there would have to be some to wash away
A couple weeks ago, I put together a google map with all of the Michigan bars I'm aware of (and also everything from the spreadsheet that bouje has been maintaining.) The map is here.
Hopefully this will prevent the "where's the Michigan bar in Pittsburgh/Fresno/Topeka/wherever" threads that pop up every week, but if your favorite gameday hangout isn't on here, put it in the thread and let me know. I'll do my best to keep the map up to date.
My first game at the Big House was, like it is for many people, my freshman year. I’d grown up in a Michigan State house through the 90s, I was a Cubs fan, my high school football team went 0 and 9 my senior year. I was pretty accustomed to sports pain, or so I thought. Here I was coming to Michigan, the winningest football program and so things would be different. And for part of that game, watching from all the way up in Row 96, it looked like I was going to be right. Things didn’t quite go as planned in that game against Utah in 2008, and they didn’t go much better 6 years later, and as I sat in the upper concourse waiting out the rain delay I had a moment to reflect on where things have come since then and what has changed.
From a program standpoint, it’s hard to pin it. Is it the play calling? Is it lack of player development? Is it blown assignments? Lack of execution? A young line that’s still learning and has busts just often enough to make Gardner skittish? Is Gardner still living in fear of the ghosts of last season? And if so who could really blame him? Fortunately for me, that’s not an analysis I’ve undertaken to dissect. There are people much more qualified to speak on the state of the team and the staff than I.
From a fan experience, however, it’s lamentably easy to pin it. And after the third straight home game with a sub-sellout crowd, the students wanted those on the field to understand it as easily as we did. Immediately after the home attendance was announced (a 103k figure that no one around me believed was accurate for even a second) the students started a cheer. Quiet at first but soon growing to include much of Section 26 as well as surrounding sections.
“FI-RE BRAN-DON” clap clap clap clap clap “FI-RE BRAN-DON”…
In a game that will likely see some subset of the coaching staff placed in the crosshairs, the students wanted to make it abundantly clear that they had one person in particular they want gone. And to be fair, I’m, ordinarily one of the last to jump on the “fire someone” bandwagon. I was in the “give RichRod one more year” camp. Until today I was in the “we’re not going to fire Hoke” camp, and truthfully, I’m still not quite ready to declare that the sky is falling. Basically since the get-go, however, I’ve wanted Brandon gone. As much as we harp on “this is Michigan” and “it’s gonna be Michigan again” and every other thing about “being Michigan” every single game, the athletic department continues to demonstrate that it doesn’t have a clue what it means to “be Michigan”.
Up until the rain delay, I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t have much content to fill this out with. — The real people seats above the student section stayed empty the whole game #ThanksDaveBrandon. The student section by and large was on time #ActuallyThanksMichaelProppe. And the student section stayed mostly intact until we were forced to leave our seats. — Then the content flood began. We walked from Row A all the way to upper concourse to take shelter. We talked with friends from other seating groups and tried to take stock of the weather and how long a delay we were expecting. As the time wore on, and lightning kept flashing, and Grapentine did his level best to make each further delay somewhat interesting, we were getting tired and thirsty, and looked for a spot to sit down. By this point there were maybe 60 people in the upper concourse. Maybe. And the athletic department had already literally locked up folding chairs. Locked them to the fence so that people could not sit down in them during a 2.5 hour delay. Trying to sit somewhere, we asked if we could sit in some of the chairs that were currently going unused. The event staff person obliged and unlocked them for us and we started to sit down. No sooner did we unfold the first chair then we were told by Jim, another event staffer working in the upper concourse, that we could not use those chairs. We asked why. He said it was a handicapped section and—unfathomably, despite the 20 or so people already sitting in chairs much like these, despite them being unused, and despite them being unlocked expressly so that we could use them—we were not allowed to.
This is what the Michigan fan experience has become with Brandon at the helm—a, probably otherwise kind, old man telling the kids they can’t sit down. It’s not that they’re evil or poorly intentioned, it’s that at a fundamental level they just don’t get it anymore, or in some cases they never did. The athletic department has prioritized branding over winning, profits over performance, gimmicks over actually addressing issues raised, and as a result has driven the students—much of the lifeblood of the stadium experience—away. I recall a quote from the athletic department a year or so ago regarding the severe drop in student ticket sales where it was asserted that the students not buying tickets were the ones unlikely to show up anyways. Keeping an eye on the section above the student section through the first three games of this season it has become readily apparent that no one is going to show up for those seats anyways. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get students to take those seats back? I guess we’re trying that with $40 single game tickets that students are unsurprisingly not jumping through hoops for. I know his years at Dominos likely didn’t prepare him for husbandry metaphors but the adage “you can shear a sheep many times but you can only skin him once” comes to mind, and Dave just doesn’t know how to shear.
Sam Webb mentioned this morning that Michigan is 123 ouf of 125 D-1/FBS teams in net punting. It made me curious about the rest of the special teams stats. They are below.
Kick return defense: 47th (19.25 yards per return)
Kick returns: Tied at 87th (19.00 yards per return)
Net punting: 123rd (28.9 yards per punt) (in your face, Tulane and San Jose St.!)
Punt returns: Tied at 51st (9.8 yards per return)(this includes Gedeon's punt block return)
Blocked kicks allowed: Tied at 84th (1)
Special teams efficiency: 103rd (-2.22)
FG percentage: Wile is 110th (57.1%). I'm not sure where Michigan is as a team.
And to end on some high notes:
Blocked kicks: Tied at 18th (1)(this is the App. State punt block)
Blocked punts: 4th (1)
Blocked punts allowed: Tied at 1st with much of the country (0)(We're No.1! We're No. 1!)
I couldn't find a "special teams turnovers" list, so I can't say where Michigan's non-recovery of Miami's popped up kickoff puts the Wolverines with respect to the rest of the country. I also couldn't find a "number of players used per kick/punt" list, so I don't know how many other teams sometimes use ten or fewer guys.
As a long time Lions fan I am a bit surprised at what I am reading on Brian's main post today in the comments section. It seems like quite a few fans have reached the point of not even watching Michigan football games anymore. I am surprised by that because of my own condition which is even as my team sucks, AND I feel less and less emotion each year about those losses I still watch football because well... it is football. And its Michigan. I might know the outcome is doom but I still will watch.
Background: I've watched just about every Detroit Lions game (that was not blacked out) even in the darkest Matt Millen era. I've watched them in the 80s - the 90s - the 00s and the 10s. All with the same result. Mostly bad. I only mention that because if there is any franchise I can compare to modern UM it is the Lions. .. ONLY in terms of "no matter who the coaches are, who the players are, who the GM is - the product on the field is the same." Whatever we change, the end result is identical - that Lions football for 50 years and its UM football for the past 7.
I would think the average MGo poster is a fringe 5-10% of the UM fan base who is REALLY engaged with UM sports far more than the average UM fan. Hence I am shocked to see so many comments about not even bothering to watch the games. If this fringe 5-10% of the UM fan base doesnt even turn on the game anymore, I can only imagine what is happening to the greater fan base.
Am I just picking out the 10 people who make this comment or is this happening to a lot more of you? I get turning it off in disgust after ND goes up 28-0 but waking up each Saturday in fall and not even turning on the game? Gotta say it shocks me.
p.s. not judging you for doing so :) we all cope in different ways! And I admit to not watching a lot of basketball during the Ellerbe era but football and Michigan are intertwined.
I just finished watching today's press conferences. At one point Matisson almost broke down in answering a question about Hoke and the jawing on the sidelines. Matisson really went to bat for Coach Hoke today. I encourage everyone to watch the full video on the Mgoblue website. Previously I had professed that I was done with Brady Hoke but in listening to Mattison's responses today I have to say that I'm willing to go along a little further.These guys are certainly working hard. Let's see where we are at the end of season...
I was going to do a full writeup of Minnesota as I did last week with Utah (cliffhanger - I was much more doom than most), but it is besides the point. Generally you start a Minnesota offense preview with "they are going to run run run...then run more, then Mitch Leidner is going to throw a lot of bad passes. Some of which you will intercept." But Leidner sprained his MCL early this year, continued to play on it, and then suffered a toe injury. Based on who you believe this is anything from "turf toe" to "broken toe". For those who follow Nebraska football you know what this meant for Taylor Martinez last year - very bad things. Especially for QBs who run run run.
So in came RS FR Chris Streveler for last week's game vs baby seal. He completed 1 pass. In the 4th quarter. (7 attempts) This making Mitch Leidner and his 48% completion percentage seem postively Dan Marino like.
Minnesota's offense at this point is David Cobb running a lot. When that does not work they go to..... David Cobb running a lot. And when he is not running Chris Streveler will run a lot. And that's the offense. TCU figured out that if you stop Cobb you win... they held Cobb to 41 yards on 15 carries and Minnesota lost big.
UM's defense obviously matches up well with this offense. It might need to score 7-14 pts as well. So that's one side of the ball.
As for the UM offense vs Gopher defense side... welp. I expect yardage to be gained in between the 35 and 35. We may even visit the red zone versus a very pedestrian defense. We will turn the ball over somewhere. Maybe often. The only team Minnesota has played from a Big 5 conference is TCU which gained 427 yards (258 pass, 169 ground) and scored 30. So we should probably gain 427 yards and score 13. I expect a heavy dose of Green/Smith in this game because (a) why risk turning the ball over and (b) Minnesota is not going to drive the ball 80 yards on us.
We will not discuss special teams. I do expect to see 11 men on the field on all plays this week as UM thinks out of the box.
This and Northwestern seem like the only 2 sorta gimmees left on the schedule. This presumes Berkley Edwards does not go off for 200 yards and 3 TDS in some sort of message from the football gods.