FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
I know I promised something along these lines earlier last week-- sorry for taking so long. Without disclosing boring details, let it be known that work got in the way. With that being said, YES, I am a true blue Michigan Man deep in the heart of Nittany Lion country (Jason Kates is my only hint), and while I'm sure I'm not the only one, I'm guessing I have some information that may come in handy for other UM fans making the trip to Happy Valley. aka State College. aka University Park. aka Paternoville.
Yes, the place has got a lot of nicknames.
Truth is, Penn St. has a FANTASTIC gameday scene-- I've been to a lot of college football venues and in truth PSU is a large part of the measuring stick I hold them to. Don't get me wrong-- visiting Ann Arbor will always be my favorite and is nothing short of a pilgrimage-- but Penn State offers just a great way to spend a fall Saturday in ways many other places just can't. And, for the record, I am NOT a Penn State grad, just spent lots of gamedays up there with family and friends. So if you're making the trip and want to experience it, this is my advice:
I'm assuming most of you coming in from Ann Arbor will be doing so on Route 80-- so you want to look for Rt. 322, which will take you right into downtown State College. Being that it's a late game, there's going to be all of the usual stuff to do but more time to do it-- so the earlier you get there, the better. By about 11:00 am traffic will probably get downright ugly. Ultimately you want to find PA Rt. 26, which is College Avenue.
College Ave. IS gameday at PSU-- just a great pre-game scene. It's like a huge outdoor shopping mall/fair for all things Penn State, better than State Street I must admit. The place will be hoppin' and there'll be lots of spectacles like drum lines and glee clubs and cheer squads doing their thing on the corner. College Ave. (a one-way) and its accompanying 'other-way' street, Beaver Ave. are usually a can't miss for things to see and do. There's quite a few parking garages between the two. So poke around, see the sights, some great restaurants if you're that hungry, go sit on the pig, etc. I'd suggest hitting those and walking around for a bit-- if you're looking for bars, my personal pre-game favorite is the Rathskeller, right off of College Ave. Great cellar bar that's pretty friendly to the opposition, but who knows for Saturday-- more on that later.
In terms of the campus, basically College Ave is the dividing line between the school and the town. All points north of the street is the school itself. If that's your thing there's a few points of interest-- head north up Burrows to check out all the frat houses, which will lead you up to the legendary Nittany Lion shrine-- basically it's the rock statue of the lion that everyone gets their picture on during graduation. From there hang a right down Curtin Road past the Paterno library (he does give a ton of money), past the Palmer Museum of Art (pretty nice), and ultimately west towards the stadium. But first, you must, MUST, get the ice cream.
Yes, the ICE CREAM. Continuing along that road is the Food & Science (?) Building, home of the Penn State Creamery. You'll recognize it by the huge line of fans standing outside waiting for ice cream. Get it. It's worth it. I've stood outside during icy rain-soaked November MSU games for ice cream. The most popular is probably Peachy Paterno, but I recommend the Toasted Coconut. They probably have some autumn themed specialties ready for this weekend too like pumpkin or apple crisp. Mmmmm.
From there continuing west will take you right out to Beaver Stadium. Keep in mind that you won't be able to keep your car in the parking garage back in town so you may want to move it out at this point and start making your way to the stadium. Definitely want to make the move by about 2:30 - 3 on Saturday. If you drive back up this same route you can park just off of Curtin Road in a series of grass practice fields. This is not where the high-end tailgating takes place, but it's still fantastic. Lots of Satellite TVs, lots of good food-- definitely not as good as SEC tailgating, or the Bratfests I've seen in Ann Arbor, but great nonetheless. Typically I'll actually find a spot up here as soon as I get up there and walk back into town-- it's not that far. But, if you DO park here, keep an eye on your car--definitely want to take off the winged helmet magnets and flags, because otherwise they WILL be gone, of course.
At that point you're on the NW corner of the stadium-- probably already can see the Beave (hehe) and you're just a quick stroll past the soccer field to the stadium itself. So you can start up your own tailgate or perhaps look around for other maize (you'll see tons of blue, obviously). For other things to do, I'd suggest hitting the SW corner of the stadium. The Bryce Jordan Center is the indoor arena-- that's where the band will be, and typically lots of other fun stuff too. If I remember myself, it's also where visiting teams usually have a tent set up with merchandise and snacks. Lots of excitement around there, lots of energy. It's also where the big spenders get to tailgate-- it's always possible to run into ex-players there like Curt Warner, Brandon Short, even the occasional big name NFLer like Arrington. If you can make friends there you've done something.
At that point, time to get into the stadium-- it's pretty big, and when the weather's great it's solid. The opposing team section is usually in the NW corner of the stadium, right down below the food stand in the corner of the end zone. It's loud, of course. One thing I've always been impressed with at Beaver Stadium is the grass. I'd eat pudding off that grass, I swear it's that well-groomed.
As far as how we'll be treated as UM fans, I don't really know what to say. The first time I saw UM play there was 99, and I was afraid to wear just about anything-- and to my surprise there was maize and blue EVERYWHERE, all over town, all over the tailgating-- nobody seemed to mind! Then again, they were not a very good team in the late 90s (we won that one 19-0 thanks to the playmaking of Marquise Walker, of all people). Since then it seems like they usually let us go about our business-- keep in mind this is the closest game for the East Coast UM fan base, so on a typical year there's Michigan people everywhere.
Usually Penn State fans are pretty cool about opposing fans (with the exception of those striped overall-wearing Badger freaks who deserve what they get), but I really don't know what to expect this week. First of all, it's a late game which means people will party PRETTY hard before the game-- so they might get a bit obnoxious in the first quarter. What worries me is the streak-- it's been a LOOOOOOOOOONG time since we've beat them, and they expect to crush us, so they might get a bit cocky. On the other hand, if we actually BEAT them, and ruin their dream season as we have so many times before-- I would definitely suggest getting the hell outta Dodge as soon as possible. It'll get dicey for sure.
Otherwise that's about all I can offer. Gameday is a great time up there, but then again I guess I'm biased because I've always been up with friends and family. If you're into nightlife there's lots of great bars up and down College Ave., but do the right thing and take off the foam Wolverine head-- Win or loss it'll probably be a better night if you do.
I'll be up-- probably be wearing a white Hart jersey with a brown Adidas hat if anyone cares. Or maybe a blue Woodson jersey. I actually DO have a blue #60 UM Jersey (long story, and no, it doesn't involve Moosman), but the thing is just too damn big, so I probably won't wear it. But if I do, I'm sure I'll be the only one so if you see a maize #60 weaving through the crowd be sure to give me a 'Go Blue.'
As for the game-- I'm not expecting anything. I haven't been out to the House, so I'd just like to see McGuffie break one in person.
There is a site (http://www.nationalsportsrankings.com) where you can create a fantasy matchup between two teams in the present or past era and the game is simulated and a score and statistics are generated. I ran a trial of 1,000 games for each of the remaining games on the schedule and recorded the scores and amount of Michigan wins. Using the amount of Michigan wins, I calculated the “win rate” or the statistical percentage for the probability of a Michigan win in a given instance based on the results of the 1,000 trials ran (This was done by taking the amount of Michigan wins divided by 1000 x 100 for a percentage) . (You can run 25 trials at a time and it gives you the scores along with the average score and the number of wins for each team). The results were as follows:
* Home field is taken into consideration.
Michigan – 15.3
Penn State – 31.625
Win Rate: 3.8%
Michigan – 26.6
Michigan State – 24.8
Win Rate: 58.0%
Michigan - 23
Purdue – 26.1
Win Rate: 38.5%
Michigan – 25.325
Minnesota – 25.79487
Win Rate: 47.2%
Michigan – 25.975
Northwestern – 23.125
Win Rate: 62.7%
Michigan – 14.875
Ohio State – 29.175
Win Rate: 6.6%
I also did 1,000 trials for the Utah game for reference and comparison.
Michigan – 16.675
Utah – 24.45
Win Rate: 21.4%
This is my first time; so try to be kind.
I have had the following thoughts on my mind since the ND game, and like a pimple, it’s time to squeeze and purge this unsightly issue from me. I just don’t know if I am able to convey my thoughts on paper as I see it in my mind. So without further ado…I will attempt to make comparisons, regarding this team and the 2008 football season. The most important ideas of this post, is to remind you, the fan of how important you are to the growth of this team. This team needs the adversity and the suffering that comes with defeat, and well …being just down-right dysfunctional. It is the only thing that will draw the team together as a cohesive and functional unit (IMHO), this also includes our fan base.
In 1983 I served in the Marine Corp (I know...I know... old, huh); to include being part of a peace keeping mission to the country of Lebanon. Our mission was to train, protect and guide this tiny little nation to self governance, in short creating a non-dysfunctional country. We had our downs during this mission (i.e. Marine barracks bombing; Losing 300+ Marines and Sailors) and in the end we sadly failed; but why you might ask. The Marine Corp has never been a dysfunctional military unit, but the country we were supporting and training was (Still is) because (IMHO) the majority didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to hang in there when the going got tough. Whoever is to be blamed, felt and decided it just wasn’t worth it, even with the tremendous sacrifices already given. Regardless of your view on nation building, we made a promise to help them along as a country; promises are not to be taken lightly. It’s a simple contract between parties. Similarly; if you are a true and faithful wolverine fan; we have made a promise (contract) to help them, support them (i.e. cheering, reducing our negative attitude/views to a murmur, watching them play even if it hurts, looking forward to our future, etc…). I realize we the fan base has suffered over the last five games, no doubt about it. Keep in mind; the players are suffering and have suffered the most, and as funny as it may seem, they still believe in themselves, the coaches and the system. Where as we; the non-playing supporters of this team have begun to waver. I truly believe there are better days ahead, but only if we believe in them…All of them as a whole. As much of clichés as this is; “it’s as simple as never quitting on the team”.
I was listening to Detroit Sports radio for the first time on iTunes
today (I live in San Diego), and between talking about the Lions trade
they were putting Rich Rod on blast like nothing I have ever seen. They
were ruthlessly roasting his ass for his poor performance this season.
Of all the callers calling in there was only one guy who attempted to
stick up for RRod, and honestly this guy's argument was poorly
presented, appeared weak, and made him look ignorant.
disheartening. I am a fan of RRod and I believe he can do it, but it
looks like he is under serious fire in Michigan. I don't make
judgements anymore or open my mouth on the issue because I have learned
the hard way how idiotic Sunday morning quarterback fans are. In 2003 I
expected, as a Michigan fan, that UM would have a legitimate shot at a
NC. I stomached the loss to Oregon believing they still had a shot, but
when they lost to Iowa it was a backbreaker for me. In my drunken
stupor following the game, I did the stupidest thing I have ever done
as a fan, let alone one of the stupidest things I have ever done
period. I hastily looked up the UM Board of Regents online and sent
them an email. I COPIED EVERY ONE OF THEM. The subject of this email
was "Fire Coach John Carr." I. shit. you. not. In my haste and stupor,
I messed up the name of our head coach. One of the regents actually
responded, copying every one of the other regents, basically correcting
me, sticking up for Lloyd, and justifying their actions in the most
eloquent and cordial way possible. It was mortifying when I realized
what I had done. The Internet, both a blessing and a curse...
There is a lesson to be learned here. That lesson is that at least 80 -
95 percent of fans just need to shut the hell up because they have no
clue what they are talking about. They do not attend practices. They do
not personally know, or even talk to, the players. Most don't even do
anything more than watch a game on Saturday, and even that is done with
little understanding of the fundamentals of what is going on in those
games. It is one of the easiest things in the world to criticize
others, especially after the fact. As fans, we need to remember this.
There should be standards and expectations for any coach at Michigan,
but in the same respect, excercising diligence and restraint before
criticizing these coaches is absolutely necessary. That is all.
I meant to get an account before the weekend, but ran out of time. I videotape and take pictures for the toledo
marching band, and becasue of this i get to be in the press box for
part of every game the band is at. I have been in toledo's press box,
the cincinatti bengals box, Bowling green and now Michigan. I've been goin to michigan games
since 1994 and have been to at least one game every year since then, so
getting into the pressbox is probably the most exciting thing iv'e
experienced at the stadium (next to going down the tunnel, which i also
did at this game). Watching the the game from the field is an awesome experience, one that i will soon not forget. watching the game from the top is just as exciting. I was reallly torn in this game, rooting for michigan all my life, and going to school at toledo, it kinda sucks. I did however wear both michigan and toledo shirts at the game, to keep the band director happy. This is the part that i wanted to get out before the game but FWIW, i'llput it in now:
You can't look past toledo
We beat pitt a few years ago, destroyed utep and jordan palmer at the gmac bowl, beat kansas in overtime at home (who was supposed to go to the natilanl championship that next year, people seem to forget what happen a year prior) and we almost beat a ranked fresno state.We lost to arizona, FIU, and ball state. we haven't scored an offensive touchdown in 10 quarters, we were SHUT OUT by ball state.
We won because we aren't consistent. no one knows if we are on or off. you have to play us like we are actually a competition. and our kicker is pretty good too
This season reminds me of one of those books where the author attempts to bully readers with one gruesome plot twist after another, until you give up on a happy resolution and just pray the story only gives the characters a merciful end. As is my policy with such novels, I defiantly skipped to the end of the The Rebuilding Year to see how it ends...
"After torching Michigan for a total of 387 yards -- 180 on the ground -- and scoring all four OSU touchdowns, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor revealed to reporters that he decided to be a Buckeye months before signing day, but was urged by coaches to hold off his commitment in order to keep Michigan from pulling in a Plan B.
...[skip part of article replaying key Pryor scores]...
INJURY NOTES: Running back Sam McGuffie (arterial cruciate ligament) did not play, and is not expected back until late next season. D-lineman Brandon Graham (leg amputated) was on the sidelines in a wheelchair providing encouragement to his teammates. Strength and Conditioning coach Mike Barwis was back with the team after a four-week hiatus to attend a court-mandated sensitivity training seminar. Quarterback Steven Threet returned from a shoulder injury that sidelined him since the Toledo game, but was replaced by Nick Sheridan after two plays in which Threet was in obvious pain. Defensive backs Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko did not return after a 1st quarter collision that led to Ohio State's first touchdown.
Michigan players wore maize wrist bands and dedicated the game to Shavodrick Beaver and Tate Forcier, two highly regarded Michigan commits who are suffering from nondescript upper body injuries after a tragic accident Thursday when a Beaver canoe carrying Forcier and Virginia Tech commit Kevin Newsome crash-landed on Beaver's pool deck in Wichita Falls, Texas. The Wolverines held a get-well-soon service for all three players on Thursday, similar to the service held two weeks ago for the entire offensive line, which sustained lower body injuries in a freak water balloon accident earlier this month.
Dammit! Seriously, who told Arthur Miller he could write this?!?