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Friday, September 30, 2011

Know Your Foe - Minnesota 2011

Your undefeated Michigan Wolverines host the (very much not undefeated) Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday to open Big Ten play as well as battle for The Little Brown Jug. These two teams have not played since 2008 when Rich Rod got a rare Big 10 (and away) victory, 29-6.  Since first playing in 1892 during Fred Jackson's 3rd season as Michigan's RB coach, these two U-Ms have faced each other 97 times, with Michigan holding a commanding 70-24-3 advantage in the series.

But you knew all that.  What you didn't know is below in the fifth weekly installment of Know Your Foe 2011.

This looks like some coin
recovered from a shipwreck
History – Founded in 1851, the original campus overlooked the Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River (yes, the Mississippi divides the Twin Cities), but it was later moved about a mile to its current location. During the Civil War, the school shut down following a financial crisis (probably The Jessup's Trading Post, Saloon and Bank mortgage meltdown caused by those shitty Louisiana Purchase derivatives). It reopened in 1867 - with the help of Minneapolis entrepreneur John Sargent Pillsbury, (yes, that Pillsbury)- and was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869. There was no graduating class until 1873 when two students received their diplomas (and thus setting the stage going forward for the all-time shittiest class reunions in recorded human history).

Location – The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Yes, there is a campus in each city, kind of like North Campus and Central Campus in Ann Arbor (they even have their version of the Bursley Bus connecting the two). Though the winters in Minnesota last about 11 ½ months, the Twin Cities are actually a fun place. There’s a legacy of great music – Prince, The Replacements, Husker Du and Lazy Bill Lucas (props to Bill for overcoming his laziness and making something out of himself). Mary Tyler Moore lived there, too.

Nickname – Golden Gophers. Goldy the Gopher to be exact.  After being chosen as the state's official animal in 1857, Minnesota was declared the Gopher State. Taking advantage of this natural connection, Minnesota football coach Clarence Spears named his team the Gophers in 1926. Several years later, Bernie Bierman’s champion football team was coined the “golden swarm,” a reference to their gold-colored jerseys, and the team soon became the “Golden Gophers.”

Have to say, a mascot named after the vermin/varmit/varmint from Caddyshack doesn't quite strike fear into an opponent's heart.  Plus, even with such a fine dental school on campus, you'd think the actual Minny mascot would get his teeth fixed by now.  But maybe it's just me.

We're told Goldy "energizes thousands of student fans as they chant 'Ski-U-Mah,' a rally cry that means 'Victory UM.'" We at the MZone think it actually just means "another reason not to have a mascot roaming the sidelines.  Ever."

Colors/Logo –Maroon and Gold.  While they use Goldy the Gopher a lot as a logo, on their helmets, they have that funky "M" with those weird serifs on them. They’ve used some version of it on their headgear since at least 1968. They haven’t given in to the temptation to modernize it and have it move forward like Wisconsin and Purdue. Of course those teams have been to a few Rose Bowls since 1962.

This season they added a decal to their helmets in memory of former head coach Murray Warmath, who died earlier this year. They've also added dread locks to the QB in the hopes he'll play like Denard.  But with losses so far this year to New Mexico State, North Dakota State and some crap-ass team called USC, it doesn't seem to be helping much.

Fight Song - The Minnesota Rouser is a very underrated fight song, though the title sounds like a porno movie from 1955 or a drink somebody talks you into trying at 1 a.m.  The song was originally known as Minnesota, Hats Off To Thee, and was written by a church choir director. Know Your Foe practically guarantees you've heard it and you might have even hummed it to yourself without even knowing whose fight song it was.

Academics – According the latest U.S. News and World Report Ranking, Minnesota is the #68 National University. That ties it with Clemson and Rutgers, and places them ahead of #71 -- Michigan State (and also Big Ten schools Indiana and Nebraska, the league slacker at #101).  It has a total undergad population of 33,607 and accepts just under 48% of its applicants

In his 2007 Minnesota KYF, Benny claimed that the pride of the University is the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute which ranks among the top 15 professional schools of public affairs at public universities in the country. I beg to differ.  I saw that the school is over 52% female and apparently has coeds going there like the girl pictured here:


Stadium/Fans - The Gophers got a shiny new home for football in  2009 called TCF Stadium which is sometimes referred to as "The Bank" or "The Gopher Hole."  Unfortunately for the football team, as is often the case with gopher holes in real life, usually others simply come and destroy what is inside leaving nothing but greasy, grimey gopher guts behind.

Athletics – If it weren't for hockey, wrestling and football glory from over 50 years ago, the sports tradition at Minnesota would be pretty lame.  Academic fraud wiped out their lone Men's basketball Final Four appearance (as opposed to the cheating that wiped out our most recent FFs in the early 90s). But Williams Arena is one of the more unique places to play with those sunken benches. How no one gets hurt diving for a ball, I don’t know. Plus it forced former head coach Clem Haskins to sit on a bar stool, which was kind of cool.

Famous alums – Kinda like their sports history: good, not great.  From B-list TV actors (Loni Anderson, John Astin, Peter Graves, TR Knight and Kate Mulgrew); to Robert Gore, the inventor of Gore-Tex (the cold weather material, not the robotic inventor of the Internet); to two vice presidents (and presidential election losers) Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.  And in the Space, Bitches, Space category, they have two astronauts, but no presidents.  However, they do have Erica, Nicole, and Jaclyn Dahm of Playboy fame.

The Game – Minnesota is just plain awful, with some added bad luck thrown in: first year head coach Jerry Kill, a man with a name so cool, we did an MZone video about it when he was first hired...



...has had some well documented and very serious medical issues this season which may or may not keep him from coaching this weekend.  We wish him the best for a full and speedy recovery. 

As for the game, this really should be over early and make us all feel great about virtually every aspect of our team. I'll take it.  Put it this way, if we don't see #7 at QB for a lot of the second half, something is seriously wrong.

Real U-M - 48
Other U-M - 7

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nobody Puts Denard in a Corner

Now playing at the MZone Theater.


ED. NOTE: I know, I know. But after seeing Andy's Wallpaper and this pic numerous times, I couldn't resist the funny.  Just be thankful I couldn't find the actual clip of the above or instead of this 'Shop, you'd be watching an MZone video to this song.

25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays: #16 The Turnstile & Tunnel

After a longer-than-expected delay, we continue counting down the 25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays.  Today, we jump back in with...

#16: The Turnstile and Tunnel

Must have been Bachelor Party Day at The Big House
Where the hell are the female fans?
Number 16 on our list could have just as easily been called "Anticipation."  Because that's what going through the turnstile and heading down the tunnel toward your seat are really all about.

It started when I was a kid going to my first games at The Big House.  The moment I went through the turnstile and saw the perforated portion of my ticket get torn off was the moment that everything changed: I was no longer going to the game, I was at the game. My excitement, which had been building all day, immediately went from 10 to 11.  It was one louder.

Moving past the turnstile, I was instantly confronted with the criss-cross of people whizzing past, left to right and right to left.  And just beyond them was the promised land.  No, not the stadium (not yet, at least).  I'm talking about the guy selling game programs.

The frog had it easy compared to
fans at The Big House
That's when things turned into a human game of Frogger as I attempted to slice through the cross-current of maize and blue bodies to get to Senor Program Guy.  I'm convinced that such a risky and tricky endeavor would be an excellent test of a young running back's skill set.  If one can make it through the crush of (maize and) blue hairs and sometimes-drunk students without getting knocked over, he just might have a future in football. 

Once my program was secured, we'd head for the stadium and our seats.  Depending on the section and our arrival time, we'd either be able to walk right up to the stadium or we'd have to wait in line to get to our seats (Memo to the folks who'd always try to race across the grassy knoll to sneak in at the front of the line after I'd been waiting for 20 minutes with my family: Go fuck yourselves).

Then we'd begin the trek down the tunnel in our section.

This all brings me to one of my favorite things about The Big House, probably even more so before the recent upgrades: how deceiving it looked from outside.  Because so much of "the hole that Yost dug" was concealed below ground before one entered.  So much so that many people often don't think it looks "that big" -- until they reached the end of the tunnel.

For me, making that walk and seeing...something...up ahead truly was "the light at the end of the tunnel."  I couldn't see the stadium...yet.  I couldn't really hear anything...yet.  But it was there, just steps away. 

And then I would reach the stadium staff in their yellow jackets.  "Ticket, please."  But I was barely paying attention at that point as my dad showed them our tickets and the Man in the Yellow Coat pointed up or down.  I was in awe.  There were the Michigan Wolverines warming up down below.  There was Schembechler - Bo Schembechler! - arms crossed at midfield, eying his troops.  The block M.  The press box.

And me.  Heading to my seat.  About to watch a Meeechigan football game.

Hell, I get chills just typing these words in a blog post.  All these years after those first games.  Sitting here late at night, I'm honest-to-God smiling as I write and remember some of the specifics that began my journey as a lifelong Michigan fan (yes, Dave Brandon, even without a mascot).  And you know what?  It hasn't changed.  The little boy still living inside the man who writes these words continues to feel the same excitement on game day.  When my ticket is taken, each time I walk down that tunnel.

So because of those memories and more, the turnstile and tunnel are #16 on the MZone's list of the 25 Things We Love About Michigan Football Saturdays.

"Then I saw a bright light at the end of the tunnel,
and I knew everything was going to be okay."

(U-M pictures via Ann Arbor.com and Wuebbling @Flickr)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Seriously, dude?

You're at the Michigan game, cheering the Wolverines on, when you notice the BTN camera suddenly pointing your way.  Quick, what do you do?

If you're this asshat you...fly a double bird?

Dude, you are an absolute embarrassment.  And no, I don't care if you call yourself a Michigan fan (I certainly don't).  If you're a regular reader, you know we have a zero tolerance for this crap, even if it's done by someone "cheering" for the Maize and Blue.  'Cause this is the slippery slope stuff that leads to a gameday atmosphere where things get out of hand, like when this sort of nonsense is directed at opposing fans instead of directly into a camera. 

Even worse, while this sort of thing is (thankfully) not something that happens often at The Big House, it will be used to equate Michigan fans with more, shall we say, "passionate" fan bases.  Fans of schools such as, oh, I don't know, Ohio State - where "Fuck Michigan!" is tossed around like a holiday greeting, the school president once had to apologize to an entire fan base and wearing your Michigan gear is done at your own risk - who will point to your classless gesture as way to say, "See!  It's the same at Michigan!"

So nice going, jackhole.


(I don't know if "Hat Tip" is the right word for leading me to this pic, but I found it on Gerd's Michigan Monday.  Also, if you'd like to see the actual BTN clip of the above still, check out MGoDisney's YouTube vid of the 3rd quarter and go to the 7:30 mark.)

Wallpaper Wednesday: HAIL!

Got the following email from our long lost pal Andy this week:

Just in case you are looking for a wallpaper to post on Wednesday.  Here is one I made this morning while sitting thru a con call.

Memo to self: Make sure Andy gets stuck on more conference calls.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What your mom would be like as an Ohio State fan

Ever wonder what your mom would be like if she were an Ohio State fan?  The MZone has uncovered the answer and it ain't pretty.

Yesterday, I stumbled across the clip below entitled Mom + Ohio State Buckeyes Game.  The YouTube description below the video reads, "This is sooooo funny!!!! She only acts like this when she watches a ohio state buckeyes game."  But after watching, I think you'll agree with my hunch that that's probably not true. 

Now, you'll have to pardon the picture quality of the clip since the SOB (son of a buckeye) shooting it was apparently using a full-sized VHS camcorder circa 1988 lit through the haze of mom's cigarette smoke.  But you can can hear the audio loud and clear.

Oh, can you hear the audio (which starts around the :25 second mark)...



Folks, not to get all film critic-y, but rarely does a YouTube clip work on so many wonderful levels.  From the utter lack of football knowledge, to the constant f-bombs in front of her kid(s) recording the event, to my favorite bit of "dialogue" uttered over the last year:

"Yes!  We are the shit!  C'mon now, get that field goal, motherfuckers!  Give mommy $40 dollars."

Wow.

There are no words except bravo.  Bravo and congratulations, ma'am, on your nomination for the MZone's coveted Mother of the Year award.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Greatest. MZone. Email. Ever.

Following Michigan's thrilling come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame, I put up this post about how the only thing that could have possibly made the victory any sweeter was if legendary Meeechigan announcer Bob Ufer had called it, especially U-M's final, miracle TD with :02 seconds left.  To illustrate what that might have been like, I made the following video:



The response to the video from the Maize and Blue faithful was very gratifying.  It's amazing what kind of impact "old man Ufer" still has on Michigan fans some 30 years after his passing.

Then I got the email below via the MZone YouTube account last week.  I think it's the best email ever received here at the MZone:

Good Evening,

Tom Ufer (son) and I are here tonight watching the YouTube video you uploaded of the greatest voice of MEEEECHIGAN football along with his sidekick, the "Bo 'George Patton'!!

We are in tears! GREAT edit!

As you may or may not know, Tom and his family run The Bob Ufer Foundation (www.ufer.org) and annually give scholarships to Ann Arbor area high school seniors for college tuition.

Tom would like to learn if you are interested in linking the clip and your site/blog to the foundation site and/or any other way to promote and support the cause honoring his dads legacy.

Thanks!

DM

Folks, that email made my day.  I was truly touched and thrilled that the late and great Robert Frost Ufer's son had seen the video and liked it.  And we here at the MZone would like to help promote and support the cause honoring Bob Ufer's legacy. 

According the Ufer website linked in the email above, "The Bob Ufer Foundation was established by the Ufer family in 1997 with a mission to raise funds to support youth activities and scholarships in the Ann Arbor community. As a major sponsor of the annual Superball 3 on 3 basketball tournament, our Foundation has helped raise money to fund teacher grants in grades K-12 in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Other programs supported include the Ann Arbor YMCA building fund, C.O.P.E. Center for Occupational and Personalized Education, Common Bond, and student independent projects at the local high schools. Purchase of the Ufer CDs as well as tax deductible contributions to the Foundation, will perpetuate this commitment to the community. "

That's in addition to The Bob Ufer Memorial Scholarship Fund, which originated in 1983 and "is to be utilized to provide four scholarships to students in Ann Arbor who exemplify the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence, as well as the enthusiasm and love of life, which characterized Bob Ufer’s life.

Scholarships totaling $20,000 are awarded annually to seniors from Ann Arbor Huron and Ann Arbor Pioneer High Schools who will be attending the U of M. The Scholarship Fund now totals over $445,000. Over 110 scholarships totaling $515,000 have been awarded over the past 26 years."

So if you can donate, please do.  And if you call yourself a Meeechigan fan but don't already own the Ufer CDs, for cryin' out loud, do yourself a favor and get them.  You'll quickly understand why Bob Ufer was - and still is - so beloved.

Pam Ufer Wood and Tom Ufer present Lloyd Carr with a
$250,000 endowment check for athletic scholarshops
to the University of Michigan

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Michigan vs. San Diego State Open Thread

Leave us your thoughts on all things college football and Michigan/SDSU throughout the day.

GO BLUE!


(Pic via DeviantArt)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Know Your Foe - San Diego State

Special thanks to all who helped keep the MZone chugging alone this week whilst The Man was holding me down.  The help continues today with Ron submitting the San Diego State edition of Know Your Foe.

The Michigan Wolverines (3-0) host the San Diego State Aztecs (3-0) at the Big House this weekend, in a battle of unbeaten teams.  This matchup has special significance since U-M's Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator left SDSU to come to Michigan last January (causing former SDSU football player Kyle Turley's head to nearly explode).  The schools have only met one other time, in 2004, with the Wolverines winning 24-21. So it's time to learn more amazing facts in this week's exciting edition of Know Your Foe.

History: Founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School (uh, what's with all the "normal" school founding names?), SDSU is the largest and oldest higher education facility in the greater San Diego area as well as one of the oldest universities in California. It started out primarily educating future elementary school teachers and even became San Diego State Teachers College in 1923, run by the State Board of Education.  The school then dropped "Teachers" from its title in 1935, and in 1970, became San Diego State University.


Location: Located just off I-8 in San Diego, CA, the campus overlooks Mission Valley. The campus has a plethora of old historic buildings, including the Aztec Bowl, the school's former football stadium that only held 12,592 people (or as that's known at the Big House: the # of people waiting to go to the bathroom at any given time in Section 7) and the Hardy Memorial Tower, which holds a 5000 gallon water tank that provided pressure for the campus plumbing system.

According to College Prowler, the weather and the local atmosphere are among the highlights.

Nickname Fortunately, after going through several god-awful nicknames like  "Normalites," "Professors," and "Wampus Cats," (okay, we like that one) SDSU came to their senses in 1924 and a committee selected Aztecs. 

Mascot: Monty Montezuma, intended to represent the Aztec emperor, was the first mascot, though unofficial. According the University President, "The original Monty came out of a teepee and chased co-eds around, if you can imagine that." (Uh, we not only can, but still wish it was happening.  MEMO TO DAVE BRANDON: You come up with a mascot that chases co-eds, the MZone might be able to support that). In 2003, the students and alumni elected a more generic and historically accurate Aztec warrior as the official mascot. This did not end the controversy, with many student groups calling it racist. As someone mentioned on MGOBLOG, I guess the NCAA is okay with Native Mexican Mascots, but not Native American Mascots.

Colors/Logo/Helmets: After having colors that were too close to a local high school, in 1928, SDSU students voted and, by a vote of 346-201, Scarlet and Black beat out Purple and Gold to become the official school colors.  No word if Turley is still pissed about this, too.

According to the official SDSU athletic website, "One of San Diego State's most honored traditions is the all-black uniform the Aztecs wear when playing at home. The "look" has become as much a part of Aztec football as the forward pass. In fact, the concept was the brainchild of the man who brought the modern passing game not only to San Diego State, but to college football - Don Coryell."

Couldn't find much history on the logo. They have a couple for the athletic teams. The one on the left is pretty good.  The one on the right is...the one on the right.


  

Fight Song: In 1936, the school President asked music department junior Frank J. Losey to become the school's band director and also come up with a new school fight song (what did you do your junior year?).  Losey wrote the original lyrics at his parents' dinner table (thus explaining the mustard stains on the sheet music).

Losey's lyrics have evolved over time into the present lyrics sung by the football team in the locker room after each victory.

SDSU Fight Song 

Fight on and on ye Aztec men
Sons of Montezuma
We will win again
Keep your spirits high
Never bow a knee
We will fight till victory

Fight on and on ye Aztec men
Proudly raise your banners high
For it's the Red and Black
Hail to our team
San Diego Aztecs fight! 


ED. NOTE:  For the record, the MZone thinks it's really a bad idea to have someone with the word "Lose" in their name write your school's fight song.

Traditions: Two unique traditions came up during my research. First, "S" Mountain. Started in 1931, rocks were painted to form a gigantic "S" on Cowles Mountain and lit at night by the freshman for the opening game of the season.  Pretty cool.  But not as cool as number two...

An undie run. It's just like it sounds: students strip down at midnight and run across campus. The pics and video fit right in at the Mzone (and you thought you were gonna get stuck with "S" Mountain pix).







Football program: SDSU had great success before moving to D1 status.  They have won thirteen conference championships and three national championships (pre-D1).

A member of the Mountain West Conference, the Aztecs play their home games at Qualcomm Stadium, which has a tad more than 12,000 seats. They've played in 9 bowls since 1948, including last year at the Poinsetta Bowl, which was a victory over Navy.

Other Athletics:They carry most of the common varsity sports, have quite few conference and National championships as well. Not a bad history at all.

Famous Alumni: SDSU's list of notable alums include founder of Jack and the Box, Marion "Mrs. C" Ross, Carl "Apollo Creed" Weathers, Raquel "Look at those!" Welch, terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, and Ted Giannoulas -- the San Diego Chicken.  Most importantly: no astronauts, no Presidents.

The Game: This figures to be a real test for both the D and the offense. We better not start slow or we could be in trouble. But still, in Denard we trust:

Michigan 35
Sand Diego State 10

From the Editor

Busy week at work but will do my best to keep feeding the blogging beast (with new posts below this one).  Hopefully some of the outstanding guest bloggers who've been helping of late will come up with some gems to fill in the gaps (hint, hint, hint).

Sincerely,

The Management

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Would Ron Burgundy Do?

The increasingly prolific Michigan Sports Girl strikes again with another post here on the MZone.  Be sure to check her out on Twitter @SupportBradyHoke.

Never mind new Aztec head coach Rocky Long’s insistence that he and Coach Hoke’s former team are genuinely happy that he now has the chance to live his dream. Never mind that Coach is still in contact with the SDSU staff -- not to talk football, but family. Never mind that Hoke made his intentions very clear to SDSU officials regarding any future opportunities at Michigan before he signed his contract in San Diego. Never mind that SDSU is 3-0 and touting the nation’s second-leading RB while dominating their competition thus far. Never mind the respect that both universities and each coaching staff have for one another. Never mind that the current group of Aztec players and staff have moved forward post-Hoke.

None of that matters...to one SDSU alum.

Yes, Kyle Turley is still mad.

The helmet-throwing, obscene-gesture making, slur-wielding and self-proclaimed ambassador of San Diego State, Kyle Turley, still has his nightie in a knot over Coach Hoke’s move to Ann Arbor back in January.

The picture that Turley is trying to paint going into the game this weekend is quite colorful -- in a nanny-nanny-poo-poo sort of way. His use of his quasi-creative references are nothing short of borderline outrageous, referring to Coach Hoke as both “a parent who ran out on his family” and as an “ex-wife who one day leaves the house and doesn’t say why until you hear from her lawyer the next day.”

His not-so-eloquent use of expletives has also been enjoyable to witness in his many public forums, including Twitter. My favorite tweet? “Brady Hoke’s dream job is about to turn into his worst *ucking nightmare. GO AZTECS!” Nice.

Oh, and don’t forget his steadfast prediction that our loss to SDSU on Saturday will lead Coach Hoke to be “fired from his dream job.” Really, Kyle? Laughable.

But Coach is just Coach, taking all of Turley’s affirmations in stride.

In his simple, matter-of-fact, good ol’ boy manner, Coach Hoke addressed Turley’s displeasure diplomatically, saying: "Y'know what, Kyle and I really started to build a pretty good relationship and I understand his reactions and his sentiments. We were on winter break, and I had to be on a plane to Michigan that day. No time for official goodbyes. But I'll reach out to him. I have bigger fish to fry with what we're trying to get set up here.” A classy response to the ramblings of a lunatic if I do say so myself.

And with Turley firmly insistent that “karma will be a factor” in Saturday’s game, perhaps HE should be the one to consider the eternal question: What would Ron Burgundy do?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You call it nuts, I call it doing my part for the team

MZone reader Steve, proprietor of the blog Michigan meets S.C., submits this guest post about his "rituals" when the maize and blue play.  I think we might be related.

Way back in the off season somewhere between the 2005 and the 2006 campaigns I broke down and a purchased a new maize shirt. Nothing special, mind you, just a plain shirt with the word ‘Michigan” emblazoned across the front.

Don't f**k with the windsock!
Now, as you recall, the 2006 season was especially good to us.  Going into the OSU game, we were 10-0 -- something we all know was owed to “the shirt”.  So I’m not saying I’m superstitious or anything, but well, don’t screw with my lucky stuff on game day.

Which leads us to this season.

My wife removed a Michigan windsock from our deck the day after the Notre Dame game and I thought I would wet myself. Here we were riding high at 2-0 -- a day after one of the most thrilling victories in Michigan history -- and she removed one of the main reasons why! (although a non-believer might call it a faded rag hanging from three strings.  But what do they know about messing with football karma?)

In the recliner during a game, I don’t mess with much: my drink, the remote, nothing.

If we’re doing well.

 If not, I start changing things around. I remember one year sucking it up against OSU. I changed to the couch in the 3rd quarter and the comeback was on. MLB manages will not step on the baseline when going out the mound to give the pitcher his walking papers for the evening. They must be nuts -- I'm just helping my team.

During the timeout at the end of the ND game, :08 seconds remaining, and I’m sitting on the deck watching the game (I watched the first half inside and, as you know, that didn't work so well).  Meanwhile, my wife was inside watching the game. But during that timeout, she comes out pacing and rubbing my neck! For God’s sake!  Not only was she jinxing it by coming outside all of a sudden, but she also moved the sliding glass door that was in the game winning position.

WTF?!

It was everything I could do to not bust! Panicked, I moved the door back to where I thought it was. How we won the game after that disturbance in the force is beyond me. Yes, I’m certified. But I bet I'm not alone among college football and MZone readers.

And as for the shirt, well, that was retired somewhere in during the first RichRod season. There are some things even a lucky shirt can't do.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Denard in the clear


Special thanks to Mikoyan for making today's Wallpaper!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Going Rice

We interrupt our regularly scheduled college football blog for some basketball-related news:

Last week we Tweeted about the allegation in a new book that former Michigan basketball star Glen Rice hooked up with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in 1987 when Rice was in college and Palin was a fresh-out-of-college TV reporter.  The one-nighter allegedly happened when the Wolverines were in town for the Great Alaska Shootout and Palin was working for KTUU.


As you can tell by the picture above, Palin was no mamma grizzly when she went rogue with Rice.  It was during her frizzy-haired young cub days.  However, less than a year after the rumored fling, Palin married her husband, Todd, thus disproving the old adage that once you go black you never go back.

But why bring up this story a week after it broke?  Well, we had too much post-ND news to get to it last week and, more importantly, we just stumbled across these pictures of Rice's ex-wife, Christy.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Michigan football Saturdays beyond The Big House

Our friend Mikoyan was on the field shooting the Michigan-EMU game last Saturday.  But he also took some great shots before and after the game.

First, there was this student house party below.  Ah, to be a college student again.  See the sign?  "You honk, we drink." Wouldn't that be awesome if you could have a sign like that outside your house post-college?  You're out mowing your lawn, your neighbor Ted drives past in his Hyundai - HONK!  HONK! - you put the mower on idle and just chug.  Right there in your front yard.

Instead, Ted drives past, honks, you wave and then simply keep mowing your damn lawn.  Boo real life, Yeah college life.


Would you EVER wait in a line like this anywhere except A2 on a football Saturday in order to get a triple at Blimpie Burgers?  Answer: hell no.

I wonder if that woman still works there who used to yell at you if you didn't know your order as soon as she asked.  I always panicked when it came to my choice from the fryer.

Best of all?  It's still "cheaper than food."


And this picture sums up why I - and probably many of you - are Michigan fans: a boy and his father going to see Michigan play football on a Saturday afternoon in the fall.  It doesn't get any better (although those times we snuck some "beverage" into the student section during my college days come close).

Memo to Dave Brandon: This is a better sales tool than any mascot.



Be sure to check out Mikoyan's Big House panorama.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was REALLY excited to beat Auburn

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney - whose name sounds like To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee's alternate choice to Boo Radley - went Howard Dean after his team ended Auburn's 17-game winning streak.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan Open Thread

FINAL:

Michigan - 31
EMU - 3

Leave us your thoughts throughout the day on the Michigan/Eastern Michigan game and all the college football happenings around the country.

As you do, enjoy a final look at Roy Roundtree putting a dagger through Notre Dame's heart.


(Picture credit: USA Today)

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Team, The Team, The Team

Another outstanding guest post today from Michigan Sports Girl, proprietor of Support Brady Hoke.

Know Your Foe - Eastern Michigan

Your undefeated (by :02 seconds and 114,000+ heart attacks) Michigan Wolverines host our next door neighbor, Eastern Michigan, in The Big House this Saturday. Michigan has won all nine of the previous games between the two schools, including 45-17 the last time they played in 2009.  But you know all that.  What you don't know you'll find below in the MZone's 3rd Know Your Foe of the 2011 season.

History - Eastern Michigan University was founded by the Michigan legislature in 1849 as Michigan State Normal School, and the first classes took place in 1853 (with most of those initial students still about 2 1/2 years away from completing their degrees).

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?!")

Location – Ypsilanti, Michigan. Our vote for the most interestingly-named hometown of any team Michigan plays this year.  Ypsi, as it's known, was first settled in 1823 as a fur-trading post and is named for 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?
Mascot – Swoop, the Eastern Eagle. Coincidentally, a costumed eagle was used at EMU sporting events since 1985, six years before they adopted the Eagles nickname.  However, when it originally debuted, many thought it was a duck. Now there is just shame.

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 SongEagles 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)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

U-M/ND game was "Under the Lights," Miami/OSU is "Under Investigation"

(from MZone wire reports)  Coral Gables, FL -- After the success of the Michigan-Notre Dame game being marketed as "Under the Lights" to mark the first night game in Big House history, school officials at Miami and Ohio State have decided to rename their upcoming game "Under Investigation" in a nod to both schools' ongoing problems with the NCAA.

"It's branding at its best," said Ohio State athletic director and Jim Tressel apologist, Gene Smith.  "The Michigan and Notre Dame contest had a logo and commemorative shirts.  We wanted to do the same thing for our game.  I just hope each team has enough eligible players to actually play the damn thing."

Miami AD Shawn Eichorst couldn't be reached for comment as head was apparently still buried in the sand somewhere near South Beach.

In an online exclusive, MZone investigative reporter Rigby has secretly obtained the new logos to be used for this once in a life-time showdown (because Miami just may get the death penalty): 



Baylor to Texas A&M: I'm not going to be ignored, Aggies

We admit we've been tough on Texas A&M here at the MZone.  But in the latest controversy involving their attempt to leave the Texas Longhorn League Big 12 for the SEC, we're solidly in the Aggies' corner.

To recap, after initially being rejected by the SEC, Texas A&M was finally offered membership.  Looked like problem solved for the Aggies.

But it wasn't.

Baylor has threatened to sue to keep Texas A&M from leaving.  In fact, they were the only Big 12 school standing in the way of the Aggie departure.  To try to spin it, Baylor put out this statement about saving Texas football tradition (resisting... urge... to... make... joke... about... Baylor... football... and... tradition in same sentence).  So now they're just acting like a psycho ex-girlfriend who can't accept the fact that Texas A&M wants to break up with them.

How bad is it?

The MZone has obtained this secret recording of Texas A&M confronting Baylor. 



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wallpaper Wednesday: The Invisible Man

In the wake of Jeremy Gallon doing his best PREDATOR impression by activating his cloaking device with Michigan on its own 20, just :23 seconds left, and trailing Notre Dame 31-28, Rigby came up with today's Wallpaper Wednesday. Outstanding.


UPDATE:

After seeing today's wallpaper, Jeremy's mom was kind enough to send us a couple pictures from her family photo album (What?  Of course she reads the MZone). 

Below is a picture of Jeremy when he was 11 years old playing hide-n-seek in his hometown of Apopka, FL.

"C'mon, Jeremy, no fair!  We've been looking for you for over an hour!"

And here's one from high school...

Jeremy Gallon at his senior prom

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MZone Picture Album

While I may be able to do some basic (very basic) editing, I don't know squat about Photoshop (just ask Benny or Andy).  Thankfully for you, me and the MZone, Rigby has stepped into the starting line-up and kept all your MZone favorites and more alive. 

In fact, Rigby and I have been enjoying our creative collaboration so much (and churning out more stuff than anticipated), today marks the first of what we think will be a new regular feature here: The MZone Picture Album.  It will be a mix of 'Shops, reader submitted pix, news photos and general photographic what-not.

MICHIGAN, INC.  Now Powered by Denard!

Recently, Wolverine fans were up in arms (including yours truly) when AD Dave Brandon mentioned that he was exploring the option of a mascot for the Michigan sidelines.  According to Brandon, mascots are a way to hook the "youth demographic" on Michigan football at a young age (you know, because thrilling 35-31 victories over a hated rival with :02 seconds left on the clock have all the kids reaching for the damn Xbox).

But I think we here at the MZone may have solved both big Dave's desire for youth appeal and, by extension, the desire of 98% of Michigan fans who don't want a fucking asshat in a suit pretending to "fight" with Sparty in the endzone during TV timeouts.

Thus, MZone Children's Division has come up with a unique way to combine the best in youth entertainment with Michigan football.  Or as we call it "Branding for Brandon."  So next summer, be sure to take your kids to our first feature, Michigan, Inc.  Here's a little taste...


And yes, it also makes a great wallpaper to put on that iPad you bought for junior so don't have to have any human contact with him on those 4 minute car rides to the grocery store.

THE BIG EVERITTOWSKI


As we mentioned the other day, we thought part of the reason for the Michigan Miracle against Notre Dame was the long-haired messiah spotted on the field after the game.


But Greg at MVictors set us straight explaining that the pic was of former Michigan center Steve Everitt.

Or was it?

Maybe he was more messianic than we first thought.  Maybe he was actually The Dude.

Where's the fucking defense, Lebowski?

SCOREBOARD, BABY!

Got a couple good reader pix of the scoreboard. First, Russ sent us this dandy when the final whistle sounded:


And then Pam sent us this one right after the miracle TD with :02 seconds left:


Both great shots, but I think the second one is going to be on the official MZone holiday card that I'll make sure to send out to all my Notre Dame friends with the following caption:

Just wanted to take a couple seconds to wish you Happy Holidays!