Big Blue: ? (or "Please Just Stop")

Submitted by jonny_GoBlue on May 29th, 2010 at 8:21 PM

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:

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 advertisement

(2009) A Michigan “fan” in his comments on an article…

(2007) Some CNBC business guy talking about the switch from Nike to Adidas…

(2006 or later) A Michigan related Twitter site

(?) A “website” calling for Michigan fans to save Lloyd Carr

(1999) A 32 page children’s book (they’re poisoning our children!)

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. would go missing only to be replaced with 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.



May 29th, 2010 at 8:38 PM ^

I know its not a true nickname, and I've personally never used the term..........but it really doesn't bother me much. 

"Big Blue" is much better than "Little Brother"


May 29th, 2010 at 8:38 PM ^

doesn't seem to be a troll, just painfully stupid. There's no danger of "Big Blue" taking hold. You can get down from that ledge now.


May 29th, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

But, everyone knows that the words "not acceptable" or "totally unacceptable", etc., are supposed to be in ALL CAPS when on a fan site. That's just how it works, apparently. Otherwise, slow people might not think you're really trying to make an emphatic point.


May 29th, 2010 at 9:37 PM ^

Michigan is not Big Blue and it gets annoying to hear people use the nickname who don't know any better.  Still, it isn't uncommon for these kinds of pet peeves to exist between fans/students/alums and outside observers.  I know that every single USC press release says, "Don't call us Southern Cal!" and gives a long list of names/nicknames the athletic department deems acceptable, yet Southern Cal is still way more prevalent than Big Blue.


May 30th, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

My vote is to park  'Big Blue' on the couch next to 'Umich' and torch the hell out of that thing!

I'm guessing you didn't go to Michigan?  Umich is used all the time.  Student and staff email addresses are  The official site is  Umich is more of an academic nickname, I admit, but I find nothing wrong with it.

Big Blue, however, I hate.


May 30th, 2010 at 8:27 PM ^

I did go to Michigan, pre-internet era.  The first time I heard "umich" was when I was living in Boston post-graduation.  There were a number of people I worked with who attended the University of Massachusetts (aka UMass).  I was in an adult beverage setting with one of them when someone joined us at a table.  My coworker introduced me as a person who went to "umich".   Ever since, I've associated UMich with UMass and frankly, I don't like associating Michigan with Umass in any way other than a slapdown this coming fall.

I understand the email tag and all, and can and do accept it as typed...but do people really say it..."Hey, let's go watch the Umich football game Saturday!"  or "Umich better outrebound emich Tuesday night in a key nonconference game!"?

I really hope the answer is no...



June 2nd, 2010 at 2:21 AM ^

...and regional.  If you're out of Michigan, then UofM can mean any number of schools - Minnesota, Memphis, etc.  The UM vs. UofM did get me thinking, and per the ever-scientific google searches:


1. Miami, 2. Michigan

U of M:

1. Michigan, 2. Minnesota

When I'm away from Ann Arbor, and especially away from the midwest, I revert to UMich or something like that, to ensure I'm not mistaken for a gopher.

Edward Khil

May 30th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

If Desmond makes a point of it next time Corso gets it wrong, that would go a long way to snuffing it out.

Being fifteen years older than you, I was infuriated for a time that the closed-fist chop during "Temptation" was being converted to a FSU-style tomahawk chop (or some Zoolander-style "claw").  It's supposed to be a fist, dammit!  But things change.  We've got to do what we can to protect core traditions (like winning).

But I'll help you snuff out "Big Blue" if you stop those people doing the tomahawk chop during Temptation.


May 30th, 2010 at 4:24 PM ^

It is the end of the World! Chill out and go outside for a while. Step away from the computer and do something else. Big Blue won't go away because of the reference to it in NCAA Football. Because of that it has become a staple and fans of others teams know us as that because of said game. Stop being a pussy and spend some time with your wife or partner.


May 31st, 2010 at 7:41 AM ^

If it is used in the EA game, then it is easy to fix in future editions if enough people object to it. Maybe we could even prod someone from the University to contact them about it and get it changed. For better or worse, this blog and a few other places like it are the internet guardians of Michigan traditions. Referring to Michigan Football as "Big Blue" is just wrong, and a pretty bad mistake by EA.

I do agree, however, that this should have been a board post -- it hardly merits a diary.

MMB T-Sax 9701

June 5th, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

Down in the southern tip of Florida, I was much dismayed that when I was asked about my undergrad experience I would reply "U of M" and would get in reply, "Oh, I went to Miami, too."  In my area of employment, we colloquially refer to U of M (specifically the hospital) as "the U," which is also (distastefully) how Hurricane alums declare their affiliation, especially the ex-cons who have moved on to the NFL.  And I've always equated Mr. Corso and other ESPN wonks referral to us as "Big Blue" as a feeble-minded attempt to equate the Wolverines to either the NY Giants or IBM as a ubiquitous, evil empire-type entity.

OH, that reminds me... "the Wolves"!!!!  I've seen and heard this nickname used several times in media. WE ARE NOT THE WOLVES!!!  The similarity between wolverines and wolves ends at being quadripedal fur-bearing carnivorous mammals. Not to mention, THE WOLVES are U of M DEARBORN.  [/rant]