Very few things drive me much more crazy than the media picking up some far fetched narrative and beating it to death whether there's any evidence it's really true or not. That's what's happening with this whole 'Michigan State is playing for the whole state of Michigan' bunk this week.
If I had known it was going to be played up this much I would have run a poll on it last week to see just how important MSU winning the national championship is to average citizens of the state, and how much they thought a victory would enhance their lives in these troubled times for the whole state. I bet the answers are a) a majority of the state either doesn't care or hopes MSU loses because they're Michigan fans and b) for most of those who do care, beyond the folks who are hard core Sparties, it won't be on their mind much past Wednesday.
I'm not just saying this because I went to UNC, because I grew up in Michigan, and everyone I've heard from who still lives in the state I've heard from since Saturday night has said they're rooting for UNC because they hate MSU. Since the whole 'MSU is bearing the burden of Michigan's wounds' is completely made up and based on anecdotal evidence, I could just as easily push a story line that the UNC basketball team is bearing the burden of the suffering city of Ann Arbor because the hated MSU winning the national championship would just be more salt in the wound of a struggling city that just lost its daily newspaper and largest private employer. That would be a crock, but so is the narrative that is getting pushed.
As far as MSU playing for the city of Detroit itself, I remember seeing some data the Free Press published ten years ago showing that Democrats in the state were much more likely to be Michigan fans than Republicans, and since Detroit is overwhelmingly Democratic I kind of doubt residents of the city who have fallen on hard times are avidly pulling for the Spartans to bring them happiness.
I guess if the Detroit papers can't afford seven day delivery they can't afford to do any survey research to see if the story they're pushing has any actual basis in fact but I think it's a bunch of bunk to keep journalists amused when they know the national championship game may not be all that competitive.