Between two Michigan fans:
"Yeah, I've been to a bowl game once. It was the Rose Bowl, and we lost to USC. No, not that year...nope...yeah, wait no...wow, that's before my time...y'know, the most recent one...oh, wait, that game, yeah.
Great goalies past. An emailer brings up a name before my time:
As an alum who graduated in 1979, I would nominate Robbie Moore as a great UM goalie. If you think Hunwick is tiny, just check out the vitals and (lack of) padding on Moore. Robbie was one of the first entertainers at Michigan, earning cheers from the student section when he would hop atop the goal during timeouts and just sit there, swinging his legs back and forth.
His pro career appears to just be incredibly unlucky. I'm guessing he might have had a significant NHL stay if his rookie experience in the playoffs for the Flyers had gone just a bit better. The Flyers had to replace Parent, and Robbie just got on the wrong side of Pete Peeters and Pelle Lindbergh.
Yost wasn't tricked out in those days and UM was a solid program (made the frozen four in 76, I believe) but not a consistently great one. But Moore was a blast.
I think Hunwick should do the sit-on-the-goal thing. Probably tougher these days when the thing can come out from underneath you.
Besides stating the obvious, could you please explain the difference between four-year scholarships and one-year renewable scholarships? I have never heard of a coach just flat out cutting a guy for performance (publicly anyway). Even Saban gives his kids "medical" hardships instead of sending them on their merry way. Also, what happens in disciplinary cases? Do coaches still have the power to kick an athlete off the team for violating rules? And what would happen in cases like Tony Posada's last year (coming in out of shape)? Thanks in advance.
While you haven't heard about players getting flat-out cut for performance, they do in ways subtle and not. Certain transfers in search of playing time are undertaken with the understanding that not only playing time but a scholarship will be scarce in future years if the kid chooses to stick it out. St. Saban Memorial Hospital can only be pushed so far before it becomes ludicrous…
…and at some point after it becomes ludicrous the NCAA notices. Every year Saban has to shuffle some kids out the door. We never know who they are because they have no leverage and they don't want to rock the boat in case South Alabama is turned off. If those players suddenly have leverage we'll find out who they are (or more likely Saban will just continue to offer one year deals; at least then people going into their Alabama experience are explicitly warned).
As to what the functional differences are between one- and four-year scholarships, that is an implementation issue I haven't seen details about. Clearly there has to be some ability for coaches to cut players who fail out or sucker-punch a hockey player somewhere other than Michigan State. What those are have not been made clear. Given this post on the Bylaw Blog, I don't think that's a problem with publicity. It seems like no one is certain of the enforcement mechanism:
Key to the Big Ten’s oversigning limit is evaluating why scholarships are ending and judging whether schools should be able to replace that student-athlete with a new recruit. The stability and homogeneousness of the Big Ten’s membership has made this workable. Whether it remains workable in a larger conference with more fluid and diverse membership is questionable. And the idea of the NCAA running such an office sounds like a trap for the Association.
Without this evaluation, the oversigning limit is meaningless because a coach can simply clear out enough scholarships for whatever size class he wants by nonrenewing more current players before signing day.
This is the current situation. In the future, John Infante suggests multi-year scholarships would reduce the need for such an office. This would be the way things play out:
To clear roster space, a coach would have to find a permissible reason to cancel a scholarship during the period of award and complete the appeal process all prior to signing day. Adding in an exception if a coach grants permission to contact every Division I institution (an “unconditional release”) or pairing this oversigning limit with a transfer rule that granted a great deal of freedom to a student-athlete whose scholarship was cancelled would complicate matters, but would also discourage more roster turnover.
That transfer bit is a great idea—when a school voluntarily terminates a player's scholarship he should be able to transfer anywhere he wants and play immediately—but the definition of "permissible reason" is left unaddressed. Presumably academic washouts are amongst those. What level of legal trouble would be? MIPs? Traffic tickets? Minor possession beefs leading to probation?
As far as Posada goes, he left of his own volition and Michigan would likely be able to get his scholarship back. If he decided to stay and take advantage of his four-year scholarship he would have to participate in team activities, something he may not want to or be capable of doing. At that point the mutually beneficial solution would be to find a medical reason he should not participate. Like "I am very heavy."
Is that a satisfactory answer? No, not really. The NCAA has a lot of issues to hammer out. Again, virtually all of this would be solved by replacing the roster maximum with a yearly cap on new scholarship players.
Personal relationship with bowls.
With Michigan getting back to a BCS bowl this past season, I found
myself wondering about your personal stance on attending bowl games.
Considering your (justified) disdain for rich old dudes in yellow
blazers, I guess I always assumed that you avoided giving your
hard-earned cash to such operations. I certainly could have
overlooked it, but I don't recall you discussing your attendance at
the Sugar Bowl or any other bowl game since mgoblog's inception.
Then, in a recent UV column, you stated: "I'm probably not going to Dallas this year because I can get a generic NFL stadium experience at many bowl games."
I assume this was a tongue-in-cheek comment, but I figured the long
and boring football offseason is a good time to discuss this stuff:
(1) Which bowl games (Michigan or non-Michigan) have you attended?
The only bowl I have been to is the 2007 Rose Bowl. (The one against USC that was 3-3 at halftime and then ended 32-18.)
(2) Under what circumstances, if any, would you attend a Michigan
"bowl" game? National Championship game only (maybe only at the Rose
Bowl)? National Semi-Final right next door at Ford Field in Detroit
(assuming the system evolves/devolves that way)? Insight Bowl in
Tempe vs. Oklahoma (assuming you're already stuck in the desert on an
ill-fated family vacation, and tickets are $10)?
I'll be interested to hear you discuss some scenarios and your
rationale. I assume you attended, or at least really wanted to
attend, the 1998 Rose Bowl - but if you tell us you've attended every
bowl game since the mid-'90s there might be a collective "head
asplode" moment. Thanks for your work on the blog.
I strongly considered going to the Sugar Bowl but the timing did not work out well. The people I usually do these things with had work issues, my wife couldn't go because she is currently an adjunct at Michigan and classes started the day after. I had the option of flying down for one full day and thought that was not a good expenditure of money and time, especially because I'm expected to put out a ton of content in the vicinity of a football game. Without those annoying restrictions I probably would have taken the opportunity to hit up New Orleans.
The Rose Bowl moves the needle. I haven't gone to many in the past because I was an idiot ('98), a child (pre-'98) or being frugal (2004, 2005) just after exiting college. In the future I'll probably go to most Rose Bowls.
I can't imagine wanting to go to any other bowl. The problem is the locations. I have created a diagram to demonstrate.
(Los Angeles is debatable but the Rose Bowl is the Rose Bowl.) I'm not the kind of person who finds happiness wandering around somewhere screaming "OH MY GOD IT'S WARM." I would go to a bowl game in Denver or Santa Fe because I could pack in some skiing around it—the Frozen Four in Denver was fantastic—but there aren't any Big Ten bowls in ski destinations. Northern California is the closest place that actually has a game. Unfortunately, the Big Ten's relentless insistence on making the cities the least appealing ones possible means the bonus parts of your trip are going to Epcot Center or… uh… whatever they do in Tampa. Orson says that's do meth and strip. Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Scottsdale are the Applebees of American cities. I can't think of any reason on earth to go to Houston or Dallas. It's bad when you lose San Antonio and your bowl destinations get worse.
My ideal bowl locations are in order: Denver, San Francisco, New York, Santa Fe, [NARRATOR CONTINUES FOR HOURS], a Vietnam WAR POW prison, a Honduran prison, Guantanamo Bay, Orlando. Since available destinations will forever be non-overlapping Venn diagram circles, it's the Rose or nothing unless Michigan makes a title game or gets sucked into the Sugar Bowl again.
Am I wrong about this? Is Orlando a fun place to go? Please advise.
Retro lingo revival.
I was reading this article about a "cyclorama" of the Battle of Gettysburg, and something caught my attention. Basically, a "cyclorama" was a giant painting (this one was four hundred feet long) displayed on the interior of a rotunda. The Gettysburg one was considered a masterpiece of the form and was hugely popular. Naturally, that success inspired copycats:
These pirated works were known as "buckeyes," a pejorative commonly applied to things of inferior quality and, in the art world, used for painters and their works aimed at the commercial market.
Surely this excellent 19th century definition could use a 21st century revival. For example, say you got a new phone that wasn't as good as your old phone. Instead of saying "It's a real piece of crap", you'd say "It's a real buckeye". Or instead of saying "my cheap sandals broke", you'd say "my buckeye sandals broke". Bing is a buckeye, as is ESPN the Magazine, examples abound. It'll take some getting used to, but I think we can bring this back.
As I was saying, the Big Ten's bowl destinations are all buckeyed up.
Between two Michigan fans:
"Yeah, I've been to a bowl game once. It was the Rose Bowl, and we lost to USC. No, not that year...nope...yeah, wait no...wow, that's before my time...y'know, the most recent one...oh, wait, that game, yeah.
Miami is not an Applebee city even though it is in Florida. The 99 season game against Bama would have been a good one to go to.
Even though I am clearly biased, Scottsdale is not the Applebee's of the United States. Its an incredibly poche resort town for the weatlhy. The insight bowl is in tempe though and the fiesta is in glendale and can understand said beef with these Phoenix suburbs.
But both of those places are plenty close to Scottsdale, especially Tempe, so you can stay in Scottsdale and only leave to go to the game.
Most people who go to the Rose Bowl don't stay in Pasadena. It's not as cool as other parts. Many people stay by the beach, then head to Pasadena for the game.
I can vouch for the truth of many fans staying at/near the beach, having done so when I didn't live in LA, and having had to deal with drunk Wisconsin and Oregon fans (is it redundant to say "drunk Wisconsin fans"?) stumbling all about the Strand and Pier Plaza in Hermosa Beach last month.
I was in Tempe for work a few years ago, and thought it was actually a fun place to spend a weekend. It's not a college town in the same way Ann Arbor is, but does have some of the trappings you'd hope for -- a few decent non-generic restaurants, a few microbrews, a strip with a few bookstores and LA Apparel-type places. The rest of the Phoenix/Scottsdale area didn't do much for me, but I thought Tempe itself was pretty solid.
Orlando, on the other hand, did absolutely nothing for me. Though I guess if I had young kids I might feel differently.
Thanks for the Robbie Moore reference. I remember him as well. I remember him sitting on the goal while the refs tried to sort out a fight on the other side of the ice. I remember him building a little wall of snow in front of the goal, and the ref telling him to get rid of it.
He was what they called "colorful" back then, but he was also probably the best goalie Michigan had in the 50-year gap between Willard Ikola and Marty Turco. His numbers don't look that impressive today, but hockey was a very different game in the mid '70s.
I was in Orlando for three days or so for the shuttle launch this past spring/summer. It is a pretty decent time. You can go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter/Universal Studios for a day. You can go to Epcot for a day. And then you can just drink for a day. It's not like you're going there to live. You're just exploring the city, there'll enough touristy things to do.
I was also in Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl, and while it wasn't as great of a bowl location as New Orleans, it was still a good time. Game day is spent tailgating and going to the game and crying as was the case last year. And then you also have New Year's Eve to knock off a day on the trip. You can also spend New Year's Day at the bar watching bowl games if your game isn't on that day.
Going to bowl games is just a good excuse to take another vacation in a location that you wouldn't normally go to and show your support for something that you do love. And yes, I will be in Dallas this September and exploring the Ft Worth area.
The fact that one of three things you list for Orlando is Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the fact that everything you listed for Jacksonville you could do in literally every city in the country, I wouldn't call this a glowing endorsement.
I have a couple friends on the team and they told me being in Jacksonville was surreal because it was a ghosttown. They'd walk out of their hotel during the day and there would be zero people around.
Downtown Jacksonville is a ghost town, no people, just tumble weed rolling down the street. The players would not have had a chance to do many of the things in and around Jax, but there are places to go in St. Augustine, Amelia Island or even South Georgia. Culture is not front and center here, but if you look you can find it.
And if you don't like Harry Potter, check out Spider-Man.
Ummm...you have something against the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? It is incredible. I'm sorry if you're not a fan of the books, but it is amazing to see that place. And secondly, I'm not saying that any of the locations are any better than another location, just that if it's some place you have never been, it's nice to enjoy a new vacation spot.
As you noted, though, the list he gave for Jacksonville is true for most cities, both in Florida and beyond. The death of the unique American city is a story that doesn't get nearly enough play. Even "cool" cities like NO and Denver are more generic cities with a couple of unique elements.
I don't know, a lot of cities have more to offer than "tailgating before the game, celebrating NYE on NYE, and drinking" even if it's doing a lot of that same stuff but in a way you can't a lot of other places.
I live in Los Angeles, which is by new means the coolest city in the country. However, if you're coming from Michigan (which I was at one point) there are restaurants and attractions that you can't get a lot of places.
But LA is not the only city like this, it just so happens that the cities where Michigan will likely play their bowls (if they aren't in a BCS bowl) are pretty boring. I disagree with Brian on the Phoenix-area bowls, that's not a bad city. But who wants to go to Jacksonville or Tampa?
Ybor City's alright for a night or two. A lot better than sitting in a fucking traffic jam in fucking LA. (It's possible that I watched Michigan lose a Rose Bowl the last two times I went to LA, but I hated LA before that anyway.)
If you judge a city based on restaurants and night life, Jacksonville is very run of the mill. But it does have the oldest city in America 20 minutes away.
Which is in places like Florida, and after you've seen the walk of stars or the Hollywood sign, or Gruaman's Theatre, or the usually Hollywood stuff...what are these long list of things to do in LA that you can't do in "every major city in the US"? Or at least Chicago, or New York, and have things a lot less spread out? It's a fine city, but considering your objection was to doing stuff you can do anywhere...I'm not sure LA qualifies as that unique a destination point.
New Year's Eve is often a big part of the equation for most bowls we go to. And if the choice is Ann Arbor with all the students gone, or almost any of those cities, it's a pretty easy choice.
Think of the strip malls, my friend! The strip malls!
The Cyclorama used to be free... you go in and it's just this overwhelming barrage of imagery surrounding you and about forty to seventy other people, half of which are old dudes who are hell bent on proving that they know more about Civil War military tactics than the other guy by spending ridiculous amounts of money on replica shell casings at Army surplus stores. They're like those guys in the row behind you who claim to be able to recognize plays according to the center's feet, stuff like that.
As for the Cyclorama-- as an art guy, I'll actually say it's kind of a lost cause. Paintings are not only about technique and subject matter-- they're also about composition. What angles are created as the Nude Descends the Staircase? What negative space is activated by the Mona Lisa's powerful triad? How does Caillebotte dissect the picture plane?
Well, the Cyclorama is impossible to look at this way, simply because there's no way to look at even half of it at once-- it's just this endless plane of gore and horses and dudes with awesome mustaches. When you get in there all those Civil War gurus ooh and ahh over it like the Nazi archaelogist in Raiders of the Lost Ark... but as all-encompassing as it was, I have to admit I was, like, 'meh.' It's so overwhelming that you kinda get bored really quickly.
Nowadays you have to pay extra to go in and look at it, which is ridiculous because everywhere you look in that town there's murals and billboards and ads featuring soldiers riding horses with bayonets drawn or sabres stuck through their neck. Good clean American fun.
So I'd say save your money. Go on the ghost tour. Or the outlets. Seriously, just get out on the battlefield-- that's where it can still be fun and profound, especially on the South side. Wheatfield. Devil's Den. Little Round Top.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming about The Joy of Packed Powder Skiing by Brian Cook.
"As for the Cyclorama-- as an art guy, I'll actually say it's kind of a lost cause. "
Awesome. Whether intentional or not, awesome.
Nazi archeologist? Are you talking about Belloq? He was French, and not so much Nazi as mercenary.
Having lived in a college town associated with a lesser football school (Indiana) and attended a lesser football school (Purdue), I've had experience with several bowl cities, although I can't provide valuable information about any of them.
Birmingham, no longer in the rotation: sucked. (Freezing rain on New Year's Eve. WTF? This is the South. Also, everything was closed after the game. srsly. I don't care that it was 1986.)
Atlanta: probably outstanding, but I went with my dad, my brother and a friend, so we didn't really experience the Atlanta night life.
Memphis: probably decent, but see above.
Tampa: um, not too bad, I think. Not sure. This was also around New Year's, so there was a lot of drinking involved. I remember most of the first half, some of the second, and a nice little bar somewhere. This was not with my dad.
In short, if you can drink there, it's probably tolerable. If your team has just blown a significant lead in part because the head coach cannot stop chasing the 2s (something highly unlikely to happen with Hoke), drinking is a requirement, so any city would be OK. Being in a city where it's significantly above freezing is a Good Thing as well.
ah, that must have been the 1998 outback bowl against. i was getting updates while on the golf course by the rose bowl in pasadena. couldn't believe purdue blew that one.
i very happy, though, a few hours later with the nat'l title victory. would the next chuck woodsen please stand up.
Which particular B1G bowl is played in Scottsdale?
The Insight bowl is played at Sun Devil stadium, which is the home stadium for ASU in Tempe. Gigantic college area. Lots of young people.
The Fiesta bowl is played in Glendale, which is a suburb of Phoenix. Glendale is near many of the retirement communities in western Phoenix.
Listing Scottsdale as the location for the Insight and Fiesta bowls is like listing Gross Pointe as the location for Michigan stadium. Brian, you gotta get your facts right if you are going to post about bowl locations.
Scotttsdale has/had significant ties to the Fiesta Bowl committee. I think teams stay there and the hotel rooms the schools commit to filling are generally located there. It's a perfectly acceptable description for where the Insight bowl requires you to travel to.
The desert botanical garden in Scottsdale is really cool. Arcosanti and Taliesin West aren't far either. I enjoyed my time in Scottsdale quite a bit.
Miami is just tremendous. The Jackie Gleason is a beautiful venue and the talent around South Beach is unparalleled - and by talent I mean boobs.
More like mentioning Ypsilanti is the location of Michigan Stadium. Scottsdale borders Tempe and from Sun Devil Stadium to downtown Scottsdale is a very short drive up Scottsdale Road.
There are many, many places to go in Scottsdale (and the nearby locations on Camelback by the Biltmore). One of my favorite cities and if Michigan ever plays in the Fiesta Bowl I would certainly go.
As a side note: I have been to two bowl games where Michigan lost to the eventual National Champion: the Holiday Bowl loss to Brigham Young and the Rose Bowl loss to Washington.
I went to the Michigan-Bama game at the Orange Bowl after the 99 season (my senior year), and it was a lot of fun. I am probably a little biased since it was my first (and only) bowl game, but I had no complaints about it. Highlights include:
- wearing shorts the whole time
- NYE on South Beach
- waiting at the hotel for the bus to the stadium and watching my friend almost get into a fight with Tom Brady's uncle after my friend wouldn't shut up about how much he hated Brady and wished Henson had started all year
- chatting with the Bama fans before the game
- sitting in the end zone for every one of Michigan's scores and the missed extra point by Bama
a better class of friends.
There isn't a lot to do in Tampa if you are trying to be frugal, but staying in the Clearwater-St Pete area gets you a nice beach. The weather is, of course, much better in Florida than Michigan in January, and that alone makes it a nice vacation or weekend.
Staying in the city of Tampa, though, would definitely suck, unless you are a fan of cookie-cutter hotels, cement, and stale air.
Dude, I like cultural pursuits, but if it's the dead of winter, then a sunny beach sounds pretty damn good to me, too. Liking a beach does not automatically make one a mindless automaton, incapable of enjoying anything else.
Brian's post is silly. Bowl trips are about having fun for a couple of days, supporting your team in person, and then going home. They're not supposed to be grand vacations. The timing of the bowl announcements is so late that they can't be. You can have fun in pretty much any bowl destination for 2-3 days.
Wins the mailbag. Buckeye the pejorative ftw.
I'm also someone who has only been to one bowl - the Rose Bowl we lost to USC (no, not that one. No, not that one. The one with the Braylon drop, the "kick-deflection" INT, and the throwback pass to Leinart).
If the BIG is going to go after new bowl games, realistics or not, I nominate the Music City Bowl for a lower tier bowl. Nashville has an awesome night life and some very cool cultural stuff as well. Definitely a city that doesn't suck and that I think a lot of fans would enjoy visiting for a day or two. I don't think many people visit it as a destination so a bowl would be a great draw.
One word: barbeque. That's all you need to know.
Nashville would be an AWESOME bowl weekend! The bars close at 3, live music everywhere, and BBQ!
I would struggle to make it to the game,lol.
Because how you could like Santa Fe when you have disdain for San Antonio set off my "whaaaa...?" meter. (Which is now sadly gone, but is a great trip, if an absolute crap venue to play a football game in from a viewing to a ref'ing standpoint. But it's a town that there's something to do for people of all ages, historical and modern).
I guess the question lies in "what do you like to do in a city, other than skiing?" Because I can't say I see a huge difference between say Houston and Dallas or, Atlanta. (huh?) I mean, what's the difference between Tampa and Atlanta? I'd wouldn't say historically Atlanta has been the #1 on the crime free city list. (And my best friend lives in Denver, and other than "skiing", it's not like there's a whole hell of a lot to do there that you can't do in any major city). So really, I guess it depends on what floats your boat. And for some, it's really just staying home, whic his cool, too.
My personal rankings-
1. The Rose Bowl - ok, being in LA is actually kinda sucky. Nothing is close to anything. The team and University hotels are literally many miles away from where you play...and where you play is away from any of the action. Yeah, great, you can hang out with the team in Beverly Hills looking at stores with stuff you can't afford to buy, but, well, yeah. I guess if you wanted a vacation where you took a day off to go to a bowl game, you could get by the beach, and do, well, beach things. But the bowl itself lives up to any and all hype. Great big beautiful stadium. The mountains slowly turning colors as the sun sets. Usually a match up of some greatness. And less corporate than most any other bowl game (though that isn't saying much).
2. (new to the list) Sugar Bowl- doesn't really count, because we only go every 30 years, but I'd go again if they invited us next year. The town is obviously a blast...even more so if you're young (and single), but still things to do for all ages. The Stadium can be within walking distance, and that at least has a college feel to it as everyone heads in and out. The Stadium is very pro-ish, but has good sightlines. A big game, and different. And the food, mmmmm...
3. Orlando/Citrus/Cap 1- OK, the Stadium is lame, and in a ghetto. Not a bad view, but at least usually an interesting game. But again, it comes down to what you want. Stay at the Peabody, watch the ducks come out in the morning, and then there's a lot to do. If you're not a Disney guy, you're actually a lot closer to Universal (which is more fun, frankly, if you're older and like movies and such) or Sea World, or go on the cheap and see something like Gator World or some local flavor fun. And if you're completely on the other end of the spectrum, it's not like there's a dearth of famous strip clubs down there. And down by the hotel you basically have a long, walkable strip of an outdoor mall, movie theater, a row of restaurants of all sorts, activities, and really stuff for anyone to do. And it has a 50-50 chance of being warm.
4. (RIP) Alamo - Yes, the Stadium is for basketball. Yes, even if it's not the Sun Belt, the refereeing is going to be the most awful you encounter outside of Spartan Bob. But the Riverwalk is amazing. Bars, great Mexican food, shopping, boat rides, museums, the uh, Alamo, all right by the hotels. And the Stadium is a block away. And if you have a car or something, more to see, and a pretty great zoo.
5. Outback - I tend to agree, Tampa is kinda....meh. Hotels seem kinda old. If you're into fishing or ocean activities, there is probably stuff to do. Not THAT warm. Nice Aquarium and such, but it's really for New Year's Eve young street drinking (New Orleans REALLY-lite) that I can see some fun. Stadium has a pirate ship. Whether you see that as a positive or negative is a personally preference.
Haven't been to, but heard some about- Orange- Miami is Miami; if you're young, and hot enough that you're not only going to be looking, I'm sure it's a blast. If partying isn't your game, I can see how it might not be great. (Ocean things from above apply, with more warmth). Holiday Bowl- not even a matter since we really can't go to it, but I've heard such mixed things about San Diego. Think it's a fun young party town, but if that's not your bag, it can seem kinda boring. But others love it. Gator Bowl - the name is about all it's got going for it; the history (and the play date). Because even before the awful game, I haven't heard anyone say anything nice about the trip down there. Bad weather, worse town.
Been...around- Been to Houston, I like the city, as big cities go. The game isn't in July, so I imagine the weather is a lot nicer. Scottsdale- not sure how close that is to anything interesting. Phoenix is very pre-fab new city. If it was closer to get to the Grand Canyon, might be great, but that might be a cold trip in December. (I'm glad we ended up in the Sugar for a lot of reasons).
I guess what it comes down to, unless you're visiting another country, experiencing another culture, and/or seeing something historic in a city....what people do in all of them is basically all the same. Eat in restaurants. Drink in bars. Go see sights. Check out opposite sex. Watch a football game. Some cities there's more variety of choices in each category, but I'm not sure there's a whole lot of difference in what you actually DO. If you like doing those things in another place, having the oppressively long winter broken up a little, and maybe seeing some new things, go for it. If not, you can really do most of that stuff without leaving Ann Arbor.
I'd say a couple of tips for a good bowl experience: Go with people you know. A shared experience is better. If you're not a dirt poor student, try and stay in and around the team hotel. Don't be a douche and bother every one you see, but it at least gives you a team feel, and makes you feel part of the experience, and understand the Michigan family. (caveat- if you're one of those assholes who acts like you do on the liveblog in real life, go away....far away. They don't need or deserve it. If you want to sympathize and share in the joy or pain, go for it. You'll like it). And you might just find yourself after a big bowl win sharing a drink in the bar with Brandy or someone. It can be fun. But I'd go for more than just the game. Because that's a lot of money for just a win or a loss. Enjoy everything that's around it. And if at all possible, make it a trip that you'd have been glad to make even if there wasn't a football game attached.
We here in Denver have more marijuana dispensaries than we do Starbucks. Also, our alt-weekly has a weed critic. So there's...stuff... to do here. Don't group us in with Houston, man.
I visited Colorado Springs for business a few months ago. The guys I was visiting took me out to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. Right next door was a marijuana dispensary, and right in front of that was a mini-van with marijuana decals all over it. Yes, they have home delivery of medicinal pot in Colorado.
But to list it as some magical destination city, vs. every other major city around the US (as Chart? Chart. does)....that I don't get. It has mountains. Which, frankly, don't look THAT impressive when you're actually IN the mountains. There's a reason when I went there for a birthday party we went to microbrews as far out as Boulder. Downtown Denver is nice, but it's hardly unique.
I am mostly with Brian, except for Arizona (Scottsdale or Tempe or Phoenix.) There is enough to do there, and you can go skiing within three hours. I wouldn't rule it out as a destination. As an aside, you can also go skiing within a couple hours of LA. I'll never forget spending time in the snow in the morning, and eating out on the beach for supper.
I lived near Tampa, and didn't bother going to the bowl game when Michigan was there. I don't know . . . the beaches are nice, but I don't think I'd make much of an effort to go. If I was going to go to Florida, I think I'd go spend time in the Keys, and go to a game in Miami.
I also personally think New Orleans is overrated. I guess it has character, but wandering around the French Quarter with thousands of drunk fans? Seeing girls flash bewbz? Sounds like Columbus to me. Maybe its because I just don't like the stadium in N.O., but love the Rose Bowl. I went in 1993 when I lived out there, and again in 2007.
Regarding going to bowls, with kids, I will never willingly choose to go to a bowl scheduled mid-week a week or so after New Year's. I hate that bowl games are no longer on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
I love New Orleans, but I am not a big fan of the drunken French Quarter experience.
What does Charlie have against Bing? There are much more buckeyey (sp?) search engines out there.
I heartily endorse bringing back "Buckeye" for this kind of term.
I have baseball-loving/yankee-hating friends who, recognizing that "retarded" is not a very sensitive or appropriate term, yet still encountering all kinds of situations, products, and people that absolutely scream for such usage to be applied, began using the term "Jeter" as a replacement.
So: "The bowl selection process is utterly Jeter." or "What kind of Jeter goes to a Dan Brown book signing?" etc etc
Buckeye works just like that.
Orlando is a solid place, depending on your idea of what's fun to do. My brother and I went for Purdue/Maryland a few years back. (He's a Boiler.) I like golf, I like miniature golf, I'm of the opinion that you're never too old for Disney World and EPCOT and the like, and Orlando, like every city, has watering holes, so I had a good time. The nice thing about Orlando is that they play two pretty solid bowls there within a few days of each other, so you can't help but run into quite a few other fans. For example, there was a really nice Arkansas couple behind us at mini-golf.
Truthfully, though, I just like traveling and I could reasonably enjoy myself just about anywhere for a couple days. Even Birmingham or Shreveport. No city is ever its stereotype, it's what you make of it. But Orlando is pretty good. I mean, other than the fact that I have family in Atlanta I'd hella rather go to Orlando than Atlanta. I don't get the attraction.
Just, don't overload yourself on expectations for the stadium itself.
"Truthfully, though, I just like traveling and I could reasonably enjoy myself just about anywhere for a couple days."
Exactly! We need to stop discussing the best bowl sites and focus on having a great time no matter where we are playing.
Tampa is getting a bad rap here.
In addition to the weather and the beach, Tampa has two very cool things. Cigar City Brewery and Ybor City. The hipsters amongst us may know Ybor City from the Hold Steady.
Good times, though I found it an odd mix of authenticity (AFAICS, anyway) and Spartydom (as though they had to do that to get a certain number of people milling around).