Pregame Atmosphere

Submitted by Champ Summers on August 5th, 2008 at 8:28 PM

I know that this falls into the category of "inane" and "completely unrelated to actual important things like offensive scheming, recruiting, etc" but I thought I'd at least throw it out there and see if any of you had any take on it at all. 

One of the time-honored gripes as we enter this time of year has always been the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium, it's practically a rite of Fall at this point.  Having been fortunate enough to be a season ticket holder I've seen a steady (though not remarkable) improvement in the game-day atmosphere over the years, but there's definitely still work to be done. 

Rather than going on some overarching diatribe regarding the age and general disposition of certain (ahem) segments of the crowd and their predilection to scream "sit down" much louder than they scream "Go Blue" I just wanted to point out one small change that I think would just sound cool... and better.

You know how right before the team comes out of the locker room and they put that somewhat off-kilter shot of the locker room doors up on the jumbotrons? Then the band and crowd start into the incredibly monotonous "Lets.... Go.... Blue...." that somewhat increases in tempo and volume as the team starts to gather in the tunnel?  Not exactly the most rip-roaring way to greet the team onto the grid-iron.  I have to say that I think they're missing on the intended effect of building a crescendo of excitement and volume in the crowd prior to the team running out under the banner.

This brings me to my suggestion/idea: How much better would it sound if the student section got the back and forth "GO" "BLUE" chant going during that time instead?  The crowd participation is always better with that chant anyway, and it's a lot easier to pick up the pace so to speak.  Plus, it simply sounds LOUDER.

That said, I have absolutely no idea how this would be implemented, etc, but regardless, I definitely think it'd sound better and contribute just that much more to the whole "atmosphere" thing we like to all wax poetic about.



August 6th, 2008 at 1:00 AM ^

First, Mariano Rivera has been entering games for the Yankees to Enter Sandman for several years. Second, piped in music is best left for pro games that lack actual atmosphere. VT can do better. There was an article out of WVU stating that the entrance routine the Mountaineers have used during RR's tenure will be replaced by something less NBA now that the program is established.


August 6th, 2008 at 7:39 AM ^

We perform a ritual sacrifice at the 50 yard line, and just when the shaman puts the heart in his mouth, the team rushes onto the field.


August 6th, 2008 at 9:09 AM ^

except that that chant doesn't speed up. Although, I guess the cheerleaders could use their signs to speed it up.


Also, this year the band will be in the stands, not on the field, when the team comes out. They might still do the "Let's...Go...Blue" drum beat but fans won't be as synchronized as they were when the drum was in at the 50 yard line.


August 6th, 2008 at 10:29 AM ^

I try - I really do - but the gimmicky communist shtick saturates otherwise informative posts with silly rhetoric that's not always worth parsing. Plus, I never know which links will lead to relevant stories and which are pictures of dogs making faces. You're all good writers; BGH (et al) has fantastic posts on mgoblog and there's no need to parade everyone around in ridiculous costumes.


August 6th, 2008 at 9:53 AM ^

I saw this within the past week on another Michigan blog. I think it was linked in the sidebar, but I haven't found it yet but I'll keep looking. The post talked about how Rodriguez changed the sequence of things so the band would exit before the players entered and would play the national anthem from the stands. It said this was the way things were done pre-9/11 under Carr.

J.W. Wells Co.

August 6th, 2008 at 10:16 AM ^

When I attended games from 1997 to 2001, the anthem was ALWAYS played from the field.  The change after 9/11 was that now the teams were present on the field for the anthem.  Before 9/11, the anthem was played with the teams in the locker room.  The anthem would be played, the band would exit to the stands, and then the teams would come out of the tunnel.


August 6th, 2008 at 11:01 AM ^

I wonder why RichRod went this way.  I thought the pregame change that included separating the block M and then having the team run out with the band on the field was one of the better adjustments to pregame over the last 20 years.

Not a big deal to me either way, but I'm just confused as to why this even came up as something that might need changing.

Oh well...


August 6th, 2008 at 10:31 AM ^

I still say the best way to increase the "atmosphere" for games is to:

1) start a student football group like the Maize Rage that all sit together and are the ones to start all cheers. They can then work with the band, cheerleaders, etc. to make sure no one is stepping on each other's toes. This group would all sit together in the stadium in a reserved block of seats. In order to make it somewhat exclusive so that cell phone talking sorority girls can't show up midway through the first quarter and claim they're part of this "Maize Rage", there has to be some sort of membership requirement like attending meetings, camping out overnight at the stadium, etc.

2) all other students will sit general admission on a first come, first served basis. If other schools can use vouchers and then assign seat numbers when you walk into the stadium, we should be able to as well. This keeps all the latecomers and people who only go to games because "it's the cool thing to do" up at the top of the stadium and the people who actually know what's going on more in the action.

Since the students are the loudest part of the stadium and the Athletic Department has done little besides the phony "student" t-shirt contest to reach out to them, I say that's the first thing that needs to happen in order to really improve the atmosphere.


P.S. why does this look like one long run-on sentence? I tried to make paragraphs! Ugh.


August 6th, 2008 at 10:39 AM ^

They should just make the student section General Admission.  When I was a student it always pissed me off that the sorority girls and girls in general would show up late and expect their seat to still be there.  People that come late should be at the top of the stadium. 


August 6th, 2008 at 11:29 AM ^

I agree that the student section should have more of a general admission nature, probably by section to grant some benefits to the upperclassmen. Having to deal with some later arriving schmuck asking to sit in his / her seat when 10-20 of us had been there for an hour was truly infuriating. The issue with trying to involve the band with much of anything is that what they do is very scripted. An email exchange I had with a member of the MMB staff confirmed this suspicion. To quote the email "You are exactly correct. The MMB receives a script each week listing at each stoppage of play what will take place, whether it is the band playing a tune, an announcement, message from the video boards, etc. We are under a mandate from the Athletic Department not to play over announcements of advertisements running on the video boards." But I like the idea of a student led group.


August 6th, 2008 at 12:01 PM ^

piped in music sucks. we should never emulate anything vtech does except maybe scoring on special teams.


also, the maize rage is so dorky it's painful. keep that crap in crisler


August 6th, 2008 at 12:02 PM ^

do people actually sit in their seats in the student section now? aside from generally staying in your section, it was basically a free for all when i was there


August 6th, 2008 at 1:40 PM ^

we do have assigned seats (I'm a junior in undergrad) but everyone pushes up a least a few rows (expecially in the back, where the view is (was?) obstructed by the press box). As long as you avoid the ushers, you can pretty much sneak down whereever you like during non-conference and Northwestern-level games (I usually end up in my friends' section, since they're all seniors and usually get seats 20 rows in front of me and my other junior friend). However, for games like MSU or Ohio State, it's really tough to sit anywhere except your assigned seat. I'd love to see general admission by class, but that could be really tough to enforce.


August 6th, 2008 at 12:14 PM ^

When I was in the student section 1990-1993, it was pseudo general admission, meaning most people viewed it as GA, but when some later arrival showed up asking to sit in their seat, the reality of assigned seating would cause everyone to have to deal with some friendless, later arriver. It was a pain. If the law reflected the reality (GA by section) this pain would have been eliminated. And no piped in music. That's why we have a band.

Other Andrew

August 6th, 2008 at 1:19 PM ^

I spent the last season driving around the country, going to different games in different places. I was able to see how a lot of these teams do their entrances, and there is one bottom line. Excited fans make an entrance exciting. Our fans need to be the ones who change the atmosphere. A new method will create the opportunity for this, but if the fans are as weak as ever, it's not going to happen. For instance, Clemson has probably the best entrance in college football with the Hill. LSU, has a very basic one where the band blasts a note to each corner of the stadium. In both cases, the fans go berserk. On the other hand, I do think there is something to be said for not doing the videoscerens and piped in music (which, let's be honest, we'll never do). Nebraska has their Tunnel-walk which seems like a good idea, but is totally marred by silly computer graphics and a Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project. But I think something a bit more invigorating than touching a banner would be a good idea. Get the game started on a hot note, and maybe people will keep it up. Something with the band is likely the best way to go.


August 6th, 2008 at 1:42 PM ^

I had student tickets from 2000 - 2006. When I started as a Freshman, the student section was de facto general admission. Around, say, 2003, most people were sitting within about 5 rows of their actual seats, but it still wasn't expected that you'd get exactly your spot. By the time I finished my Master's, it seemed like almost everyone was within a seat or two of his assigned location, and people who didn't get their exact seats were getting snippy about it. I don't know what changed, but I suspect it was actually an administrative decision. For example, at the 2005 OSU game, I was at the stadium an hour early, and got a spot on the rail near the same folks I stood next to along the rail every week. At the end of the 1st quarter, an usher, totally unprompted by other fans, came over and kicked us out of our front row spots. My actual seat was row 1, so I was only 2 rows from where I was supposed to be anyway (stupid A and B rows), and the usher did not care. I attempted to point out that since people stand on their benches anyway, by standing at the rail I wasn't even taking someone else's seat. Again, the usher did not care. (Can you tell I'm still bitter about this?) Of course, with the band where it is now, the seat I had then doesn't even exist anymore. I'm all for a true General Admission policy, but I doubt we see it in my lifetime.


August 6th, 2008 at 2:23 PM ^

last year i was about 40 rows up in section 30 and for all but 1 game stood front row back right corner of the endzone. most of the ushers dont care if you get there early, but i agree that it should be GA. i went to the PSU game 2 years back, and the atmosphere in the first few rows of beaver stadium is crazy, people lining up 8 hours before gametime to get in. i dont see why michigan doesnt do this, it rewards the diehard fans and maybe, just maybe, will actually get students to come in early for games

Ninja Football

August 6th, 2008 at 3:04 PM ^

The band should not be counted on to provide atmosphere when those guys are coming out of the tunnel. If it's being done right (ala everyone going nuts like at Va Tech, PSU or yes, even Spartyville with their 300 schtick) the band shouldn't be able to be heard. With the new regime I think it's the perfect time to change something here- and while I wouldn't advocate the piped in music, it'd be better than what we have now. something needs to be done to pump that place up.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 6th, 2008 at 3:10 PM ^

The 300 schtick would, if I were an MSU fan, make me ashamed of my program. You know, if all the Spartyness hadn't made me ashamed already.

Champ Summers

August 7th, 2008 at 9:15 AM ^

Sorry that the spacing disappeared, it was in paragraph form last night...

 edit: tried to fix the formatting again and despite what I do, every time I submit it, everything gets bunched into one big mess...


August 8th, 2008 at 2:58 PM ^

The atmosphere of the stadium in general needs to be improved. Increasing general admission seats along with student seats and their proximity to the field while decreasing alumni seating would be a way to do this (granted this would never happen, the old waspy mofos want their alumni seats and the university wants their $$$$).

General admission for the student section is a must. At the OSU game this year I showed up with a group of 10-12 people a few hours before the game and we got seats somewhere around row 10-15. We were there until about 8 minutes into the second quarter when a bunch of clearly blitzed soroity girls showed up demanding their seats, thankfully the ushers told them, this is the OSU game you show up forty-five minutes late and your row 10 seats are gone, tough.

I will never sit in the alumni seats again because at the 2005 OSU game I was standing up and cheering and I was told to sit down and be quiet (no joke) the OSU fans that were sitting near me laughed (another reason I won't sit in the alumni section, what alumni would ever sell their tickets to an OSU fan? At least know who you're selling the tickets too, its Michigan-OSU there are a number of maize and blue fans who would give their right testicle for alumni seats to The Game) and I clearly remember one of them saying "only at Michigan Stadium" and I agree. Diss on Va Tech all you want for their trashy pipe music but I've heard stories from friends of 70 year old men being accosted at the stadium for sitting down. They stand. They scream. They cheer. All of them.


August 8th, 2008 at 3:51 PM ^

There are only two types of seats: student and general admission.  There are no seats specifically reserved for alumni (I think being an alum gets you a tiny boost in seat priority. but PSL cash grossly outweighs that).  Also, with the exception of 1997 (when excessive student demand led to freshmen getting split-season packages), we've always completely met student demand.  In fact, most years our student demand for tickets falls a little short of the 20,000 or so seats that are set aside for them, and the remainder become general-admission seats. 


August 11th, 2008 at 12:18 PM ^

I'm not implying that season ticket holders don't sell their tickets to OSU fans, but you would be surprised that a number of Ohio State fans that have season tickets. In 2003 I bought tickets for the ND game from an OSU fan who buys Michigan season tickets for one game every other year. He sells/scalps the other tickets. He mentioned that he knew of several other people who did this as well.

I looked into it for OSU, but with the advent of personal seat licenses and wait lists, I passed. When I graduated in 1994, it wasn't difficult to get season tickets and there were no PSLs. That would have been an ideal time to "invest" in Michigan season tickets.