A former Western Michigan University student has been charged with making threats last year about a campus shooting.get more >>
A former Western Michigan University student has been charged with making threats last year about a campus shooting. get more >>
Let me begin by saying this: Nothing would make me happier than seeing the Michigan State Spartans in the Final Four.
They're our hometown team.
They're one of the largest employers in the area.
Lansing and East Lansing have got to have the highest concentration of Spartan alums and fans in the world.
And I'll say it: If MSU was in the Final Four, everyone in mid-Michigan - Spartan fan or not - would be glued to my station. And they'd be getting their post-game reports from my newsroom for two more magical nights. That's good for business.
So I'll say it again: Nothing would make me happier than seeing the Michigan State Spartans in the Final Four.
But they're not.
And except perhaps for Tom Izzo and Derrick Nix, no one regrets that more than me.
But starting Friday night, 6 Sports reporter Kevin Gehl will be in Atlanta, covering the Michigan Wolverines as they play for the national championship. Here's why:
* While the University of Michigan isn't technically in our viewing area, they don't miss by much. It's just east of Jackson County and just south of Livingston County - two counties that are in our viewing area. Hop in a car in East Lansing - and according to Google maps, you can be in Ann Arbor in an hour (though it only takes me about 45 minutes). Drive from Jackson (one of the biggest cities in our viewing area), and you'll be there even sooner.
* While Spartan fans may outnumber Wolverines in mid-Michigan, there's still a significant number of Michigan alums, employees, and people who just plain love the Maize and Blue. They turned out in force on our Facebook page last Friday night.
* Michigan's trip to the Final Four is one heck of a story. After many years in the wilderness, the Wolverines are back at the top of the brackets for the first time in 20 years. Sure, this is old hat for the Spartans (who have been there six times in the meantime). But the fact that Michigan - a school full of tradition and legend - hasn't made it this far in two decades makes it an even bigger story. And we're a news organization. We go where the stories take us. This is what we do.
And finally, this trip to the Final Four is good for Michigan. Not the "University of" - rather, the "State of."
So am I biased? Yes.
I want Michigan's unemployment rate to be low and I want Michigan's graduation rate to be high.
I want Michigan's economy to rise and I want Michigan's crime rate to fall.
I want the Tigers to win the World Series, the Pistons to win the NBA title, and the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup.
And dammit, if the Spartans can't represent us in the Final Four, then Michigan - the "University of" - suits me just fine. And just like the Spartans championship quest in 2009, it's something for the whole state has to cheer about. So we're gonna go cover it.
Now the one thing I've learned in this job is that you can't please everyone. And I know that when you get caught in the middle of the MSU-Michigan rivalry, you're treading on some very dangerous ground.
So to all the Michigan fans who accuse of spending more time covering the Spartans than the Wolverines - guilty as charged. MSU is our hometown team. And from basketball and football to hockey and volleyball, we're going to cover them more than we cover Michigan.
And to all the State fans who are upset that we're covering Michigan, you may not like it, and you may not want to watch it, but the decision to go cover it was a slam dunk.