I'm probably going to be negbombed to Bolivia, but I have to get this off my chest.
I am a Michigan alum, and a rabid Wolverine for the past 8 years. I did not grow up rooting for the Wolverines, but I live & die by the Maize and Blue with the rest of them. Hell, my first game in the Big House was The Horror, and I'm still here so that has to count for something.
I was at The Game today. Honestly I can't blame the coaches and players too much. They are operating within the constraints forced upon them by situations outside of their control. They gave it their all, and for that they should always have a special place in the heart of Michigan's Faithful.
The biggest element I found lacking was the fanbase. From the start, the stadium was at least 25-35% Buckeyes. I know it's Thanksgiving weekend, but you won't see Ohio selling that many tickets to us when we're playing in Columus.
But even worse to me was the fact that the atmosphere just plain wasn't there. You could hear a pin drop on most Ohio downs. When they were running tempo, you could clearly tell that our fanbase was not prepared and had no idea about when to get loud. In full honesty, when they annouced the Slippery Rock score there was a bigger reaction than on Ohio third downs when our defense needed it the most. Not to mention the fact that the stairs were fully occupied with Michigan fans leaving from the beginning of the fourth quater onward at full tilt.
I don't mean to denegrate our fans, I honestly don't. But to put things in perspective, I went to the Alabama-LSU game this year and the difference is night and day.. If we ever want to be a "Great Team" we need to secure our home field advantage. It's one thing to have a great team, a great coaching staff, great traditions, a great campus. But if we can't turn the Big House into a place that strikes fear into opposing teams' hearts we will never truly be elite.
I hate people pointing out issues without proposing solutions, so I will propose a few. First, we need to stop selling tickets to opposing fans. How we do that in the age of Stubhub is a difficult task. The Mgoblog ticket list is a good start, but we need to do so at a larger scale. Maybe the Athletic Department could work on a fan-to-fan sales system where they could take a cut but still ensure tickets end up in the hands of Michigan fans.
I also agree with Woodson -- The Game needs to be moved to 3:30 or a night start to encourage fans to get rowdy. The atmosphere shouldn't be like an afternoon picnic. It needs to be fierce and intimidating.
Lastly we need to take measures to get people loud when they're in the stadium. Encourage the people next to you to yell! There are times for talking (TV timeouts, halftime) and there are times for yelling (every down on defense). If we can't make use of the largest crowd in America then we are throwing away a vital advantage for our boys in Maize and Blue.
I may be preaching to the choir, or I may be pissing people off. Regardless, this is a message that needs to get out and be discussed seriously. It blows my mind that we can have a better atmosphere for a Penn State night game last year than we did for our most hated rival in a meanginful situation and Harbaugh's first year. Let the Team work on the X's and O's, but let's make sure we bring the heat and get back up our defense with the best damn home field advantage in all of sports.
Honestly our fanbase should be ashamed at the support we provided the team today, and we need to get real about fixing things.