They began playing football at Michigan State University in 1885. They originally competed in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, one of the oldest collegiate athletic leagues in the country. Other long-running Michigan collegiate leagues include the Michigan Northern Pike Fishing Athletic Association, the Michigan Holstein Dairy Herd Athletic Association and the Michigan Snowplow Athletic League. “You know all those snowplow champions came from the Upper Peninsula, don’t you?” an MSU student mused.
Michigan State was then known as Michigan Agricultural College. The very first intercollegiate game ever in the state was held between Michigan Agricultural College and Albion College in 1884. Albion College was founded in 1835 and they begin to build a building in 1837, but that ended due to the “panic of 1837,” which refers to a known condition people have in Michigan when they suddenly realize they live in Michigan. One new transplant said, “If I knew it was going to be this cold here, I would’ve stayed in England.”
In the 50s, Michigan State was called a “football factory.” Year after year they turned out football stars such as Bob Kerrey, Dean Look and Lynn Chandrois. A federal investigation found that these players were in fact the products of an actual factory, were not human,and were made from discarded parts of Fort Edsells, Chevrolet Bel Airs and 35 broken down Cadillacs.
At the end of the 1953 season, Biggie Munn handed the coaching duties over to his longtime protégé Duffy Daughtery. That year they both shared the title for “Coolest Football Coach Name.” 20th Century Fox presents Biggie Munn and Duffy Daughtery in “Football Factory.”
In 1998, although the Spartans beat Ohio State in Columbus and beat a highly competitive Notre Dame squad, they still finished 6-6 for the season. One theory discussed in the press at the time was that most of the team were big Aerosmith fans and had assigned a team equipment assistant to get tickets for an upcoming Aerosmith concert in Detroit.
The assistant ended up in a fender bender which prevented them from getting the tickets, greatly upsetting the team emotionally. The big Aerosmith hit in 1998 was “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” but after losses in the final minutes of several games due to turnovers and mental errors, the Michigan State song that year was “We’re Missing Almost Everything.”
Other song titles that could have applied to Michigan State that year include Big Puns’ “Still Not a Player,” and Five’s “When The Lights Go Out.