I posted this information on an MGoBlog thread, that seems to have been buried, and was apparently little-noticed. I'll repeat it here, in a Diary entry.
There is, I think, something of a technical explanation for some of the effect seen at the OSU game.
For about four or five years now, beginning with their drawn-up master plans for the stadium renovations, the Athletic Department has planned to perform in-bowl renovations to match the outer-bowl new construction in the form of the two major structures on the east and west sides of the bowl.
The design and the progress of the outside-of-the-bowl is obvious for all to see. The plans for the inside-the-bowl renovations were mostly invisible, until last Saturday.
AFTER the completion of the two giant outside structures, with a large amount of new seating available, the Athletic Department plans to proceed with inside-the-bowl renovations, including widened aisles, and, to the best of my knowledge, widened seat spacing. As a result, some seating within the bowl will be lost, to be made up in terms of total numbers by club seating and other premium seating. In other words, in case you didn't know it, the new premium seating will add several thousand new seats, but the old-bowl renovations will eliminate several thousand seats, with only a small net gain in total seating.
With those long-range plans for the in-bowl renovations, the Athletic Department has been "banking" all of the non-renewed season tickets. With those "banked" seats, the Athletic Department plans to be able to do the aforementioned aisleway widening, handrail addtions and (hooray) widened seat-numbering, with a minimum of inconvenience and movement to existing season ticket seat holders. Some season ticket holders might be moved, but with all of the "banked" seats at its disposal, the Ticket Office thinks it can minimize any inconvenience to season ticket holders who, for instance, currently have seats on an aisle that will be lost to aisleway widening. They had to utilize that same process, on a slightly smaller scale, in order to be able to construct the handicapped seating mezzanine.
In the meantime, it means that the Athletic Department has larger numbers of individul and/or package tickets to sell.
All of which were converted from abandoned season ticket subscriptions. And those package/game tickets can be picked up by anybody.
If you had wanted to conduct an experiment at the time of the OSU game, all you had to do was ask to see the tickets of any of those OSU fans; I have every presumption that in most cases, thetickets held by Buckeye fans would surely have been small and white, not the larger color photo-background tickets that go to season ticket holders.
This problem will be less and less of an issue in the future, as season-ticket assignments within the bowl get settled after renovations are completed.
Now, if anybody doesn't believe me, or doesn't want to believe me, or simply wants to maintain a kind of mythologized class-war about Michigan Stadium patrons, I sincerely suggest that an interview with Marty Bodnar of Joe Parker on this subject will be the best way to test my theory and reporting. If Brian wants to deputize me for the purpose, I'll be happy to make a call to the ticket office.
As for big blocks of OSU fans in Michigan Stadium: Michigan has long prided itself on being the most hospitable stadium in the Big Ten to visiting fans; nobody makes available more visiting-team tickets then we do. The block-seating areas include (and have always, always done this for OSU, MSU and other nearby rivals) the lower-row seats in Section 44, which go to opposing coaches' and players' guests. Also the top rows of the South endzone sections (generally opponent-students), as well as a block in the lower-center area of the South endzone (generally opponent alumni and boosters).
Lastly; as many have observed, on chilly days, Michigan fans are liable to be wearing navy sweaters and jackets. The OSU scarlet really stands out. (cf; Notre Dame.) And, for people in Columbus, the Michigan game is the biggest day of the year. They smelled blood in the water this year, and many of them made the effort, got the tickets, and came north. Do not for a moment think that ticket brokers missed an opportunity to purchase a package of tickets that included Eastern and Delaware State, simply to get ahold of OSU tickets, and sell them in Columbus. Those tickets, the package tickets, are quite likely part of the "bank" of tickets that the Athletic Department is holding only until 2010 or 2011, for the completion of the stadium renovations.