I am approximately 30 years old and have been a dedicated and observant Michigan fan since I was 15 or so. I cheer on the Michigan Wolverines, the Maize and Blue (or the Yellow and Blue), and the Victors. I am Jonny and I Go Blue. At no point, in my 15 years of rooting for the Wolverines have I cheered for Big Blue. Why? Wikipedia never lies: Big Blue is NOT a nickname for the Michigan Wolverines.
However, I have lately been witnessing its use increase at an alarming rate, most recently today in MGoUser CaliWolverine78’s signature: http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/time-rock-and-roh#comment-498539
This got me to thinking, when did this infiltration of Big Blue begin? The first time I recall having heard it was on ESPN College Gameday out of the mouth of Lee Corso. I let it slide that day thinking “Oh well, it’s just Lee Corso, he’s generally accepted as a nincompoop. Moving on…”. However, after what I had hoped was a simple brain fart on Corso’s part, I soon heard other folks on ESPN using the term and of course thereafter on ABC as well. I die a little on the inside every time I hear someone say it. It hurts my ears just like nails on a chalkboard.
In an attempt to prove myself wrong and find that the “Big Blue” nickname had indeed been used by Michigan and I just hadn’t noticed it, I went to everyone’s favorite research site: Google. Looking through the results for Big Blue Michigan and Big Blue Wolverines, there is very, very, very little use in reference to our Maize and Blue. Here’s a small sample of the few results I found:
(2010) A gotickets.com advertisement http://www.umhoops.com/
(2009) A Michigan “fan” in his comments on an annarbor.com article http://www.annarbor.com/sports/michigan-could-benefit-from-muddy-big-te…
(2007) Some CNBC business guy talking about the switch from Nike to Adidas http://www.cnbc.com/id/19710056/Michigan_Goes_Adidas_As_Nike_Runs_Out_O…
(2006 or later) A Michigan related Twitter site http://www.bigbluetweets.com/
(?) A “website” calling for Michigan fans to save Lloyd Carr http://www.nd.edu/~dcieslak/savellloydcarr.html
(1999) A 32 page children’s book (they’re poisoning our children!) http://www.amazon.com/Go-Big-Blue-Michigan-Wolverines/dp/0886829798
Three things worth noting: 1) lack of volume 2) no official use of the term 3) with the exception of the 1999 children’s book (whose author I now blame for this more than Corso as it is probably safe to assume it's one of his favorite books) no uses of the term prior to 2006-ish, which is about when I remember hearing Corso say it for the first time.
I followed this up with searches for Big Blue Kentucky, Big Blue Giants, and Big Blue IBM. The sheer volume of relevant results, both official and otherwise, was enough to tell me that the lack of results for Michigan WAS significant. It is not a widely accepted nickname for the Wolverines.
Now the question remains, can it be an accepted nickname? Are we okay with calling ourselves Big Blue? If it were up to just me, I’d ship everyone who says “yes” to a far away country (like maybe Kentucky). Of course it’s perfectly acceptable to give someone or something a nickname of your own. For instance, I call my younger brother “Pencilneck”. However, when you begin expecting others to use that same nickname I think you’re asking for trouble.
Just think of the troubles the acceptance this particular nickname would cause. The football cheerleaders would need a 3rd sign for the “Go Big Blue” chants across the stadium. Mgoblue.com would go missing only to be replaced with Mgobigblue.com. Worst of all, my head would explode. Please don’t allow this to happen.
Take a stand with me and put an end to “Crazy Michigan Fan’s” use of Big Blue.