Good write up. Though I am pretty sure there isn't breadsticks at Cabelas. Maybe beef jerky though.
Game day observations from East Hartford
I was at the UConn game and although the game itself has been analyzed and covered in great detail, I did not see much in the way of observations of what it was like in the stadium. Below are bulletpoints of the experience.
· This isn’t Ann Arbor! There was no traffic at all getting to the stadium, we drove right up to the front. Also, we were able to park at the stadium for 15 bucks! The drunk college students in Ann Arbor would be disappointed in how little they charged. Interesting overheard fact – the stadium was built at an old airport, we drove in on the tarmac. The stadium inherited all fifty million traffic cones from the airport and all of them were laid out in the parking areas.
· There is what appears to be the world’s largest Cabela’s next to the stadium. There were even signs directing people to the stadium or Cabela’s. I kept asking if people wanted to stop for cheese bread from Cabela’s – until someone finally figured out I thought it was a chain Italian place not an outdoors store.
· This is Ann Arbor! The percentage of Michigan fans walking into the game from outer parking lots was close to 90%. All of the UConn fans made fun of Michigan because they were so outnumbered, including a drunk girl who said Michigan “sucked her weenie.” She seemed confused.
· UConn played to its audience – both inside and outside at the merchandise stands, you could buy Michigan gear. There was one booth outside the stadium selling Michigan shirts right under the sign that said this is Husky Country. I don't think they fully appreciated the irony. The UConn band played the victors as well.
· Unusual for a home college game – you could buy beer at the stadium. This is because it is off campus for UConn. According to UConn student, the Patriots were originally going to play there, but backed out and UConn took over. All the concessions were really cheap – and a good mix, you could even get a funnel cake or cupcake!
· Not a bad stadium for only holding 40,000, although with the temporary seats added just for this game it looked like a cross between a high school stadium and a real stadium like the big house. It looked like Michigan fans outnumbered UConn fans in the stadium as well. The temporary added seats, in the endzone, where we were siting, was almost 100% Michigan fans. The most annoying part was, since the seats were added, they checked the tickets like crazy, making it hard to get in and out of the section.
· The benefit to only 40,000 seats – we were close to the action. It was great to see and Michigan drove toward us in the fourth quarter. It was a great angle to see Morgan’s INT and return. The downside – security would randomly stand in our way and we couldn’t see at the goal line.
· It was a good mix of Michigan fans, both young and old, looked like lots of families. A lot of Michigan gear, including a lot of shirts I had never seen before. Vamos Azul shirts were especially popular. There was also an Elvis sitting in the bleachers. The only non-Michigan fan that I saw was a girl in a UConn shirt who was bawling and carrying nachos. We were all curious as to what her deal was. Also odd, the girl behind us broke her foot? And had to be carried up and down a couple of time at the game, and didn’t ask to sit at the number of handicap seats that were open in front of us.
· The biggest downside in the stadium– no information anywhere – the video/reply board was behind us and there was only three little information bars around the stadium and two of them usually had adds on them. I was using twitter to see down and distance for most of the first half.
· The UConn fans started to get a little chippy at the end of the first half and for much of the second half. There were also a number of Ohio State fans – who I guess were there to see if Michigan would lose? One random guy in a Michigan state windbreaker seemed to follow us around as well.
· There were a ton of games between the plays – students tried to kick field goals, throw footballs into a hole, trivia, they played follow the football under the three helmets, they threw t-shirts into the stands, all during timeouts.
· They were stuck in the 80s – they played Guns and Roses, Def Leopard, and a whole lot of 80s rock during the game. Every third down of Michigan’s the PA would play welcome to the jungle. It got old.
· It was weird to see a grass field. Any stop in action there were kids out there fixing it.
· This was a huge game for UConn – they honored past captains of the UConn football team, as well the 2013 woman’s basketball team with Geno Auriemma. Ray Allen and Donny Marshall were also on the field and spoke during breaks in the game.
· At one point they showed Derek Jeter on the video board – and everyone booed. More Red Sox fans than Yankees fans in Hartford I suppose, and I am assuming he was showing his Michigan pride and not UConn spirit. His lady friend did not look pleased to be there.
· They showed their video highlight of past seasons…it was a DJ Hernandez TD. No mention of his current coaching position and certainly no mention of his brother, Aaron.
· They were not equipped to deal with getting the largest crowd ever at the stadium (42,000 how cute) out of there- we sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes without moving. It was a long game, but we still didn’t make it home until 2 am. Unclear if Cabela’s would have been open but we were really craving cheese bread
I read somewhere that this was also UConn's biggest game of the season for recruits, which makes sense. This seems to have been, by far, their biggest home game of the season, and probably of several seasons.
If anyone sat on the sections between the scoreboard and pressbox you might be in one of these pictures. Click on the image for the original size.
I think the 90% is a bit exaggerated. 60/40 at most for Michigan fans.
I was worried that I'd get in trouble taking pictures. Plus, I just wanted to soak it all in. So sorry if they're not great. Also, the ghosting is because the bandchanged positions between my two shots.
Awesome. Found my wife, kids and myslef in the top row. Thanks.
90% referred to the amount of Michigan fans in the outer parking lots walking to the game.
Once inside it was definitely a more even spilt.
Yeah, I noticed that outside. It was weird. After the game, it seemed like everyone was wearing Michigan clothing too, and this was still inside the stadium. It's like UConn fans were cheering for UConn during the game, but wearing Michigan clothing for before and after.
UCONN fans go to the stadium from campus by bus.
By far the most irritating aspect of attending the game was UConn's stadium mouth. When UConn got a first down he would announce, "And that's another UConn..." and some of the crowd would answer, "first down!"
1) From speaking to UConn fans: at a minimum they had to purchase a 3 ticket package to get a seat to this game. Some of the fans were a little bitter about this, especially seeing how many Michigan fans were in attendance
2) Every UConn fan I spoke to wanted a B1G invitation
3) The Margarita's in East Hartford was flooded with Michigan fans both before and after the game
4) Hotel parking lot tailgates were a bit weird, but allowed. The oddest tailgate spot for me is still at the T parking lot for Boston College games
Unusual for a home college game – you could buy beer at the stadium. This is because it is off campus for UConn.
I don't think this is a hard-and-fast rule, just a general convention. Minnesota sells beer at its new stadium, for instance.
I think the only explicit ban on alcohol is at NCAA playoff events.
I had many a sad when I realized I couldn't buy beer at the Palace for the NCAA Tournament games.
YOU HAD ME AT FUNNEL CAKES
Informative and also very funny.
I really wanted to go to this game since I've never been to the Northeast (I'm guessing Niagara Falls doesn't count -- haha), but after watching the game at my buddy's with the ability to swear profusely with no reprecussions ... I think I made the right choice.
In the same vein, I am actually looking forward to attending road games at Maryland and Rutgers. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy they're a part of the B1G, but if it gets me an opportunity to travel to a part of the country I haven't visited but more than once or twice, I'll take it.
Their fans were ok, not embarrasingly polite like nebraska but not threatening
Uconn fans were positively giddy at halftime, hugging each other, saying "i know. I know." That must have been what western france felt like after d-day
One guy came up to me to practically order me to get them into the B1G.
A whole lot of drinking and not just by me. The blue moon beer cart ran out at halftime.
All in all it was worth it.