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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays

With the start of the 2011 Michigan Football Season just 25 days away, we kick off our blogging campaign with a countdown of the 25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays.

So until you can be there on September 3rd with 110,000 of your closest friends, do the next best thing: follow along with us here on the MZone as we count down the Maize and Blue memories that, just reading about them, might give you chills. Just thinking about them might cause you to hear the roar of the crowd. And just watching the numbers get smaller lets you know that Meeechigan football is merely days away.

#25: STATE STREET

If you live in one of the suburbs of Detroit or have ever flown into DTW and then driven in from the airport for a game, the feeling starts long before you reach the green highway sign.  It begins as you go west on I-94, passing car after maize-and-blue-adorned car.  Each heading to Exit #177:  State Street.

You inch your way up the off-ramp (nobody said doubling the size of a town was easy on traffic).  Until you're able to make that right on State Street.  You pass Briarwood Mall on your left and, when you clear the light at Eisenhower Parkway, something inside you (and outside your car) changes.

The increasing price to park means you're getting closer.  A few hearty souls park way out and trek in, but usually they're fans of the opposing team who weren't exactly sure where to park so they simply took the first thing they saw.

But not you. 

You don't even start looking until you see the Varsity Tennis Center on the left.  Because right after that comes the golf course.  You can already spot the footballs arcing above the fence, the flags flying high.  Tailgating nirvana is nigh.

Or maybe you wait until you cross over the train tracks and park in one of the student neighborhoods across from Schembechler Hall. Slip in to somebody's backyard who promises "easy in and out" even though it looks doubtful. 

By now the crowds flowing up State Street are no longer confined to the sidewalks.  Reaching McKinley, the car is the intruder, the pedestrian now king.

A party seems to be going on at each of the run-down student houses near State and Hoover.  A keg on the porch, banners draped out of the upper windows, colorful signs for the more creatively inclined.

Continuing on toward the heart of Michigan's campus, you're met by the wall of folks who've attacked A2 from the north.  South Quad, West Quad and the Student Union, where JFK announced his dream of the Peace Corp, to your left; Central Campus and the Diag to your right. 

The stage is set.  The ambiance is perfect.  The game is just around the corner. 

Or, more precisely, now just a short walk from State Street.

3 comments:

Mikoyan said...

I've taken to parking downtown. There is a pretty nice lot on William and it's not too bad of a walk.

Adam said...

Wooo! Great post. I lived at 925 State senior year in 2007/08, which is the yellow house with blue trim in your picture (just to the left of the traffic light).

I actually think this might be from that year, although it's tough to say because most years looked like this...weird and awesome.

Unfortunately, AAPD cracked down on parties there that were spilling out into the street so it's not as good as even 2 or 3 years ago. But you're right - I still head to State Street for at least an hour every gameday I can make it back to town. It's definitely worth of a top 25.

GoBlueBob said...

MGoBlue.com is doing a countdown also with video clips each day. I have never seen the State Street parties because we park at Pioneer but my youngest son has participated.