Do we need to put these programs in timeout or something? Michigan and Michigan State are set to play this weekend and both have created more conversations for their shenanigans off the field rather than on it.

In the latest tabloid-esque nonsense from the Michigan Wolverines program, the NCAA is investigating the University of Michigan athletic department and the football program for allegedly stealing signs. Technically, there's nothing wrong with stealing signs through the course of a game, but preemptively scouting signs in person is against bylaws and sportsmanship, which the Michigan program is accused of.

"The university is fully cooperating with the Big Ten and NCAA," the university said in a statement via ESPN. "... At the University of Michigan, we are committed to the highest ethical and integrity standards for all members of our community."

The game set to kickoff at 7:30 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing between the Wolverines and Spartans will not be affected by the investigation. The Wolverines are still 24-point favorites and are aiming to make a miserable season for the Michigan State Spartans even worse.

The Spartans are 2-4 and haven't won a game since Mel Tucker was fired for cause for his involvement in a sexual harassment case against him stemming back to last April in which he allegedly made inappropriate advances toward sexual assault awareness speaker Brenda Tracy. That saga is far from over as Tucker sued the school for not properly collecting evidence and subsequently accused Tracy of being a career manipulator of sorts.

That took attention away from Michigan as the Wolverines played its first three games without head coach Jim Harbaugh who served a university-imposed three-game suspension resulting from alleged recruiting violations during the COVID-19 dead period and not cooperating with NCAA investigators.

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All of this to say, it's supposed to be a fun year for football in Michigan. (Well, except in East Lansing.) The Wolverines look like the best team in all of college football and appear poised to make a serious run at the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Detroit Lions have the best odds to win the Super Bowl for crying out loud.

Yet, here we are, another controversy as the state prepares for a rivalry game that determines the moods of nearly every resident in the Mitten for the next calendar year. It seems since last year's tunnel fiasco neither of these programs have been able to keep their noses clean off the field.

Maybe a full year of off-field shenanigans will come to a close once this game is played and finished. Here's hoping we can spend more time talking about the product these teams put on the field in the coming months instead.

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