When I think of MSU, I think of a school that has always had to scrape for its survival. A school that has always lived in the shadow of Michigan. A school that has always had to seek ways to excel, be noticed, and in ways the other school couldn’t stop.
It has always done its best when it’s gone its own way, as Michigan always did its best to insure that MSU could never compete. Whenever MSU tried to improve itself, there was U of M, trying to stop MSU any way they could.
MSU was always at its best when they didn’t compete directly but worked where U of M didn’t want to go. MSU was started (as Agricultural College of the State of Michigan) when Michigan ignored the wishes and needs of Michigan’s farmers. As Michigan kept to its elitist mind-set, MSU reached out to the rest of the population. When Michigan focused on Graduate students, MSU built up its undergraduate programs and built the biggest dorm system in the nation (complete with classes at the dorms).
And now? Sadly, MSU has seen fit to follow the rest of the universities in their activities. They chase after graduates, starving undergraduate education in the process. They chase after athletic greatness (more on that later). They starve their liberal arts for the sake of their business, law and engineering schools. (Yes, I missed science and Agriculture, but those schools were the basis of MSU).
You know the results. You see it every time they lower themselves to the worst expectations.