MSU football and MSU basketball: young Spartans fans don’t know how good they have it (Freep column)

In my column for the Detroit Free Press this week, I take a look at the differing mindsets that kids these days have of the Michigan State athletic program — as compared to when I was a kid. The overall point? MSU has drawn equal to UM, if not surpassed them, when looking at the football and basketball programs. As always, I start the article here and finish it at the Detroit Free Press website.

As Michigan State fans head out to their daily activities today, the leaders of the football and basketball programs are hard at work. In the basketball offices, coach Tom Izzo is preparing for his 12th Sweet 16 in 17 years and hoping for his second national championship. In the football offices, Mark Dantonio’s staff is getting ready to open spring practice Tuesday, following its first Rose Bowl appearance — and victory — in 25 years and second Big Ten championship in three years.

On Sunday, as I was watching the final eight teams make their way to the Sweet 16, my sons brought up how great it is to be a Spartans fan. I, of course, agreed with them. But then I got to thinking about it from their perspective.

In doing so, I realized that today’s Spartans fans are experiencing what I hoped for when I was a child: sustained excellence in basketball and football. A Rose Bowl victory followed by a postseason basketball run to the Final Four is a distinct possibility. Needless to say, this doesn’t happen very often.

I looked at my kids and I thought, “They don’t realize how good they have it.” My children are growing up in a much different Michigan State era than I did. They are part of the new generation of green and white in which Michigan State at least equals, if not surpasses, the rival school in Ann Arbor. Their mind-set is completely different than mine was. Continue reading here.