Game of the Century,” which many would call the greatest college football game ever played. The teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation and finished in a 10-10 tie, with Notre Dame cowardly running out the clock at the end of the game to preserve their No. 1 ranking. Spartans fans have never forgiven them for it. Nowadays, the teams play for the Megaphone Trophy but the rivalry has gone dormant and will not be played again until 2026. Notre Dame leads the all-time series.
Western Michigan Broncos Football
Western Michigan football has played in the Mid-American Conference since 1948 and has won four conference titles. The Broncos have only played in 10 bowl games all-time with just one win, but they became the first MAC team to play in the Cotton Bowl in 2017 when they finished the regular season 13-0. There they played Wisconsin well but came up just short in a 24-16 loss to end the dream season. The Broncos play at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo. They are coached by Tim Lester.
Western Michigan Broncos Rivalry: vs. Central Michigan Chippewas. WMU calls both Directional Michigan schools rivals and plays for the Michigan MAC trophy between them each year, but CMU is the higher rival. Western and Central play for the Victory Cannon each season, and the Broncos lead the all-time rivalry. Western will travel to Central this year on Wednesday, November 18 on ESPN2.
Central Michigan Chippewas Football
The Chippewas have the best football program of the three Directional Michigan schools. The Chippewas won a national championship in 1974, back when they were still a Division II team. They joined the Mid-American Conference in Division I the following season and have played in the MAC ever since, with 16 conference titles at all levels. CMU has played in 12 bowl games, all in the last three decades, winning three of them. The Chippewas play at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant. They are coached by Jim McElwain.
Central Michigan Chippewas Rivalry: vs. Western Michigan Broncos. These in-state rivals play for the Victory Cannon trophy when they meet each season in the MAC. Western Michigan leads the all-time series since it began in 1907, but CMU leads the rivalry since both teams moved to Division I in 1975. The Chips will host WMU this year on Wednesday, November 18 on ESPN2.
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Michigan Wolverines Men’s Basketball
Michigan basketball considers itself one of the best programs in the nation, and the program was all the rage in the late 80s and early 90s in particular. In 1989, the Wolverines won their lone national championship with an all-time NCAA tournament run from Glen Rice. A few years later, the Fab Five captured the attention of a nation when they played in back-to-back national championship games in 1992 and 1993, coming up short each time but leaving a long-lasting cultural impact on the sport.
The Wolverines play in the Big Ten and have won 13 regular-season conference championships and three conference tournaments. Michigan was NIT champions in 1984, 1997, and 2004. The Maize and Blue have played in eight Final Fours, most recently in 2018. Michigan plays its home games at the Crisler Center on campus in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are coached by Juwan Howard, one of those Fab Five legends from the 90s.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry #1: vs. Michigan State Spartans. These in-state rivals fight in recruiting battles year after year and then take their battle to the hardwood court at least twice a season in the Big Ten. This rivalry has been very even over the years. The all-time program numbers stack up pretty evenly and Michigan has a narrow edge in the all-time series rivalry after a decade of hotly contested matchups.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry #2: vs. Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan and Ohio State hate each other, but the basketball rivalry is certainly nowhere near as intense as the one on the football field. Still, a rivalry is a rivalry and these teams love to beat each other in any sport at any time. These programs are matched pretty well historically, but Ohio State leads the all-time series by a sizable margin thanks mostly to dominating from the 1940s through the 70s. The teams play at least twice a season in the Big Ten.
Michigan State Spartans Men’s Basketball
Michigan State basketball has only two national championships, but boy are they memorable. The first came in 1979, when Magic Johnson and the Spartans defeated the previously unbeaten Indiana State Sycamores featuring Larry Bird in the national championship game, still the most-watched college basketball game in history. The other title came 21 years later and was led by Flint, Michigan’s own Mateen Cleaves in 2000 against Florida.
That championship team was led by Hall of Fame Coach Tom Izzo, and Izzo is still in East Lansing leading the way. Nearly every four-year senior at Michigan State has made the Final Four under Izzo, and Sparty has made 10 Final Fours overall, sixth most of any program, and has appeared in the past 22 NCAA tournaments under Izzo, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. Michigan State plays in the Big Ten and has won 16 conference championships. They play their home games at the Breslin Center on campus in East Lansing.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry #1: vs. Michigan Wolverines. This hasn’t always been Sparty’s number one rival on the basketball court, but the rivalry has been top-notch ever since John Beilein came to coach Michigan. Now it’s a real rivalry and more than MSU just beating up on baby brother, though Michigan has a narrow edge in the all-time series rivalry. These teams play at least twice a season in the Big Ten and have met in any number of great games over the past decade.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry #2: vs. Wisconsin Badgers. To many diehard Spartan fans, Wisconsin is their “real” rival. That was the case on the football field before division realignment separated the schools, but there’s no such problem in basketball where the rivals meet every season. Michigan State has played Wisconsin more than any team in history and leads the all-time series.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry #3: vs. Purdue Boilermakers. This rivalry has been heating up more and more in recent years, with these teams often vying for conference supremacy at the top of the Big Ten. Purdue fans have thrown themselves into this rivalry and always seem to go nuts at home games in Mackey Arena, which has become a Spartan kryptonite in recent years. Purdue leads the all-time series.
Central Michigan Chippewas Men’s Basketball
The Chippewas play in the Mid-American Conference, which they’ve won seven times. Central Michigan has made the NCAA tournament four times, most recently in 2003 when they upset Creighton in the first round as an 11-seed. The Chips are 3-4 all-time in the tournament. They play their home games at McGuirk Arena on campus in Mount Pleasant and are coached by Keno Davis.
Central Michigan Chippewas Rivalry: vs. Western Michigan Broncos. All three Directional Michigan schools are rivals, but CMU has always called WMU its closest rival. They’re only 136 miles apart and fight for the same recruits, and they play at least twice every season in the MAC. Western Michigan leads the all-time series.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Men’s Basketball
Eastern Michigan hoops doesn’t have a ton of success, but they make it count when they do. In 1972, the Eagles reached the Division II Final Four in their only D-II tournament appearance, led by Hall of Fame legend George Gervin. Since moving to Division I, the Eagles have appeared in the NCAA tournament four times, none since 1998. Their most recent tournament win came in 1996 when they beat the great Duke University in the first round. The Eagles also made a Cinderella run to the Sweet Sixteen as a 12-seed in 1991. EMU plays at the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti and are coached by Rob Murphy.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Rivalry: vs. Central Michigan Chippewas. Like in football (and every other sport), the Eagles are top rivals with both Central and Western Michigan. And like in those other sports, CMU is the top rival. These teams play at least twice each year in the MAC and have met almost 200 times over the years, with Central Michigan holding the slight edge.
Western Michigan Broncos Men’s Basketball
Western Michigan competes in the Mid-American Conference in basketball, just like its other sports. The Broncos have won their conference six times and played in the NCAA tournament four times, most recently in 2014. Western Michigan has two NCAA tournament wins, their last one an upset over Clemson in 1998 as an 11-seed. The Broncos play at University Arena in Kalamazoo and are coached by Clayton Bates.
Western Michigan Broncos Rivalry: vs. Central Michigan Chippewas. The three Directional Michigan schools are all rivals and play at least twice against each other opponent every year in the MAC. Western and Central have always been the closest rivals, though. They’re only 136 miles apart and often fight for the same recruits, and the rivalry can get pretty heated at times. Western Michigan leads the all-time series.
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Michigan Wolverines Men’s Hockey
The Michigan Wolverines are the greatest collegiate hockey program in the nation. Michigan has won nine national championships, more than any other program. Seven of those titles came between 1948 and 1964, and the most recent championship was in 1998. The Wolverines have competed in the Big Ten since it began sponsoring hockey in 2013. The Wolverines also hold the record for number of consecutive and overall tournament appearances. Michigan has played in 25 Frozen Fours. The Wolverines play at Yost Ice Arena on campus in Ann Arbor.
Michigan Wolverines Rivalry: vs. Michigan State Spartans. Yes, this in-state rivalry extends to hockey too, and it’s the most-played rivalry in college hockey. Both teams compete in the Big Ten and play at least four times every season. They memorably met in two outdoor games, the Cold War in 2001 in East Lansing and the Big Chill at the Big House in 2010 in Ann Arbor. The teams have played over 300 times, with Michigan leading the all-time series. Once a year, the teams play at neutral Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, and the winner of that one receives the Iron D Trophy. That rivalry game moved to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit in 2017 and is one of the most attended college hockey games every season.
Michigan State Spartans Men’s Hockey
The Spartans have won three national championship in men’s hockey in 1966, 1986, and 2007, so they’re about due for a fourth now. Michigan State has played in 11 Frozen Fours and appeared in the NCAA tournament 23 times. The Spartans boast NHL stars like Duncan Keith and Ryan Miller. They play their home games at the Munn Ice Arena on campus in East Lansing. They are coached by Danton Cole.
Michigan State Spartans Rivalry: vs. Michigan Wolverines. Yes, this in-state rivalry extends to hockey, and it’s the most-played rivalry in college hockey. Both teams compete in the Big Ten and play at least four times every season. They memorably met in two outdoor games, the Cold War in 2001 in East Lansing and the Big Chill in 2010 in Ann Arbor. The teams have played over 300 times, with Michigan leading the all-time series. Once a year, the teams play at neutral Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, and the winner of that one receives the Iron D Trophy. That rivalry game moved to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit in 2017 and is one of the most attended college hockey games every season.
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