The school has undergone three name changes since then: first to Michigan State Normal College in 1899, then to Eastern Michigan College in 1956, and finally to Eastern Michigan University in 1959 -- which must have been a bitch of an unexpected stationary cost for the school seeing as they had only switched over to EMC three years prior. ("What do you mean we're changing the f**king name again?! What the hell am I going to do with all these envelopes?!")
Demetrius Ypsilantis, a hero in the Greek war for independence.
Of course, no discussion of Ypsilanti would be complete without mentioned the water tower pictured here (yes, a water tower! What did you think it looked like?). According to long-time Mzone reader Mikoyan, there are two legends surrounding it. One is that Paul Bunyan is buried there and they couldn't quite get all of him underground (no, not his thumb!). The other is that if a virgin ever graduates from EMU it will come crumbling down. INSERT JOKE HERE.
Nickname – Eagles. The nickname was changed from Hurons in 1991 and the change still angers many EMU alums. In fact, a number of them refuse to donate money to the university, with some forming an organization to bring the name back. Hurons was an excellent, unique, nickname. The Huron River runs through Ypsilanti, and the indigenous people for whom the river was named were native to southeast Michigan. Furthermore, the school had the support of two tribes. Also, by selecting the Eagles as the nickname, they've joined only 5 zillion other sports teams in the U.S. that use the Eagles nickname including Boston College, the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and every third middle school in the Midwest.
|Do you see what can happen, Dave Brandon?|
Colors - Green and White. This is a surprisingly uncommon color combination in college football. According to the College Football Tradition Web site, there are only five schools that use this combination and Michigan will be playing two of them this year. Besides EMU and, of course, Sparty the rest of the Green and White five are Marshall, North Texas, and Eastern’s conference rival, Ohio. Though Know Your Foe’s loyalty to the Wolverines has never been in doubt, the green and white combination has always been a favorite. Along with being unique, it’s crisp and classic. Besides, green’s always been our favorite color, though we had some nightmares about green at Michigan Stadium this year.
Logo – A green block “E” with a confused-looking Eagle head on the left. Along with the poor nickname choice in 1991, EMU did themselves no favors when they changed their logo in the same year. Prior to ’91, the logo was unique to EMU, and though it could have used some updating, it had the makings of a classic. Add to that the fact that they used this logo on their football helmet for almost 15 years and the shame of the name change is compounded.
Since 1991, Eastern has had changed their logo twice.
The helmet changes have come much more frequently and with even more disastrous results. Eastern has changed helmet designs every two or three years since ’91, including emulating two NFL teams. There was even a dalliance with silver on the helmets in the late ‘90s. The current version is totally generic and it even has a black facemask even though black isn’t one of EMU’s colors. Their current headgear looks like a lame high school helmet.
As always, all images of the helmets are from the incredible Helmet Project site, and the logos are from the equally wonderful SportsLogos.net.
Fight Song – Eagles Fight Song, which replaced Hurons Fight Song in 1991. Know Your Foe has to be honest here: we’d never heard the EMU fight song until doing this research. It sounds like a fight song that would be used in a 1950s movie about college. Some of the lyrics were changed after the Hurons became the Eagles (and a nod to Title IX was included), which makes the current version strange in that it doesn’t seem to be able to decide what era to be from. The lyrics invoke such old-time classics as “Fight!” “Rah!” and the truly quaint “Hold that line.” But in the middle it starts to sound like a bad Bette Midler song (okay: any Bette Midler song).
Eastern Eagles hats off to you!
Fight, fight, fight for old EMU
Look to the sky,
The Eagles will fly,
The bravest will defy
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hold that line for old green and white
Sons and daughters show your might
So FIGHT! FIGHT! for old EMU and victory
Compare those to the original:
Hurons, Hurons, Hats off to you!
Fight, Fight, Fight for old EMU.
Shout to the sky the Hurons' war cry
The bravest will defy!
Hold that line for old Green and White
Loyal sons come show your might
Fight! Fight! for old EMU and victory!
ED. NOTE: While the lyrics may sound like it, neither of these two songs were used in that one Brady Bunch episode. (Bonus MZone points if you get that reference)
Academics – According to the most recent U. S. News' ranking of America's Best Colleges, Eastern Michigan falls in the “Universities–Master's (Midwest), third tier” category with fellow Michigan schools Ferris State, Northern Michigan and U-M Flint. Eastern has long been considered a “Teacher’s College” and was the first teacher’s college outside of the original 13 states. If you went to high school in Michigan, you were likely educated by several EMU grads.
Athletics – Eastern Michigan plays in the Mid-American Conference and is in the West Division in football. Though the overall athletic program is not stellar, there have been highlights in the recent past. EMU won conference titles in eight different sports in 2006-07, a MAC record. They also have won 26 MAC titles in men’s swimming and diving (1978, 1980-1996, 1998, 2000-2005, and 2007), the most titles in one sport in the conference. And, amazingly, the then-Hurons finished second in the 1976 College World Series. The basketball team has produced a number of NBA players, and has appeared in four NCAA tournaments, highlighted by their defeat of Duke in 1996.
The football team, however, has had very limited success. They suffered through a 27-game losing streak in the early ‘80s, but did win the MAC title and the California Bowl in 1987. But that 10-2 season is the only year they’ve been able to win the MAC, and they’ve had only one winning season since. Attendance is a continuing problem, as Eastern is in a constant battle to average over the 15,000 barrier to remain at Division I-A. With over 100,000 fans getting their college football fix seven miles up the road, EMU has had to resort to night and weekday games, as well as playing one game a season at Ford Field in Detroit to boost attendance.
|Rynearson Stadium: We're not sure if this is a practice or a game as the attendance is the same|
EMU Traditions - Eastern now has a touchdown canon and they used to have a touchdown bell (which was probably rung about as much as the Liberty Bell). Our pal Mikoyan also says they jangle their keys ala annoying Michigan fans. Although, at an EMU football game with so few people, that could just be some dude pulling his keys out of his pocket to bail in the third quarter.
Famous Alums - Eastern isn’t a national university with 40,000 students, so their list of famous alums reflects that. Granted, they’ve had some decent athletes come through, most notably NBA Hall of Famer George Gervin, as well as miniature NBAer Earl Boykins, and 1990 American League Cy Young Winner Bob Welch. Looking over this list, Know Your Foe recognizes the captain from the horribly written Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a winner of Last Comic Standing, and Judge Mathis. It’s amazing they have people to profile in their alumni magazine.
The Game - Most people think this will be an easy game for Michigan. But this year - as WMU's first two drives and the first 3 quarters of the ND game proved - there will be no such thing as an easy game for the Wolverines. Yes, Michigan will win, but it will be ugly and will not be decided until the second half.
MICHIGAN - 28
EASTERN MICHIGAN - 13
|This is just...wrong|
(special thanks to Mikoyan for his help with today's KYF)