Normally, any discussion of Big Ten football rivalries starts and stops with Ohio State-Michigan. When a game is played in front of over 100,000 people every year and is called “The Game”, that will happen. However, one retired Big Ten official, Bill LeMonnier, was a bigger fan of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, and thought that games between the Wolverines and Spartans were the most intense that he experienced.
Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press spoke with LeMonnier, who went into detail about his interesting view on the league’s best rivalries.
After two decades as a Big Ten official, one game stands out to retiring Bill LeMonnier as the most intense.
“With Michigan and Ohio State, it would be like that for the first few possessions and then settle in,” LeMonnier said Saturday at the league’s annual officiating clinic. “But Michigan and Michigan State, it was like that from start to finish. That one has always stood out to me.”
LeMonnier not only thinks that Michigan-Michigan State tops “The Game”, but he even compares it to the most famous rivalry in the SEC.
“The rivalry of an Ohio State-Michigan game was great, but the Michigan-Michigan State game, that was 60 full minutes of intensity,” LeMonnier said. “I don’t mean that in any way negative. Just real intense – you got it from the players, the coaches, the fans, the whole package was there for that three and a half hours. Great place to hang out. This one to me, it’s, like maybe down south, Auburn-Alabama. That in-state rivalry is really something.”
Don’t expect Ohio State fans, or Alabama and Auburn fans for that matter, to agree with this stance.