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Date Title Body
09/23/2014 - 1:43pm Nice

Great piece, one of my favorites on the blog for some time. 

But I can't stay with you for the conclusion.  I'm ok with some losses, but I'm not ok with becoming an SEC school to win.  It matters a lot to me that our coach is a character guy who does things the right way.  I'll take some losses if the alternative is hiring a coach who doesn't live up that. 

There's a tension to arguing that Dave Brandon is all modern flash, leveraging our tradition, dragging us down with alternate uniforms that appeal to recruits, Chobani-ing us to build flashy hangouts for the players, taking us to Jerryworld to market us to the recruiting hotbeds -- but yearning for the Baconesque old-time stadium and team experience.  You want to win the modern way?  Oregon and Texas A&M are doing it.  I'm not in.

If we shade toward the Ivy League in our football experience, so be it.  I go to Harvard football games and you know what?: they're really fun.  The stadium is far from full (apart from the Yale game), but there's enough of a crowd to make it lively.  You get a great seat to watch football for football. The band and cheerleaders are there. There are open areas around the stadium for tailgating, throwing a football around, enjoying the autumn weather.  Harvard gear is sold on fold-out tables for reasonable prices, there's a community feel among the fans, the band marches back across the Charles River into Cambridge playing the fight song afterwards.


09/11/2014 - 12:45pm Horford

Is there any doubt about whether Horford will be getting the start?

09/11/2014 - 9:31am go blue

Well, it may not be fair weather in any sense of the term, but I'll be there and I'm excited for it.  I'm looking forward to seeing the drumline do stepshow, hitting up the MDen, seeing Jon Horford haul in a TD, and watching us touch the banner and get a win.  And is Blimpy's open yet?

09/04/2014 - 10:40am nd-osu is preferred

I'm guessing they're also more comfortable with OSU because ND's self-image isn't so devastated by them. 

  • ND relishes their history but ours started earlier -- and we taught them the game.  
  • They're proud to have the fourth-highest number of wins in college football, but we're in the top spot. 
  • They have a well-known fight song, but we have what Sousa himself called "the greatest college fight song ever written."
  • They're proud of their gold helmet, but our unis were voted the best in all of sports in an ESPN poll. 
  • And the ND feeling that, "well, we lost, but we still go to a good school and you don't" is agonizingly unavailable for the Michigan game.

In short, everything they're proud of about themselves is embarassed when they have to stand next to us, and it burns them up.  That we comfortably lead the all-time series against them, and that we've recently ruined so many of their seasons early in the year, makes it all worse.  I get it.

09/04/2014 - 10:02am hm

So much for the rationale that ND backed out of the Michigan series to get more coastal opponents.  I look forward to seeing them get whipped by OSU in these.

08/29/2014 - 9:48am the big time

It occurs to me only now, on Day 1, that I haven't seen the "There's a waterpark in Battle Creek...that saved X% on its energy costs" ad accompanying every video.  Maybe it's a sign that has stepped up in advertising.  Like when the Big Ten Network moved on from the one advertisement they had from Rotel for queso dip.

08/26/2014 - 10:54pm fair

Fair point on holding the games distant from campus -- I agree.  It takes too much of the college out of college football.

But singling out the distance/off-campus element as the problem with those games sits uncomfortably with the argument that a trend of "stunt marketing and contrived event games" has "reached [its] apotheosis/nadir in this rematch made in hell," when the rematch is a regular season game, on campus, without a sponsor or special name, and without any special-event merchandising.  The main thing the Michigan-ASU game has in common with the Chick-fil-a games is that it's an interesting week one matchup -- and I like that part. 

All that said, I'm not sorry to see a widely read site used to remind ADs of dissatisfaction with many of these other trends: I wish the special uniform trend would end, that the music would be provided only by the band, that games would all be on campus, that there would be fewer bowl games, that we'd reinstall grass, and, before anyone else mentions it, that kids would get off my lawn.  



08/26/2014 - 8:11pm please

I like our historical boasts.  I don't like that there can be any team out there who can claim an all-time winning record against us.  We won't get another shot at the Cleveland Athletic Association (0-1), who bested us in 1891 -- we're stuck with it.  But we get to wipe one off the board this Saturday, and that makes it much more exciting to me than YET ANOTHER game against Eastern.

This Slate writer finds himself in the awkward position of complaining about the Alabama-WVU and Boise State-Ole Miss matchups in week 1 (because they have sponsors) as well as the Michigan-Alabama matchup, while noting that foolish Dave Brandon could have scheduled...Central.  I'll wait and see what Bacon's tally is for the number of fans excited about *that*.

08/26/2014 - 12:38pm Motor City

On the positive side (trying to be positive), the sponsor happens to have a Motor City theme and logo, and, roughly, Detroit Tigers colors. 

08/25/2014 - 3:20pm tradition

Yeah, my biggest takeaway was admiration for the programs that made a change to go back to a traditional design (I never realized the UCLA numbering was gone -- good that they went back). 

And though I'd prefer ND be humiliated by changing their standard jersey to that ridiculous one with the shamrock on the helmet that they wore against us a few years ago, it reflects well on UA that they didn't mess with ND's standard uniform.  Only during that epic tilt against Purdue will they roll out special uniforms and look especially foolish.

08/21/2014 - 10:28am awful

But boy did Dave Brandon get that right.  I hate that 'M'.  I always hated it.  It's as if we were afraid someone would look at our classic 'M' and think, "Must be Missouri," a problem solved by ceding what is clearly our ground with a sheepish little sign ("No, wait, says it right there -- it's Michigan.")  And the point of the M comes all the way down to the bottom as a ridiculous accommodation of that box -- the worst.

If nothing else, I will remember Dave Brandon as the man who freed us from that M.

08/08/2014 - 11:58am Hopefully a net win

Great free benefit from the coaches and AD -- bravo.

At first I wondered if this was such a hot idea, giving other teams a chance to watch us scrimmage two weeks before the start of the season.  But they'll get an opportunity to see us by the App State game anyway; App State and Notre Dame will benefit most, but hopefully experience under the lights in front of fans will be of more use to us than the added prep time is for Notre Dame in seeing the basics/personnel of the Nussmeier offense.

08/06/2014 - 12:44pm Gameday away from the stadium

I'd have to do some sleuthing to figure out my first game (Notre Dame '91?), but many of my early gameday memories were away from the stadium.  

We used to play pickup football in the Burns Park area, and you'd hear the stadium announcer calling the game, the planes flying with banners, etc. and feel the buzz of the whole thing. Getting those yellow plastic Drake's footballs as a kid also ranks up there.  And I vividly remember my dad buying me a pair of Michigan football boxer shorts on the way to the stadium.  But the details of the earliest games are lost.  

I guess it's good to remember when the time comes that some of kids' most vivid memories are program confetti, Brown Jug cider, Michigan boxers, students "rowing", etc.

And now that I think of it: BRING BACK ROWING.

07/31/2014 - 12:42pm We've been playing since 1879.

Rather poor form on the part of the voters to not give us at least a gentleman's #22. 

07/09/2014 - 3:13pm carnage has made it interesting

Don't like to see anyone get hurt, but I was tired of seeing Cavendish and his cocky antics at the line each year -- I won't mind seeing a race with others more involved in the sprints.  I read in the press that his crash likely means he'll never wear the yellow jersey. 

It's also disappointing to see Contador among the favorites, as from Puerto to his stripped Tour title, the guy does not inspire.  Not sad to see him lose so much time today.

But it was an exciting day and I'm more interested this year than I have been in several years. 

06/06/2014 - 4:26pm End the terror

The negativity in the content here about Dave Brandon has reached such a level that although I agree with the sentiment in Bacon's article, and although I have myself written to Dave Brandon with concerns, I feel compelled to make an attempt at restoring perspective.

As a poster in the Bacon thread noted, there was a comparable drop in the early nineties after two 8-4 seasons, during which time the UM basketball team made two deep runs in the tourney.  Then, as now, it was a down year for the home schedule, and there was also an increase in ticket prices (erm, non-Brandon increase).  There was no Beyonce.  No fly-over.  No piped-in music.  No ticket policy changes. No wow factors.  No jumbotron promotions. 

I don't doubt that the (now abandoned) ticket policy from last year had an effect at the margin, but enthusiasm for Michigan football is just down, and our on-field success and prospects for future success are the most likely key drivers.  The ticket policies didn't change for non-students, and those sales have been slow, too.

Regaring enthusiasm for the coming year, take a look at HTTV.  Two years ago, after our 11-win season, it asked for $20K and it got $54,486 in pledges.  The following year it asked for $30,000 and got $69,275.  This year it asked for $30,000 and it got $37,772, hitting its funding only in the final two days.  Beyonce!  J'accuse!


06/06/2014 - 10:14am Nice

Fantastic post -- the parallels here are really striking.  The video also notes the national trend in falling sales and the back-to-back final four seasons in Michigan basketball, which is almost identical to the current situation.  And the two-year drop of 4,000 isn't so different from the projected drop from last year of 5,000-6,000. 

05/20/2014 - 1:51pm payouts

And the payout to Rutgers (and perhaps MD?) are limited, which I didn't realize: "There are also the significant financial benefits the network provides, as the member schools are projected to receive $44.5 million each in 2017-18 from the conference's next television contract. Rutgers won't be eligible for a full share until the 2020-21 school year...."


05/06/2014 - 6:03pm alumni

Interesting find -- I guess it makes sense that there would be that many Penn State alums in the NY area, given that they have 39,000 undergrads and they're probably not rushing to Philly as their regional post-grad destination.  But that's a lot.

Nonetheless, I'll take being outnumbered by students/alums from Rutgers and Penn State in basketball over being outnumbered by Indiana or even-up with students from MSU and Ohio State (and I recall MSU/OSU fans collectively cheering against us when we played other teams at the last tournament).

05/06/2014 - 12:23pm home court

It's a good point, but imagine a Michigan-MSU final in NYC from a fan advantage standpoint.  It would be a Michigan home game.

05/06/2014 - 12:05pm like

I think this is great.  I'm guessing the percentage of our alums who are in NY and DC is the highest of the Midwestern Big Ten schools, other than perhaps Northwestern. But factor in how many more alums Michigan has per year and I think we'll have the largest fan base (of the midwestern schools, who are the conference bball powers) for these tournaments.  Maryland and/or Rutgers may have more fans on hand, but neither program is a big concern right now.  I'll take that over a Midwestern tournament where we have, at best, no fan base advantage (and more likely a disadvantage to Indiana and others).

I know this is a preferred forum for Brandon-bashing, but I think this takes into account a sizable portion of Michigan's constituency -- I seem to recall that NY state was the second or third most frequent home state of Michigan students.  I'm in the East and I like the idea that once or twice a year I'll have an opportunity to drive to a game -- and it's only a few times per year that Michigan will be out here in football or basketball.

04/25/2014 - 10:57am Doyle and Donnal

"They've got true freshman Ricky Doyle and, now out of necessity, redshirt freshman Mark Donnal."

Did you get this backwards?  Isn't Doyle the one being thrown in on account of this new necessity?  Donnal looks to have had the slightly better recruiting rankings (for whatever that's worth) and, more importantly, the word I recall out of practices this year is that he got stronger and more confident, learned the system, and was performing well.

02/24/2014 - 1:35am Awesome -- thank you julesh.

I didn't realize btn aired games originally broadcast on cbs

02/23/2014 - 10:10pm Game replay

Anyone know where I can find a replay of the game?  Trying everything I can think of with CBS website/app, ondemand, etc. and no luck...

01/10/2014 - 12:54pm yep

And don't forget the win over Notre Dame.  For me, that's the most important rivalry game for Michigan (the one I want to win the most).  I get the impression that about 15-20% of the Michigan fanbase shares that view.  That win also tied the modern ND-Michigan series and gave us the opportunity to win it with a win on the road next year. 

01/03/2014 - 2:31pm Right on

I also rarely post, but I wholeheartedly agree with Keebs.  I find the extreme negative commentary about 2013 just puzzling.  I had season tickets to basketball from 1988 through the period beyond the Fab Five era, and last season was easily one of the most exhilerating and fun seasons of Michigan basketball I've experienced.  We got a banner and POY hardware for our trophy case.  It even made me start following NBA games to see how Trey and Tim are doing.  

There was no 3-9 football record, no scandal, no Appalachian State.  We have coaches who represent the University well.  We just lost some of our football games en route to a winning, if mediocre, record.  I loved UTL II.

On the non-revenue sports side, we're the landlocked University that won the national championship in swimming.  Again.  And we also won it in men's gymnastics. 

I not only disagree that this was a terrible year, I think it was actually a pretty good year. 


10/28/2013 - 12:54pm Tavern, Sweet Caroline's

I've found the Boston game watching experience is better attended (and more crowded), with a slightly younger/louder crowd than in Cambridge.  I've only seen the games when the Boston game-watching event was at a bar called The Place, but Sweet Caroline's is on a strip in Boston with several rowdy, beer-on-the-floor, early-post-college sports bars near Fenway.  I've been told it's a bit more devoted to Michigan (waitstaff with Michigan shirts, etc.).

I've been to Tavern in the Square in Cambridge many times.  It fills up, but you can generally get a table if you're there in reasonable time.  I agree with the person who said smaller attendance, and it's a bit more chill.  They reserve a section of the place, play the fight song at touchdowns, put up Michigan banners, etc.  To their great discredit, however, I went there for the basketball national championship game, and the bar had been divided half-half between Michigan fans and Louisville fans.  That's completely unacceptable for a 'Michigan bar.'  As Michigan was going down at the end of the game, Michigan fans had to endure a celebration in their own place by Louisville. 

09/19/2013 - 7:55pm Harvard

Most humiliating sports experience of my life: the basketball team's loss to Harvard in Cambridge in 2007.  John Beilein's first year at Michigan, Tommy Amaker's first year at Harvard.  The Harvard fans were chanting "We got Tom-my!" as it became clear Michigan was toast.  No matter that Jeremy Lin was on that Harvard team.  It's Harvard.  Humiliating.

08/28/2013 - 9:54am The Sports Cafe

I don't love the place, but The Sports Cafe in Piccadilly/St James has two floors with TVs on every surface and is known for showing American sports.  When I went about 5 years back, I recall that they would have, for example, the "Texas Exes" on one section of the floor, Michigan alums in another portion, etc.  I went there to watch Michigan football games several times.

08/02/2013 - 11:45am UConn

Despite the early reports that UConn would only be selling Michigan tickets in season ticket packages and to season ticket holders, they're now selling three-game packages that include the Michigan game for $120. I just checked and there are still some available.  These are upper endzone tickets only.

On stubhub, the cheapest tickets (for Michigan game alone) at the moment are around $130.  The sideline tickets are going for about $600 at the high end. 

When I spoke to the UConn ticket office, they told me single-game tickets are going on sale around Aug. 7 for all games except Michigan, and Michigan single-game tickets would go on sale the following week (estimated).  But they noted that Michigan tickets will go on sale to season ticket holders first (not sure if they'll ever make it to the general public).  

Seems like Uconn is doing a good job of getting the tickets into UConn hands first, and thus passing the consumer surplus to UConn people.  The exception appears to be these $120 packages.


07/31/2013 - 2:08pm Adidas

This is one of those times that I'm happy we're with Adidas so that we're not out marketing this guy's products every Saturday.  I'd hate to think that the Michigan apparel sales of our primary sponsor are being used to build this kind of stuff in Eugene, however small our contribution.