HUT ONE: Finally, it’s upon us, the annual Michigan- Michigan State game, where Spartans fans accuse Wolverines fans of being rich, spoiled, candy-panted dweebs, and Wolverines fans retort, “Run along, Sparty, time to chew your cud.”

* HUT TWO: In games like these, of course, the trash talk at the line of scrimmage can be very entertaining:

U-M: Read any good books lately? Oh, I forgot. You’re from State. MSU: Grrr. Bite me. U-M: What are your plans after graduation? Got any janitorial jobs lined up? MSU: Grrr. Kiss my butt. U-M: Say, how’s that fertilizer project coming along? MSU: Grrr. Fertilize this!

( percent$#!(at)pow!$ percent#!!!ZAP!) U-M: That wasn’t very nice. MSU: Hey, what’s that Northwestern’s kicker’s name again? The one who beat you in the final seconds? U-M: You meanie! MSU: He’s related to that Colorado kid, the one who caught the Hail Mary pass? U-M: Quit it! Quit it! MSU: What’s Chris Webber doing these days? Called any time- outs? U-M: Grrr. Time-out this!

( percent$#!(at)pow!$ percent#!!!ZAP!)
* HUT THREE: By the way, someone asked me this about Saturday’s game: “Do you think Michigan will cover the spread.” Brother, if you’re watching this game for the spread, you’ve completely lost sight of what sports is about.
* HUT FOUR: Brett Favre is having an amazing season. Which is good, because the way his receivers are going down, next week he’s throwing to Golden Richards.
* HUT FIVE: Maybe the most amazing move of the NFL season is the way ESPN’s Chris Berman went from his “Prime Time” show, back to the dugout to manage the Yankees — under his stage name, Joe Torre — then back to ESPN again.
* HUT SIX: Speaking of the NFL, we are now at the midway point of the 1996 season, and it is time to list the biggest surprises so far:

1) The Washington Redskins.

2) John Elway and the Broncos.

3) Bryan Cox hasn’t been arrested yet.

4) Rich Kotite still has his job.

5) Rich Kotite still has any job.

6) Jim Kelly looks more like Grace Kelly.

7) LA still doesn’t have a football team

8) Ricky Watters.

9) Scott Mitchell’s Halloween costume.
* HUT SEVEN: Final thought on the Mitchell-Wayne Fontes affair, I thought Mitchell was pretty insightful when he said, “If we beat Green Bay this week, everyone will forget about it.” Which doesn’t mean Mitchell will forget it. Frankly, we won’t know how much damage Fontes did with his untimely yank until Mitchell starts shopping himself around as a free agent.
* HUT EIGHT: Has anyone noticed that Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith are down on the list of NFL rushing leaders this season? Considering that one of these two has won the title the last six years, this is a pretty significant development. In Dallas, they’re saying Emmitt is showing the effects of his often- bruised body. That can’t be the case in Detroit. Barry doesn’t get used enough to get bruised.
* HUT NINE: Hats off to Dante Brown of Division III Marietta College, who broke college football’s single-game rushing record with 441 yards on 45 carries. Said Brown, “I started feeling in the second quarter like I was having a good game.” By that point he had more than 200 yards. So I guess Dante isn’t majoring in math. THE HUDDLE
* WHO’S IN: No Lions (sorry), Chris Howard, Todd Schultz, North-lucky-western and Dallas coach Barry Switzer for telling Jerry Jones to take a hike when Jones wanted to run up the score on Jimmy Johnson.
* WHO’S OUT: The Lions defense, the Lions offense, the Lions special teams, the Lions coaching staff — did we leave anyone out? — Tyrone Wheatley (nice pass, lousy kick) and whoever is taping up the Green Bay receivers before the game. THE PICKS
* MICHIGAN 20, MICHIGAN STATE 20: For 12 years I’ve been picking this game, and no matter which way I go, I get yelled at. So forget it. I’m not taking any sides.
* MICHIGAN STATE 20, MICHIGAN 20: See? I’m not even taking sides on which school gets listed first.
* PACKERS 20, LIONS 13: ON the other hand, some games are easier to pick.
* WASHINGTON 20, BUFFALO 10: One team is 7-1 and smoking, the other is 5-3 with a withering quarterback. So why are the Bills favored?
* DALLAS 20, PHILADELPHIA 19: Last week, I saw Ty Detmer trash talking a defensive lineman. Ty Detmer. With an attitude. I am now voting Ray Rhodes coach of the year.

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