Hey group, Posting my first Diary, and since I just got back from my first trip to the Big House, I guess it's fitting. A little about myself, 32 years old, I live and have lived in Arkansas all my life, went to a really small school so I never got the chance to play organized football, I played Basketball, and got caught up in all the Fab Five hoopla, and The first Michigan football game I can Remember watching is the '91 Notre Dame game, where Desmond Made "The Catch". From that Point on I followed desmond's Heisman winning season, and I've bled Maize and Blue.
So after so many years I finally made a trip to the Big House. First I want to say Ann Arbor is an amazing place. Just from what I saw, it just feels like an awesome place to spend a weekend, We had an awesome time. The BIg House was everything I thought it would be, and more. I'll definately be headed back next year (and every year I can) to see it once the renovations are complete, but besides the Purdue fan's migrane inducing rendition of their fight song over and over, just being in Michigan Stadium and seeing the players warming up, and to get to see both marching bands and to see the Wolverines run through and hit the Banner was a dream come true. The fans around my were awesome, some of the students in our section even offered me a swig from their flask. I thought The Crowd was awesome. For all you hear about "The quietest 100 K people you'll ever see", there were times I had to yell so My buddy could hear what I was saying. Just the fact that I was there seeing the Team hit the Banner, and singing The Victors was awesome, a dream come true.
As for the game Itself, I can say I am encouraged that we did show improvement in alot of ways. Stonum and Hemmingway both looked Great in the return game, Stonum is quietly having an awesome season. Minor showed just how good a Back he can be, and how much he means to this team when He's healthy. Forcier and the Recievers had a solid game, Roundtree showed why RR puts such an emphasis on recruiting that slot position. His Offense opens up so much for that position, and when they step over to cover it, then it opens everything else up even more. Tate still needs to make quicker decisions with the ball, but he made some big plays on the called runs, and probably had his best game since the ND game.
The Defense, Outside of BG, Roh (LOVE that Kid), and Warren.... well we all know.
I posted this as a response to another thread, but I will add it here too, as for Danny Hope, I just want to thank him. After the game, I had my doubts about the transition, about the coaching staff, and about the future of the program. Nothing has really changed, but such a douche bag move has me back directly behind this Team and it's coaches and players, just to see them turn this thing around, and after we beat the dog out of what will still be a bad Purdue team next year, maybe RR can walk across the field and tell that Jackass "Thanks for what you did". I know that as a UM fan to look forward to the day that we can beat Mighty Purdue should be a sad day, and It is, But that is where we are at right now, I guess.
All in all besides the result of the game, The trip and experience was awesome, and definately something I'll be doing at least once a year from now on. If anyone has any "Must Visit" Spots or something an outof towner like myself should definately check out Please feel free to let me know.
This morning I'm listening to the ESPN college football podcast on the way to work, and at the very tail end something jumped out at me.
Ivan Maisel and Gene Wojciechowski were the two doing the show, and at the end of the program they were discussing which schools had overrated or underrated gameday experiences on their campuses.
Gene Wojo's "overrated" was Michigan. In short, when describing Ann Arbor on a gameday, he said, "Eh."
(It's the October 26th show, strangely listed second from the top).
Usually both of these guys give Michigan high marks when it's due, but perhaps this turn of events is due to the Rich Rod era??
He acknowledged that the Big House is cool to be in, but he claimed there was very little going on around the campus and the stadium. I'm not sure what game he was at, but he must have been at the wrong stadium.
Is this a wake-up call to the staleness of Ann Arbor on gameday, or a time when all us Michigan fans have to spell out all the great things that go on around town. Let's hear some great gameday stories and show Gene Wojo that we're just as good as LSU, Auburn, and all the other schools he mentions!
If all you want to do is "watch" the game, probably the best spot would be sitting in front of your big screen HD TV with the DVR.
I always prefer to actually be at the Big House. I'm sure I could come up with my own list of 100 reasons but it is always more interesting to see what the MGoBlog Community thinks.
To make it a little more interesting, let's do this in kind of chronological order: pre-game first, followed by the game, half-time, and then post-game (but, of course, feel free to post ideas as they come to you).
#1: Tailgating with family and friends before the game. (Michigan football has definitely brought my family closer together and means I see family and friends more often than I would otherwise.)
#2: Arriving in the stadium early enough to see Michigan warmups.
#3: Watching the circle of
For those who are concerned and unaware, we do count attendance by sales. This is straight from Marty Bodnar, Director of Ticketing/Marketing, to whom I sent a (now) embarrassingly long email about saving the 100k attendance.
"Our announced attendance is based upon tickets sold. Since we are close to a sell out of this game, we are not in danger of dropping below 100,000. Thank you for your concern. Go Blue!"
So that's... a relief? I guess I wished we counted scanned tickets, though this has to be a lot easier to measure.
I probably don't need to inform anybody here that these are actually going on (see http://alumni.umich.edu/events/big-house-tours if you need details) but we went with a big crowd of friends yesterday afternoon for the 1pm tour.
In a word: DAMN.
In another word: GO.
Seriously. Pony up the $25 a head ($35 for non AAUM members) and get your ass there. It's an absolutely astounding experience. A primer for those who have not attended previous years, or those who might need a little convincing...
We showed up about 11:45 to a small crowd of people outside the entry to the Champion's Center. Mostly, it was an older crowd due to a group of 50th Anniversary Alums gathering for Homecoming. We checked in, and all had our seats in the same room that the Monday pressers are held. After a quick introduction, we were given a primer on stadium history by Dr. Soderstrom (see link above). When he was done speaking, we headed back outside and around to the gates leading to The Tunnel.
Yes, THAT tunnel. It's hard to overstate the emotions you get walking (or, yes, running) down that tunnel, past the "GO BLUE" painted overhead, with the field at first a small patch of green, growing ever larger until you burst out into the sunlight and the enormity of it all.
We were down on the field for... oh, probably a good half-hour or so, just running around, soaking in the sights and sounds and atmosphere, throwing passes, running for touchdowns, kicking field goals, punting, and taking lots and lots and lots of pictures. The field is well-seeded at both ends with footballs from the practice field, so there's no need to bring your own.
He'll probably never remember it, but the images of my not-quite-2-year-old son "scoring his first touchdown" at Michigan Stadium is seared into my brain forever, and it's wonderful. At one point, I asked him, "Do you know what this (place) is, buddy?" His response: "Go go go!" (Yeah, he hears daddy yell that at the TV a lot.) "Go Blue?" I asked him... "Go Boo!" Yeah, that's my boy.
After a while, we were all ushered back up the tunnel, and into the home locker room. We were met there by Jamie Morris and Chris Graham, who each spoke to us for a few minutes, and then fielded questions from the crowd. (Morris is apparently their regular former-player speaker, and he brings along whoever's available on a given day.) Once the questions were done, we had free reign to ask either of them questions one-on-one, or to try on the helmets, shoulder pads and jerseys they had laying around.
Overall, we were there for a little over 90 minutes, and could've hung around a bit longer if we'd wished. It was simply an incredible experience, and one that I heartily recommend to anyone young or old.
Feel free to peruse the pictures I took at http://www.billwilliams.us/gallery/v/bighousetour/, but I think this is my new desktop image...
If anybody wants full-res versions of any of the pics, just drop me a line, I'm happy to circulate them (all rights reserved, non-commercial use, yada yada.)
There has been a lot of discussion on the added noise level created by the stadium additions (which, even as an old-fogie fan I love, by the way!). However, After watching the first two 3:30 games on TV, I've really been struck by the shadows and how quickly it gets dark inside the stadium. I'm starting to wonder what effect this will have on the temperature in say...mid-November. I can certainly recall being at games in the past and freezing my ass off and praying for the sun to come out. Did anyone go to games last year (such as Northwestern) and notice a big difference?
(sorry if this was already discussed last year, I'm still relatively new to the MGoBlog family)