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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Know Your Foe - Central Michigan

On Saturday, Michigan and Central Michigan renew their intrastate rivalry. Well, maybe it’s not so much of a rivalry. It’s only the third time the Chips and the Wolves have faced each other on the gridiron. I have no idea why they haven’t played more often. Maybe Central was too busy playing Ferris State. So here’s the Week 2 version of the MZone’s KNOW YOUR FOE. After each category, we'll assess a running score, based on how Central Michigan fares in that category against Michigan.

History – CMU began as Central Michigan Normal School in 1892. It was started to better train school teachers in the state. Central was, and still is, one of the top producers of teachers in Michigan. So whether you suffered at the hands of an incompetent dictator or had a Stand and Deliver experience, you very well might have CMU to blame/thank.


LocationMount Pleasant, Michigan. Could there be a nicer sounding place? Located smack dab in the middle of the lower peninsula, CMU dominates the area. As a young high school lad, my French class traveled to Mt. Pleasant for a CMU theater troupe performance of Le Petit Prince. All I can recall is being amazed that they had every fast food franchise within walking distance. Of course, this was before the opening of the Soaring Eagle Casino. Does that make CMU the UNLV of the Midwest?


Nickname - Chippewas. Named for the Chippewa tribe, which has given its consent to the University to use the name. The tribe’s support of CMU’s appeal to the NCAA allowed the university to maintain the name. Throughout the state, young boys attending summer camp establish a loyalty to Central due to their placement in the Chippewa tent or cabin. There is no better group to represent while playing Capture The Flag.


Colors/Logo/Cheers – Maroon and Gold. Solid colors, though they could easily be mistaken for Central’s Week 1 opponent Boston College, or more likely, Florida State. Perhaps that’s why the Chippewas got rid of the Native American symbols on their helmets after the 1988 season. They went with an all maroon helmet in ’89, but have since settled on a very generic, ‘90s-style C. Their fight song is unremarkable, but I’ve always gotten a kick out of their perky “Fire Up Chips” cheer.


Academics – In addition to helping populate the state’s schools with teachers, Central Michigan offers degrees in 25 areas in eight academic divisions. Nearly 28,000 students attend CMU which is over 70% of those that attend Michigan. By any source, Michigan holds a big advantage here. But that’s no knock on Central. Whether it’s the second, third, fourth, or fifth best university in the state is for them, Eastern, Western, and Wayne State to settle. Whereas many Wolverines are downright embarrassed to admit that a sibling or, God forbid their significant other, went to State, there’s no shame in having that same person claim Central as their alma mater.


Conference – Mid-American Conference (The MAC). The conference that used to take the easy payday for a major spanking at the hands of the major powerhouses has used that money to improve their programs and have been known to upset a Big Ten team or two looking ahead to a big rival. But let’s not kid ourselves. The conference is full of directional schools, and the Wolverines are 20-0 against teams from the MAC. Though the MAC has come a long way, their champion is still relegated to play in the Motor City Bowl. There are no date in January in warm-weather destinations for the MAC.


AthleticsCentral Michigan actually won the national championship in football in 1974. The Division II championship. However, the team hasn’t won a conference title since 1994, and the basketball team only two since 1987. They’ve dominated the MAC in men’s cross country, as well as wrestling. But that doesn’t get kids across the country to wear your officially-licensed gear.


Famous alums – In addition to white guy NBAers Dan Majerle and Chris Kaman, CMU has produced former Dallas Cowboy and Survivor contestant Gary Hogeboom, actors Jeff Daniels and Terry O’Quinn, and the host of the ‘70s hit Sports Challenge, Dick Enberg.


The Chippewas put up a good fight. Maybe that’s why Michigan’s been so hesitant to invite them to Ann Arbor more often.


Anonymous said...

Just read there is now sports betting in Windsor. Now you can get rich on UM. Bet the farm!

screwa2 said...

hmmm....little hungry.....maybe something covered in gravy...naw...maybe something sweet...

....yah, a CUPCAKE would hit the spot!

Anonymous said...

if i was an elite H.S. athelete looking at programs - these are the kinds of weekends i'd remember watching games on the t.v.

DevilGrad said...

Define "warm weather." The MAC has a tie-in in Mobile, which, as you bitched about last month, is hosting its game on January 7th this year.

surrounded in columbus said...

i like cupcakes. can't play ND every week in the preconference. and NIU was still worn out from their trip to columbus last week. UC was already booked for next week. seems a lot of the cupcakes had already been spoken for...

Anonymous said...

Why, oh why, couldn't they have gone with the name Central University of Michigan?

Go CUM Go! We're CUMing to get you!


IC said...

Thanks for another interesting and informative KYF, Benny.

CMU's helmets--which are among the very worst in all of college football--are a more embarassing example of head dress than Chris Kaman's hair.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

I actually had teachers who did indeed graduate from Central Michigan.

theweiler said...

They changed their helmet logo as part of an agreement with the Chippewa tribe to retain the nickname. AND they're going to a bowl game this year. FIRE UP!! When I was a kid I remember going to CMU basketball games, and the fans would throw hundreds of rolls of toilet paper after the first basket of the year. And the football student section was a bunch of rowdies. They used to this "tastes great"/"less filling", "eat shit"/"fuck you" chant.