Before their only meeting at Munn last season, a riveting 5-3 Michigan State win, the Spartans screened a highlight tape from past games against the Wolverines. The dressing room was silent. "That old footage from the '50s and '60s, the progression through the years—it was amazing to watch," says John-Michael Liles, a senior on that team and now a Colorado Avalanche defenseman. "I was thinking that down the road we were going to be part of the highlights. This rivalry demanded the utmost of us: talent, smarts, physical play. Long after we're gone, Michigan-Michigan State will carry on, and all of us can say, 'That was one of the greatest things I've ever been a part of.' "
This is the 29th in SI's 50th anniversary series on the 50 states. Next week: Indiana
For more about sports in Michigan and the other 49 states, go to si.com/50.