James Ross III and Andrew Hawken coach different sides of the ball at Hope College and are on differnt sides of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry too.
"We don't really go back and forth with one another about it," Ross, Hope's linebackers coach said. "This week is definitely different but we have been good about. You can tell, I look at him a little differently this week across from the table."
Ross played linebacker at Michigan from 2012-2015.
As for this being the first time the Wolverines and Spartans are both top ten teams nationally since 1964, the former players say that doesn't matter too much.
"Rivalry game, they say you throw the records out," Hawken, Hope's offensive coordinator, said. "There has been multiple times when one team is ranked higher than the other, that hasn't mattered. It is cool that there is so much national attention with both being ranked high and all the pregame shows and stuff coming to East Lansing, but once you get on the field the rankings and previous records and all that stuff goes away."
Hawken was a fullback at Michigan State from 2006-2009.
The Flying Dutchmen have a game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Alma College so it might be tough for these guys to keep tabs on the game 50 miles south, but they might find a way to get updated, especially James who's younger brother Josh is a starting linebacker for Michigan.
"I got a guy," Ross said laughing. "He's our DFO. Department football operations, Sterk. He kind of whispers updates in the game for me, he's kind of been helpful throughout the season because we've been playing and intertwined when Michigan has been on the field so I am sure he is going to be fired up and giving me updated scores."
As for how to get a win on Saturday.
"I'll channel my inner coach Dantonio," Hawken said. "Run the ball on offense, stop the run on defense."
Ross wants to see more of the same out of the Wolverines defense.
"It's definitely been oozing of the screen for me, " Ross said. "I've seen a noticeable change in what they were last year to this year and if we just continue to play with that confidence, it should be a good day."