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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Maize Loud Out vs. Wisconsin

We here at the MZone haven't been shy to point out how quiet the Michigan home crowds can be. We've heard the excuses (the shape of the stadium, the lack of quality opponents, etc.) and we're just not buying it.

And we're not buying the efforts of the Michigan Athletic Department who are calling for another "Maize Out" at this Saturday's Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. Yeah, having the student section all dressed in maize will look cool on TV, but how does it really help the team?

Then again, you might ask, why does a team that shellacked Notre Dame need a lift from the crowd against Wisconsin whose best win so far was against Bowling Green?

Because the Wolverines will be coming off the biggest victory for the program in nine years. A letdown is only natural. A loud and enthusiastic crowd could be key for keeping the players focused and give them energy. Even NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley knows this. During last Saturday's pre-game show of the Auburn-LSU game, Barkley pointed out that the crowd noise wasn't only a factor in prompting mistakes by the visiting team, but was even more important in lifting the home team emotionally.

So go ahead, support the Wolverines and wear maize. But do so while yelling your lungs out, and encourage others to do the same. And what better way to do that than by also supporting a certain Michigan site by purchasing one of our new MZone t-shirts shown below. Both the "Now Do You Believe?" and "Last Season Is Over, Bitch" maize t-shirts have "Make Noise" printed on the back. These shirts celebrate the victory over the Irish and support the team as they start their quest to win the Big Ten.

Both of these shirts and many more are available at the MZone Store.





NOTE: For those living in Stockwell there's also a version of the "Last Season Is Over" without the profanity.

29 comments:

WhiteDawg said...

Thats pretty sad. You have to have t-shirts made to remind everyone you guys aren't the same team as last year.

bleedsmaizenblue said...

The tshirts are actually to remind ourselves . . . but that isn't the point.

How do we impress on these folks to make the same noise they'd make at the local bar?

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, having the student section all dressed in maize will look cool on TV, but how does it really help the team?"

Does the team really need help?

I'll say it again...

Look at their record at home under LC. Noise - or lack thereof - hasn't been a factor.

They will beat Wisconsin because:

a) they are a better team that is well-prepared, or

b) if they aren't a better team, the crowd will supply all the inspiration necessary to win

They will lose to Wisconsin if:

a) They start reading their press clippings, thinking NC and they lay an egg.

Some games are won or lost on Saturday, but this game (Wisconsin) will be won or lost from Monday to Friday. No amount of noise in the world will help or hurt that situation.

Colin said...

i don't see why factoring in the acoustics and making this crusade slightly more objective is so easily dismissed.

tdawg said...

Thank you to Michigan for beating Notre Dame!

Its hard to image a 100,000+ stadium being quiet, but I've never been to "The Big House." Thats sad that a place with such tradition and a history big games would have laid back fans.

tdawg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yost said...

Anon 8:41,

*Sigh* If you think crowd noise doesn't make any difference, why do you think that before big road games the team practices with simulated crowd noise and loud music piped in? For shits and giggles? It does make a difference. Ask any coach.

Anonymous said...

Anybody else find it ironic that Drew Sharp decided to write about Michigan State this week?

Yost said...

Anon,

We have a VERY big post ready to go on that. Just didn't want to put it up today as we thought it might get lost with all the other stuff. Look for it tomorrow.

Jeremy said...

I agree with the "who cares about the shirts, just make more noise" philosophy. But an interesting stat: Since the athletic department started promoting color unification in 2002, we are 4-3 in Blue Outs.

We are 14-0 in Maize Outs.

DevilGrad said...

Makes sense to me. Maize outs seem far more likely to scar the retinas of the visiting team.

surrounded in columbus said...

Anon,
let's ask the question the other way- do you think it could hurt to make noise? what does it really cost to try to influence the game by making things loud when the other team is trying to run its offense?

certainly, it couldn't be any worse than doing nothing, could it?

if, assuming arguendo, that there's no proof that crowd noise helps, why wouldn't you want to err on the side of caution and take a shot at it anyway? aside from having to stand up once in a while (and unless you're lance armstrong, who doesn't need more excercise?), what do you have to lose?

Yost said...

Well said, SiC.

But it's still nice to know Anon and the rest of my grandpa's friends read our blog.

Anonymous said...

I'll be there. This fan will be in section 3, row 2, wearing maize, AND more importantly screaming my ass off.

Anonymous said...

OK, Yost and SIC...

It seems that I am not doing an effective job of making myself clear.

I will try it again.

I am NOT saying that crowd noise doesn't make a difference. All teams must be prepared to handle crowd noise.

My point has three parts to it.....

Part 1

The data indicates that, to the extent that crowd noise DOES make a difference, the Michigan Stadium crowd has met and exceeded the level necessary to affect the game.

Part 2

The data indicates that in the 9 games Michigan has lost at home over the past 11+ seasons - crowd noise wasn't a factor and wouldn't have been a factor.

Part 3

The level of noise this Saturday against Wisconsin can't and won't make a difference in the outcome of the game. If UM is focused and prepared on Mon-Fri, they will beat Wisconsin like a drum. If they are not focused and prepared (see Lions in Chicago), no amount of noise will fix that problem.

Nicole said...

This sad, sad Wisconsin fan will point you to this past weekend's first half against godforsaken SDSU. I was at the game and the only thing I kept thinking during that awful stretch was "Michigan's going to kick our ass."

The defense has failed to show up until the 2nd or 3rd series. You can get away with that against SDSU, but by the 3rd series, Michigan will be up on us by 3 TDs.

Screw crowd noise, you guys could send in your practice squad at this rate and walk all over us.

surrounded in columbus said...

Anon,
it's not that you're not clear, it's that i think you're just wrong.

#1- how can you tell it was "enough"? in an endless count of variables, unless you've won EVERY game at home, you can't make any conclusions that anything was "enough".

and as for counting games we have won, that really doesn't provide a basis for not trying to do better, does it??

seriously, what if you could somehow ID a game that we won despite a lack of crowd noise? i don't see how that is some sort of rationale for NOT trying to make more noise.

#2- what "data" indicates that noise wasn't a factor in the losses? i read some of your earlier comments. i don't see how can you reconstruct and show that that at any point in a game, a louder crowd wouldn't have effected the outcome.

the simplest example- what if people had been louder on any one of ND's drives of the '05 game? what if ND had missed a snap count/audible, fumbled a snap, ran a wrong route, or just had a procedure penalty?

we lost 3 home games last year by a single score. in a game decided by a single score (or even two) there's no way of knowing what could have changed the game.

#3- you have no idea what will influence the game this saturday. what if the qb can't hear his wr call out that he's got man coverage? or the line can't hear if the qb audible something? again you can't possibly know what will effect the game. more importantly, you can't possibly predict WHEN crowd noise can effect a game.

which is why, as i noted in previous comments, fans need to make noise/cheer pretty much every play for every game. it's not the ballet- the prima donnas on the field won't walk off in a huff if the crowd is loud.

crowd noise, like weather, could make a difference at ANY time, and that difference could be the difference in ANY game.

since you can't predict when that will happen, ideally, you should cheer EVERY defensive play. it couldn't hurt. it could very well help, and you have NOTHING to lose by trying.

what could it hurt for people to make more noise???

Yost said...

SiC,

You beat me to the punch: I was also going to ask Anon what "data" he was referring to. I must have missed that on CrowdNoiseData.org/ Michigan.

Reed4AU said...

Where's the post about Clarett's plea bargain? Don't pound him too much he'll get enough of that, but a little is necessary.

Anonymous said...

OK, SIC, I'll bite.

Here's how I can tell it was "enough" (enough = sufficient). During the LC "era", UM's record at home is 64-9. By definition, the crowd noise (whatever it was, high or low) was "enough" to win 64 times in 73 tries. The "absence" of crowd noise can only be considered a negative factor in the 9 losses.

Now, let's take a look at a few of those losses.

Northwestern 1995 - Two 4th quarter interceptions thrown by a young Brian Griese cost us this game. The first interception deep in Michigan territory led to a quick NW TD. Later, crowd noise (it was loud) may have been a factor in holding NW to only a field goal after they drove to the UM 4. The second interception was thrown on 4th down at the end of the game. So, unless you'll argue that crowd noise during a UM offensive series would have inspired Griese to avoid the interceptions, crowd noise was not a factor. (If you will argue that, perhaps we should all bring rabbit feet and eye-of-newt to the games, too!)

Penn State 1996 - Five turnovers AND a blocked punt for a TD late in the 3rd sealed this one. Still, it was PSU and it was loud, until Enis went 38yds UNTOUCHED after another Dreisbach interception with less than 5 minutes to go. Again, if crowd noise would have inspired Dreisbach to better accuracy, or would have encouraged someone to actually BLOCK someone on punt protection, well....

Syracuse 1998 and Iowa 2002 - We were beaten like red-headed stepchildren from the opening drives of these games. They speak to an unthinkable lack of preparedness - not an absence of crowd noise. We were inexplicably still in the Iowa game until Curry fumbled a punt inside the UM 20, opening the floodgates to an Iowa rout. By the way, two running QBs = two befuddled defenses = two big losses.

OSU 2001 and OSU 2005 - Sorry. There is never a lack of noise against Ohio State. In 2001 you can blame Navarre for 4 ints and Walker for dropping a potential game-winning TD - but don't blame the crowd. Similarly, it wasn't crowd noise that permitted Troy Smith to waltz down the field to a game-winning TD after our offensive coaches lacked the gamesmanship to grab for the victory on their last possession.

Illinois 1999 and Minnesota 2005 - Both of these games were lost when UM allowed 50+ yd runs the last minute of play. Did you ever considered that the crowd noise interfered with the ability of Hermann's defenses to communicate with each other - thereby leaving them woefully out of position and unfit to make the critical tackles in these games?

Notre Dame 2005 - Let's see if I understand this correctly: More crowd noise might have made the difference against ND - but the inability of the offense (read LC, Malone, Henne) to convert not one, not two, but THREE first downs INSIDE the ND 5 yd line wasn't the overwhelming cause of yet another wasted opportunity against ND?

Wow!

So....

"#1- how can you tell it was "enough"? in an endless count of variables, unless you've won EVERY game at home, you can't make any conclusions that anything was "enough"."

Of course I can, and I will. Crowd noise was clearly not a factor in 64 wins. Crowd noise was clearly not a factor in 5 of 9 losses. If crowd noise was a factor in the other 4 losses, it was way down the list of factors behind remarkably poor performances by both players and coaches.

"and as for counting games we have won, that really doesn't provide a basis for not trying to do better, does it??"

Where does it end? I'm all for continuous improvement but there's a limit. And, as individuals, we all get to set those limits ourselves. Of course, you'll need to respect the principle of non-interference (which means: you can do anything you like right up to the point where it interferes with the rights of others).

"seriously, what if you could somehow ID a game that we won despite a lack of crowd noise? i don't see how that is some sort of rationale for NOT trying to make more noise."

Why are you doing it if it isn't necessary to help the team win? Are you intentionally trying to disturb your neighbors? What about the principle of non-interference? Hey, if we win games without crowd noise then it is - by definition - not necessary.

"#2- what "data" indicates that noise wasn't a factor in the losses? i read some of your earlier comments. i don't see how can you reconstruct and show that that at any point in a game, a louder crowd wouldn't have effected the outcome.?"

Well....as I said above....Penn State. Syracuse. Iowa. OSU twice. Crowd noise wasn't a factor. NW and Notre Dame should be placed at the feet of horrible offensive blunders. Minnesota and Illinois can be attributed to coaching and horrible defensive blunders. Could crowd noise have affect 2 of those games? Maybe. But not more than two.

"the simplest example- what if people had been louder on any one of ND's drives of the '05 game? what if ND had missed a snap count/audible, fumbled a snap, ran a wrong route, or just had a procedure penalty?"

Hey, don't lay ND at the feet of the crowd. The crowd didn't blow three 1st downs inside the 5 yard line. Don't look for a complicated, tenuous explanation when a simple, obvious one will do.

"we lost 3 home games last year by a single score. in a game decided by a single score (or even two) there's no way of knowing what could have changed the game."

Of course there is. You're giving yourself way too much credit. Players play. Coaches coach. Fans watch. You're third on that list for a reason: you have little or no impact on the game, no matter you want to believe. Again, don't go looking for excuses in the stands when there are basketfuls of reasons on the field that explain those 9 losses.

"#3- you have no idea what will influence the game this saturday. what if the qb can't hear his wr call out that he's got man coverage? or the line can't hear if the qb audible something? again you can't possibly know what will effect the game. more importantly, you can't possibly predict WHEN crowd noise can effect a game."

Of course I have a great idea what will influence the game this Saturday. UM's level of preparation on Monday-Friday. If they are well prepared, the game will be over by halftime. If not, no amount of crowd noise in the world will correct that deficiency.

"which is why, as i noted in previous comments, fans need to make noise/cheer pretty much every play for every game. it's not the ballet- the prima donnas on the field won't walk off in a huff if the crowd is loud."

Fans don't "need" to make noise every play - and 64 wins in 73 tries proves it. UM fans seem to know when to make noise and how much noise to make. If fans can make a difference, UM fans have a great record and deserve credit for it. Hey, when the game is seriously in doubt - against top 10 teams - UM is 8-1 at home under LC. Shouldn't the fans get all the credit for that great record?

"crowd noise, like weather, could make a difference at ANY time, and that difference could be the difference in ANY game."

Sure it can. And UM fans have been very successful in making this difference. As you can see, they've only lost a handful of close games - and they've ALWAYS shown up for the big games. That's what the record shows.

"since you can't predict when that will happen, ideally, you should cheer EVERY defensive play. it couldn't hurt. it could very well help, and you have NOTHING to lose by trying."

Of course not. There's no point to screaming your fool head off when the game isn't in doubt. Let the kids play and enjoy it for what it is - sport.

"what could it hurt for people to make more noise???"

It often interferes with the ability of people to enjoy the game. Period. No one complains about standing up and screaming when the game is being contested - but how many games are truly being contested?

Vanderbilt? CMU? Ball State? Northwestern? Of course not.

You'll hear a little noise at the beginning for Wisconsin, then the beating will set in.

You'll hear a great deal of noise for MSU and Iowa - as long as the game is in doubt.

That is as it should be.

And if "it couldn't hurt" is the test - we should bring every single talisman we can concoct - four leaf clovers and crippled rabbits be damned! Hey, maybe I can rub your wife/girlfriend's tummy for good luck? It couldn't hurt! And she'd probably scream so loud the other team is sure to be affected.

Scalzi said...

How about ...

English 101:
pres-sure-[presh-er] verb.
1.harassment; oppression
2.a constraining or compelling force or influence
3.urgency, as of affairs or business
???

Jeremy said...

Anon, you're a stodgy old turd with your panties in a bunch. I hope you buy a luxury box seat when they're built so I don't have to put up with you scowling when I'm having a great time screaming my head off at football games.

I bet you don't clap when your 5 year old son scores a goal for his soccer team because he probably can't hear you anyway.

surrounded in columbus said...

Anon,
i have to admit i'm impressed w/ the detail you put into your comment, but still say your logic is still way off.

now, i don't claim to know all that much about football from a '1st hand' perspective, but everybody who does know anything about it seems to agree w/ me on this one. Red Berenson says you're wrong. every football coach in america says you're wrong. every sports analysts in america (and probably the world) says your wrong.

i can't think of anyone who agrees w/ you on this. in fact, i can't find a single sports "anyone" who doesn't consider crowd noise a factor. i'd welcome any cite you could provide to anyone who agrees w/ you on this one.

but hey, it's a free country. you want to sit on your hands and read drew sharp's column during the games, go right ahead. no law says you have to make any noise if you don't want to.

at the same time, remember everyone else has a right to stand if they want. it is a football game, after all.

Jeremy said...

Furthermore, if you really think fan noise can't have an impact on the game, I invite you to come to one of the volleyball games this weekend at Cliff Keen Arena.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zone_%28Michigan%29

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:04-

That was simply the most amazingly long and detail post I've ever seen. I will have to take your word that the support in there is sufficient. I didn't have 2 hours to read it all.

Wow...just wow.

Colin said...

This is really about making sure we maximize our homefield advantage. I have yet to see any comparison of our overall record to our home record in comparison to other Big Ten and top schools around the country. It's an argument begun without any sort of objective analysis.

Brad said...

I can see both sides of the issue here, and I think anon (the long one) made a good point. UM fans know when it's necessary to make noise and when it isn't.

Seriously, who's going to scream and yell their heads off when we're up by 40 on EMU? Nobody, it's ridiculous.

On the other hand, I remember going to the opener against Colorado in 1997. CU was highly ranked and it was a big game, the crowd was vocal and the defense fed of it. And although I didn't go, I'm told by some who did the crowds against '97 and '03 OSU were as loud as any they remember.

We're Michigan. I think we're smart enough to figure out which games are the big ones, and respond appropriately. Are there consistantly louder crowds out there? Sure, notably in the SEC. But remind me again which program has won the most games *in history*?

Brad said...

Oh, and one other thing... our insistance on noon start times at home is a MAJOR factor in reducing crowd noise.

Which student section will be louder, the one that just rolled out of bed or the one that's spent 5-6 hours getting loaded up?

Anonymous said...

"Now do you believe, Bitch"

Wow you're a genius