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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things We Wish Were at the Schembechler Estate Sale

Bo knows... paintball gear?
An estate sale by the son of Bo Schembechler was scheduled to be held this week in Ann Arbor before being cancelled at the last minute.  It was to have included sports memorabilia, high-end furniture, antiques, crystal and vintage clothing that once belonged to the legendary Michigan football coach.

However, based on the pictures of some of the items, it looked more like it was going to be a garage sale for your neighbor, Russ, who lives down the street rather than an estate sale of priceless mementos owned by one of the most beloved coaches in Meeechigan history.   I mean, I'm sure Bo's old Christmas ornaments hold value for somebody, and who wouldn't want to say they put together their Ikea furniture using Bo's power tools, but we at the MZone were hoping for a little...more.

According to the company behind the almost-sale, since it was Bo's son's stuff, they weren't sure what sports items would be included.  With that in mind, here's our list of things that, with a few turns of the fickle finger of football fate, could have been for sale:

*  The shoe worn by Michigan kicker Mike "Super Toe" Lantry in November, 1973 after he kicked a 44-yard field goal with :24 seconds left to break a 10-10 tie and lead Michigan to victory over Ohio State and Woody Hayes.  The Wolverines finished the regular season undefeated and went on to win the Rose Bowl and with it, Bo's first National Championship.

The original "replacement refs"
* The whistle of the ref who was over-ruled after initially signaling a phantom touchdown for USC's Reggie White during the 1979 Rose Bowl.  Instead, the correct call - that White had fumbled before crossing the goal line and Michigan recovered - was made leading to Bo's second Rose Bowl victory.

* The can of Stickum spray Brad Cochran was using when he picked off QB Chuck Long on Iowa's final drive in the waning moments of second-ranked Michigan's 10-9 victory over the top ranked Hawkeyes in Iowa City in 1985.  The only blemish on the Wolverine record that year was a 3-3 tie at Illinois.  Even still, after Bo's 4th win in Pasadena, the General captured his second National Championship.

* The autographed picture of Bo holding up the Little Brown Jug after second-ranked Michigan held on to beat Minnesota and QB Ricky Foggie in the second to last game of the 1986 regular season.  After beating Ohio State in the regular season finale following Jim Harbaugh's victory guarantee, the Wolverines completed yet another undefeated regular season.

* The football that Michigan recovered after Miami's failed onside kick attempt at the end of the Wolverine's victory over the #1-ranked Hurricanes in 1988.   Miami was trying to come back from a 30-14 deficit with seven minutes left in the 4th quarter but it was not to be as the Wolverines held on in The Big House. 

* Bo's gameplan notes for the '89 Michigan-Notre Dame game in which he specifically told his special teams coaches not to kick to Irish speedster Rocket Ismail.  The Wolverines won that rainy day in A2 and ran the table, capped off by a thrilling victory against USC in the Rose Bowl (due to a gutsy, successful fake punt late in the game).  The undefeated season marked Bo's third and final National Title as he retired on top, passing the reins to his longtime assistant Gary Moeller.

Thankfully, we never kicked to him.  Whew!

(Phantom TD pic HT: MVictors)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Notre Dame - 13, Michigan - 6 (points AND turnovers)

Well that sucked.

I... f*ck it.  And just to rub it in a little more (which we deserve after that), HERE is your healing picture:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Know Your Foe: Notre Dame 2012

Tomorrow night in South Bend, Notre Dame hosts Michigan in Under the Lights 2: Electric Boogaloo.  This year's sequel pits the winningest program in college football history vs. a team whose echoes are in such a deep sleep that NBC is considering ditching them for Saved By The Bell reruns.  UTL/2 will be the 40th meeting between the Wolverines and the pride of the ACC, the Screaming Kelly's.  Michigan currently holds a 23-15-1 advantage in the series, including wins in 5 out of the last 6 and three in a row that all have come on last minute miracle drives by the Maize and Blue.  But you knew all that.  What you didn't know is included in this week's exciting edition of the MZone's world famous Know Your Foe.

History - The name "Notre Dame" is French and means "Our Lady," a Catholic salutation in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the university (as opposed to the Irish's Blessedly Delusional Fans who still think their team is relevant because they have their own network -- the same network that airs Whitney claiming it's "Must See TV").

We're pretty sure the Latin
means "annoying fans"
The school was founded in 1842 by a 28 year old priest and was originally known as "University of Notre Dame du Lac" which, as far as KYF can tell, is not short for "University of Notre Dame du Lac of a National Title Since 1988".  Rather, in keeping with our French theme, it means "Our Lady of the Lake." But there are actually two lakes on campus. Legend has it that when the school was founded, everything was frozen and so they only thought there was one lake. The land on which ND sits had been purchased by Rev. Stephen Badin, the first Catholic priest ordained in the United States, and left in trust for anyone who would found a school on the site. A fire in 1879 practically wiped out the campus, but within ten years the campus was once again thriving.

The influence of Catholicism is obvious throughout the campus, where 82% of the students identify as Roman Catholic. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is in the center of campus, a statue of the Virgin Mary stands on the dome of the Main Building (“The Golden Dome”), and there are crucifixes in most classrooms on campus. Know Your Foe was unable to confirm if confessionals were installed at Notre Dame Stadium to allow fans to be forgiven for what they shouted out after Notre Dame forgot to cover Jeremy Gallon on U-M's game winning drive last season.

According to Wikipedia, more than 80% of the university's 8,000 undergraduates live on campus in one of 29 single-sex residence halls, each of which fields teams for more than a dozen intramural sports (not to be confused with the team which has struggled on fall Saturdays for the last 15+ years or so). Notre Dame's approximately 120,000 alumni are located around the world, any of which will be sure to find you and make your life a living hell if their team beats Michigan this weekend or starts winning again in general.

- Technically, the school is located in unincorporated Notre Dame, Indiana, though most people just consider it in South Bend which is right next door. In addition, you may not know (or care) that Notre Dame is only about four miles from the Michigan border. But, thankfully, it's still in Indiana. 

The population of South Bend has declined since a peak of 132,445 in 1960 to 101,168 according to the 2010 census. Experts say this is due to the demise of heavy industry like Studebaker and Oliver Chilled Plow Company and not because the football team has started to suck. Today, the largest industries in South Bend are health care, education, small business and tourism.

Nickname - Notre Dame athletic teams are known as the Fighting Irish (though students are called "Domers," or those "@#$% annoying fans" by the rest of the country). The Irish have one of the most unique and well-known nicknames in all of sports. As a matter of fact, there are no other colleges that use “Irish” as their nickname.

According to the University's website, there are several legends of how Notre Dame came to be the "Fighting Irish." One story is that the name was born in 1899 with Notre Dame leading Northwestern 5-0 at halftime in Evanston. Allegedly, Wildcat fans began to chant, "Kill the Fighting Irish! Kill the Fighting Irish," as if they were drunken Ohio State fans as the second half opened. Another tale has the nickname originating at halftime of the Notre Dame-Michigan game in 1909. With his team trailing, one Notre Dame player yelled to his teammates - who had names like Dolan, Kelly, Donnelly, Glynn, Duffy and Ryan - "What's the matter with you guys? You're all Irish and you're not fighting worth a lick!" Notre Dame came back to win the game (probably while this song played) and the press, after overhearing the remark, reported the game as a victory for the "Fighting Irish."

The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame teams in the 1920s as a result of preexisting Irish stereotypes.

Before the ‘20s, Notre Dame had several nicknames, including the Rovers and the Ramblers, due to their willingness to travel to play football during the Knute Rockne era. At one point they were also known as the Terriers, at which time an Irish Terrier would appear on the sideline during football games. There’s no doubt that if they’d kept that name, the history of Notre Dame football would be very different (although they may be forced to re-adopt that name if they keep going 8-5 even in good years).

Dude, put your hand down.  You can hear Brian Kelly
swearing from the parking lot.
Mascot - The Leprechaun was named the official mascot in 1965. Truth be told, ND's mascot really is a true classic, and the fact that they have a living student version makes this one of the best mascots in all of college athletics. So many times during my youth, when they'd show that leprechaun cheering and mugging for the camera, I just wanted to punch my TV screen. When the mascot is getting under your skin, you know it's good (no, Dave Brandon, that doesn't mean I want some dude in a furry suit running around The Big House).

The live mascot is always a student that wins an annual tryout. The green knickers and gold vest that he wears is topped by an Irish country hat. The leprechaun carries around a shillelagh during the game leading cheers in the student section, and is hoisted by the cheerleaders after every ND score to perform a pushup for every Irish point.  Luckily for those poor cheerleaders, they haven't had to do a lot of heavy lifting the last couple of years.

Worst. Uni. Ever.
Colors - Blue and Gold. That's right, no green. They use the green when they feel like they need it (which means they should permanently switch to green). The blue and gold are a great combination, though not necessarily unique (Navy and Brigham Young use the same colors).  And though they are the picture of utter blandness, the golden helmets are iconic and a perfect symbol for the university (until, that is, they broke out the ultra, ULTRA gold things this season that are abominations and would cause Knute Rockne to roll over in his grave).  Over-golding aside, ND's helmets represent the Golden Dome atop the Main Building on campus.  As with so many things at Notre Dame, tradition plays a huge part with the helmets. The team’s student managers spray paint the helmets prior to each game, refreshing the shine each week. The paint contains actual gold.  From 1959 to 1962, head coach Joe Kuharich added a green shamrock to the helmet. In 1963, plain white numbers replaced the shamrock for one season.  This season when ND faces Miami, the Irish will don the ugliest "special" uniforms in the history of college football.

Fight SongNotre Dame Victory March. One of the most famous college football fight songs was written by brothers and Notre Dame grads Michael and John Shea in the early 1900s. Though it ranked only fifth in a Sports Illustrated poll of the best college fight songs, it’s second as far as KYF is concerned (The Victors is number one in both rankings). The beginning part with the flutes, where the leprechaun dances around, the way the band plays it quietly during the extra point and then pumps up the volume right after,  and the fact that so many non-football fans know the song make it a classic. Know Your Foe hates it and loves it at the same time.

The original lyrics, which were written in 1908, were revised in the late 1920s to the following:

Rally sons of Notre Dame:
Sing her glory and sound her fame,
Raise her Gold and Blue
And cheer with voices true:
Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
We will fight in ev-ry game,
Strong of heart and true to her name
We will ne'er forget her
And will cheer her ever
Loyal to Notre Dame

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small
Old Notre Dame will win over all,
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory.

Those are some damn good lyrics for a college fight song. They invoke the name of the university, the colors, mention cheering, fighting, and loyalty, and has ultimate confidence in victory. No wonder they’ve won so many football games.

Academics - There's no doubt Notre Dame is a strong academic institution. In the just-released U.S. News and World Report ranking for 2013, Notre Dame is tied for #17 with Rice and Vandy (surprisingly, two schools it is also tied with for football success of late as well). Alumni giving for ND is always among the highest. Perhaps this helps explain why the university reserves almost a quarter of its admissions spots for legacies of Notre Dame. Know Your Foe has always felt that among Big Ten schools, Michigan alums love their school the most. But that love of alma mater is no more than the love Notre Dame grads (and families of grads) have for their school.

Football Program - 13 Fighting Irish teams have won consensus national championships (although the university only claims 11, unlike Alabama which claims one if somebody says "Hey, your team was good this year" anywhere near the Tide campus), along with another nine teams being named national champion by at least one source.

The Irish play in Notre Dame Stadium, an 80,795-seat stadium on campus that was modeled after The Big House. The football team generates enough revenue to operate independently while $22.1 million is retained from the team's profits for academic use. Forbes named the team as the most valuable in college football, worth a total of $101 million in 2007.

Remember her?
Famous alums - Notre Dame covers the gamut here, with alumna in just about every field of endeavor. It’s an extremely lengthy, if not overly impressive list. From the media, 2nd-rate sportscasters Don Criqui, Ted Robinson, and Tim Ryan are all ND grads. CBS Morning Show talking head Hannah Storm is an Irish grad as is ESPN Radio morning talking head Mike Golic. Obnoxious talk show hosts Phil Donohue and Regis Philbin both went to ND as did punk rock's Ted Leo, and comedy's George Wendt. Former Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice as well as Chicago Cub fan turned villain Steve Bartman have ND diplomas hanging on their wall as do current or former CEOs of Texaco, Liz Claiborne, DTE Energy, Office Depot and Red Hat. And don't forget about that character Martin Sheen played on The West Wing. But they’ve only had a fictional president from Notre Dame, not a real one.

The Game - As much as I want the Wolverines to take four in a row off the Irish for the first time since we won the the opening eight in the series starting in 1887, I don't think we've looked particularly sharp this year (and injuries haven't helped).  Our O-line hasn't jelled and our defense has looked Gergian at times.  Denard can only do so much on his own.  On the flip side, as much as I hate to admit it, Notre Dame looked good last week and manhandled MSU on the road.  And these guys are going to be very hungry to end their losing streak against Michigan at home.  Finally, how many damn miracles can we pull out against these guys?

Answer: none this weekend.

Michigan - 14
Notre Dame - 24

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting Pumped for Saturday with Ufer

As we get ready for Saturday's Michigan-Notre Dame showdown in Under the Lights 2, thought we'd dig into the ol' MZone archives for one of our favorite videos from last year: What if Bob Ufer had called the U-M/ND classic from last season?  It probably would have gone something like this...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Notre Dame Preps for Michigan

The video below was put up by the official Notre Dame football YouTube channel, InsideNDFootball.  In it, the Fighting Irish prep for Michigan by...bouncing ping pong balls into a cup.

Good thing we're playing them in football Saturday and not beer pong.

Sadly, as you can tell by the excitement at the 1:27 mark, sinking a ping pong ball into a Gatorade cup is the biggest play Notre Dame has made during Michigan week in the last several years.

Oh. No. He. Didn't!

Yes, he did!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Know Your Foe - UMass 2012

Michigan tries to go above .500 this Saturday when they take on the newest entrant to FBS, UMass, at Michigan Stadium. This will be the second meeting between the schools. Two years ago, the Minutemen came within a recovered onside kick from probably beating Michigan, finally falling 42-37. But that was in 2010, one of the three years that didn’t happen. So you probably don’t remember who these Minutemen are and you’re probably wondering who are these Bay Staters and what should we know about them? To answer these and many other questions, the MZone is proud to present this year’s special cupcake (Mmmmmmm....cupcake) edition of KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – The University of Massachusetts was founded in 1863 thanks to the Morrill Land-Grant Act. KYF was surprised to learn that a school in New England was a land grant college – that seems like much more of a Midwestern thing. The original name was Massachusetts Agricultural College and was referred to as Mass Aggie or M.A.C. That means that Michigan will face two M.A.C.s this season. Four years after its founding the school still had no students, no instructors, and no buildings. Finally, in 1867 about 50 students enrolled and the school was in business.

The campus underwent widespread expansion in the latter part of the 19th century. This included the creation of the Campus Pond which was created by damming a small brook. The Pond remains a central aspect of campus to this day.

By the 20th century, more expansion was undertaken, both with the physical campus and the curriculum. The first female students graduated in 1905 and liberal arts were introduced to go along with the original studies in the “agricultural, mechanical, and military arts.” Due to this broader curriculum, the name was changed to Massachusetts State College in 1931. Following more growth post-World War II, the name was changed again in 1947 to the University of Massachusetts. The name often includes Amherst to distinguish it from the other four schools in the UMass system. Currently, around 27,000 students attend UMass.

Location – Amherst, Massachusetts. This town of under 40,000 in the Connecticut River valley is one of the few in the country that might be more liberal than Ann Arbor. The town’s nickname of “The People’s Republic of Amherst” attests to this. The liberalism, no doubt, is a result of being the home of three colleges: UMass, the more prestigious Amherst College, as well as Hampshire College. Mount Holyoke College and Smith College are just one town over. It’s no wonder that MSN.com named it the best college town in 2009, and U.S. News and World Report ranked Amherst in its top ten college towns (along with Ann Arbor) in 2012.

Amherst (pronounced without the “H”) was named for Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, an officer in the British Army in the 18th century. Amherst’s claim to fame are victories in the French and Indian War when he conquered Louisbourg, Quebec City, and Montreal. Along with the town that hosts UMass, there’s an Amherst in New York and New Hampshire as well as Ontario and Nova Scotia (Wikipedia says those two are in a place called "Canada").

Amherst is the home of Emily Dickinson, Uma Thurman, and the National Yiddish Book Center. It’s location in western Massachusetts places it much closer to Springfield, MA (18 miles) and Hartford, CT (43 miles) than to Boston (74 miles).

Nickname – Minutemen. KYF was surprised to find out that the Minutemen nickname is a somewhat recent phenomenon in UMass lore. The original name for the school’s teams was Aggies (it just doesn’t sound right for a New England school) and then Redmen. However, in the early 1970s, the name received objections from Native American groups and the administration decided a change was the correct thing to do. A student vote produced the Minutmen name and it’s been in use since 1972. Know Your Foe has a long history of supporting the elimination of Native American imagery in sports, but the problem is that the replacement names are invariably lame. RedHawks? Red Storm? Eagles? Please. Use the opportunity to come up with an appropriate and great-sounding name like UMass did.
For those that have forgotten their high school history, Minutemen were teams of select men who fought (on our side) of the Revolutionary War. They were highly mobile, and were rapidly deployed (get it, minutemen?) which allowed the colonies to react quickly wherever fighting men were needed. 

Around the time of the new nickname, women’s sports were formed and those teams have been called the Minutewomen (it’s as tough to type as it is to say). There are a number of college teams that use different names for their women’s teams, but most of those just add “Lady” to the nickname (think Lady Vols, or Lady Razorbacks). UMass joins Oklahoma State and Wyoming (Cowboys to Cowgirls) in changing the gender of their nickname. In looking over the list of schools that have different nicknames, there are some really creative schools out there. Arkansas Tech calls their men’s team the Wonder Boys and their women’s teams the Golden Suns. Centenary’s men are the Gentlemen and the women are the Ladies. And Central Missouri’s men are known as the Mules while the women are the Jennies.

Mascot – Sam the Minuteman. For a school that doesn’t have very prominent athletics, Sam is a widely seen mascot. He’s appeared in two ESPN commercials and has shown to be extremely versatile.

Colors – Maroon and white. A number of college teams use maroon, but only Mississippi State and Texas A&M are like UMass and pair it only with white. The maroon and white combo strikes a nice contrast on the football field. The problem with UMass is that they use black as a major and often predominant color. Not only does this not make sense (black is not an official school color) but black and maroon look horrible together. Because of this, UMass has lightened up their maroon to be closer to a crimson. Though this looks slightly better, it’s not true to their school colors.

Logo/Helmet – The UMass logo is plagued with the same issue that so many modern, computer-generated logos have. It’s cartoonish and took very little imagination. Why is the U larger than the M? Is the Minutemen needed along the bottom? And does this logo not apply to the women’s teams at UMass? The Minuteman has potential but not when drawn as a cartoon character. A re-do is necessary on this logo that’s been in use for 10 years. For a decade before, a strange but somewhat unique logo was in place. The logo, a mix of a script U and ‘70s style font spelling “Mass,” is probably most familiar to sports fans as it was the logo during the Minutemen’s rare basketball success.

While the UMass logo is merely lame, the helmet is a disaster. For some unknown reason, the school uses a black shell and black facemask with a generic “Mass” spelled out across a bold U. Just an absolute clusterfuck. Of course UMass doesn’t have a great history of football or football helmets. When the Minutemen previously came to Ann Arbor the team sported a white helmet with UMass spelled out in progressively smaller letters. At least they got the colors right. There’s no doubt they should return to a version based on the helmet they wore from 1974-84 when a Minuteman stood in between a U and M.

Fight SongUMassFight Song. OK, it’s not the most original name but it’s a surprisingly good fight song. KYF has to admit to never having heard it before writing this blog post, but it’s a quick march with a fun chant in the middle.

The lyrics are rather unimaginative. Of the 41 words, “Fight” appears 11 times. Why so angry, UMass? And though the Bee Gees used it to great effect in 1967, as did Ra Ra Riot in 2010, getting “Massachusetts” into a song can’t be easy. Plus, the use of the state nickname (Bay State) earns points from KYF.

Fight, fight Massachusetts,
Fight, fight every play,
Fight, fight for a touchdown,
Fight all your might today.

Fight down the field Massachusetts,
The stars and the stripes will gleam,
Fight, Fight for old Bay State,
Fight for the team, team, team.

The song was written by Captain Edwin Sumner, a military instructor at the university in 1930. The UMass marching band is called the Power and Class of New England. The band was directed by George Parks from 1977 until his death two days before he was to lead the band at Michigan Stadium in 2010. The band performed in his honor for that Saturday's game. The band building on campus that bears his name was opened a year ago.

Academics - According to the most recent U. S. News ranking of America's Best Colleges, UMass ranks #97, which would place it only above Nebraska if it were in the Big Ten. UMass is tied with Florida State, Colorado, and Missouri. Amazingly, the ranking puts UMass as the 10th best college in the state, trailing Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Boston College, Brandeis, Boston U., Northeastern, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Clark University. And this doesn’t include Amherst College which doesn’t offer enough programs to be considered.

Athletics – The UMass athletics program has 21 varsity teams (Michgan has 27), 10 men’s teams and 11 women’s teams. The football team is in its first year in FBS and is a member of the Mid-American Conference. Most of the rest of the teams compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference, while the hockey team is in Hockey East.

Only one UMass team has ever won a national championship - in 1998 they won the 1-AA football crown. They’ve also had some success in men and women’s lacrosse as well as men’s swimming. The men’s basketball team had been good over the years, though it’s been almost 20 years since they were a national power. The Minutemen won five straight conference titles from 1992-96 and made the Final Four in ’96 under head coach Jim Calipari. Shockingly, the Final Four appearance was vacated when it was discovered that star player Marcus Camby accepted money from agents. The team has only won one conference title since then.

As mentioned above, the football team won an FCS championship in 1998 and made the finals two other times. They’ve won 22 conference titles in the various incarnations of the Colonial Athletic Association. The most successful NFL player from UMass is former Detroit Lion quarterback Greg Landry. KYF doesn’t know if this is an indictment of UMass football or the Lions. Current New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wore the maroon and white. The Minutemen play in typically empty Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL's Patriots. 

Famous alums – The alumni list for UMass is decent if not outstanding. The entertainment world has plenty of Minutemen and Minutewomen. Singer Natalie Cole, musician Frank Black, actor Bill Pullman, and comedians Bill Cosby and Dana Gould are UMass alums. Los Angeles Kings goalie and 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick played for the Minutemen. And from the college football media world, Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! and ESPN’s Wendi Nix are UMass graduates.

The list also includes plenty of local politicians, an astronaut but, alas, no U.S. Presidents

The Game – After starting with NFL-caliber Alabama, then taking on difficult-to-prepare-for Air Force, and with talented Notre Dame next, this is Michigan’s only cupcake on the schedule this year. UMass has been smoked by two of the weakest FBS schools out there (UConn and Indiana) and could be looking at a winless season. Certainly they won’t give Michigan as tough a time as they did a couple of years ago. Last week, Denard Robinson was the entire offense for Michigan. But on Saturday Denard won’t run much because he won’t need to, and he’ll only play the first half. The running backs will finally pick up some yardage in an easy win.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

StubHub vs. Season Tickets

For some time, I've been ranting here on the MZone about the outrageous cost for tickets to watch Michigan games in the Big House.  I was reminded of my yearly tirades today when I replied to the following tweet from our respected rival, Gerd of OZone fame:

Time for #OSU to stop raising ticket prices? Last week's game was the first under 105,000 since New Mexico St. in 2009.

Finally, something Wolverine and Buckeye fans can agree on.

Yes, I know it's a business.  However, at what point is it not only bad business but damn near ticketeering? (yeah, I made that word up but I kind of like it).  How many people do you think would buy UMass tickets for $65 each* - plus seat licensing fees - if they didn't have to in order to purchase their season tickets (i.e. ticketeering)?

A family of four has to spend $350 (or more) for tickets, parking and something to eat.  And that's for a crap game like UMass.

Yeah, I know life's not fair and nobody is entitled to see the games live.  And I realize "every other school does it."   But it's getting to the point of being ridiculous and potentially coming back to bite some schools in the ass (see Gerd's tweet).  Thus, does it still makes sense, for most season ticket holders, to purchase season tickets - even if you still want to go to every home game?

The MZone decided to find out in our new home-game feature: StubHub vs. Season Tickets in which we compare the cost of getting seats to each and every Michigan game in The Big House on StubHub vs buying season tickets, "seat donations" and all.  Not only will we keep a weekly tally, we'll add it all up at the end of the season to see what the difference is.

Before we begin, our hypothesis:

Even when paying over face value for the handful of big games in which supply and demand cause StubHub ticket prices to rise, it will still be cheaper - and probably substantially so - to buy one's tickets each week via StubHub**.

First, a couple parameters for our little study:

We're assuming two tickets to each game (together) and we'll look at different seat locations, all of which now require a "preferred seat donations" (aka PSDs).  For those not familiar with PSDs, Michigan's website describes them as follows:

The Victors Club Preferred Seat Donation is a part of University of Michigan Athletics overall annual giving program. Currently, three sports have some portion of the season tickets requiring a Preferred Seat Donation -- Football, Men's Basketball Courtside Seats, and Ice Hockey Club Seats. (Note: Courtside and Hockey Club Seats are sold out. You may contact the Victors Club Office to learn more about future availability.)

The color-coded diagram indicates the football preferred seating areas of Michigan Stadium. There are four different annual donation requirements -- Victors ($500 per seat), Valiant ($375 per seat), Maize ($250 per seat) and Blue ($125 per seat). The End Zone donation requirement ($50 per seat) applies to any new season tickets holders in 2005 and beyond.

First of all, it's not giving.  Giving is when I call up to donate to the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  When I'm forced to do something, it's taking (see ticketeering).  PSDs are basically a yearly tax for the privilege to be able to buy your U-M season tickets.  The tax rate is based on how good your seats are.

The picture below shows the the seat levels are inside the stadium:

So, what did it cost to purchase U-M season tickets in 2012?  Well, Michigan only has 6 homes games this season due to the opener in Dallas against Alabama.  And of those six games, all of the them have a face value of $75 each - except the MSU game which is $95 per ticket.  Thus, one's ticket cost was $470 per ticket.  But...

The Athletic Department cuts one a break and charges only $390 for season tickets, which works out to $65 per ticket (it's impossible to know how/if they charge differently for the "big" games so we'll have to make it an even $65 each).

But that's not all.  Now tack on your "donation" of $50-$500 per seat and your actual cost of one season ticket is $440 in the endzone, $515 in the "Blue" section, $640 in the "Maize" section, $765 in the "Valiant" section and $890 in the "Victors" section.

Whew!  And that's for one ticket.  Double it unless you're some lonely engineering grad psycho with no friends.

So, let's begin, shall we?


Season Ticket Price - Endzone Seats:

You, dear season ticket holder, have two seats in the endzone which cost $130 plus $100 divided by 6 ($16.67) for a grand total of $146.67.

StubHub Price - Endzone Seats:

Forget the endzone.  As of Monday night, StubHub had two tickets available in the corner, Section 19, Row 34 for $35 each, a total of $70.  But while there is no PSD on StubHub, there is an electronic delivery charge of $4.95 and a service charge of $7.00.  Yes, two tacky tacked on fees.  Totally bullshit but, at a total of $11.95, still less than your more bullshitty $16.67 PSD.

Endzone Total:

Season Ticket Endzone Guy - $146.67
StubHub Dude - $81.95

Winner: StubHub Dude by $64.72.

Now suppose you have/want better seats.  Okay...

Season Ticket Price - Maize Section:

Two tickets in between the 10-20 yard line, say Section 3, cost you the same $130 as Endzone Guy.  But you also had to shell out $500 divided by 6 ($83.33) for a grand total of $213.33 for your chance to watch the UMass sacrifice.

StubHub Maize Price:

Found two for $55 each.  Same "electronic delivery charge" (aka email) and a service fee of $11.

Maize Section Total:

Season Ticket Maize Guy - $213.33
StubHub Dude - $125.95

Winner: StubHub Dude by $87.38

Now let's live large...

Season Ticket Price - Victors Section

Two tickets in Section 1, right on the 50, only cost you $65 each as part of your season tix.  But $1,000 divided by 6 tacks on another $166.67 (yikes!).

StubHub Victors Price: 

Found a hell of a deal here - two tix in Section 1, Row 85 for $57.49 each (plus $4.95, plus $11.50).

Victors Section Total:

Season Ticket Victors Guy - $296.67
StubHub Dude - $131.43

Winner (by TKO): StubHub Dude by $165.24.

And note that I didn't check every section of every PSD classification for the cheapest tickets.  So there might have even been cheaper endzone or Maize seats, for example.  And it's Monday night as I write this blog post.  I'm guessing UMass tickets aren't going to go up as the week goes on.

Ticketeering, folks.  Ticketeering.

PS  If I buy my MSU tickets on StubHub as I finish up this post, I can get two in the endzone for $220 each, or in Section 1 for $450 each.  Will the hypothesis hold?  We'll see.

UConn for $59 bucks sounds like an absolute steal now

* While face value is $75 on each UMass ticket, it breaks down to $65 each when part of a season ticket package

** Ed. Note: Things may be different in 2013 when Michigan's home schedule has three probable "big" games in which one will have to pay more than face value for tickets: ND, Nebraska and Ohio State.  But over the long haul, like a professional poker player with swings of both up and down yet who ends up in the black, I believe the advantage will still be with StubHub. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Now Playing in the MZone Theater

Recently, we read on MGoBlog that one of Brady Hoke's favorite movies was A Few Good Men.   As a result, since the MZone is like the Roger Corman of blogging, we quickly rushed a low-budget Michigan-centric knockoff into theaters:

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Michigan vs. Air Force Open Thread

A2. The Big House.  Home.

Yep, I like the sounds of that.  Leave us your thoughts on today's U-M/AF showdown and be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates and general cfb/Michigan whatnot.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Know Your Foe: Air Force

After last weekend's Disaster in Dallas at the hands of the Alabama Oversigners Crimson Tide, the Wolverines return to A2 and the friendly confines of The Big House for their 2012 home opener against Air Force.  The game features more than its share of unanswered questions for Michigan fans:  Will Fitz Toussaint start at tailback?  How much will Blake Countess's season-ending injury impact the secondary?  Will the U-M student section be more than 1/8th full at the start of the game due to Dave Brandon's new student "loyalty program?"  But those questions are for tomorrow.  Right now it's time to learn a little something about Michigan's opponent in this week's thrilling edition of Know Your Foe.

We even walk across campus in lock step
History - The United States Air Force Academy is the youngest of the five United States service academies having been established in 1954 and graduating its first class in 1959 (quick, name the other four service academies.  And yes, KYF knows you can name West Point and Annapolis.  Now name the remaining two*).  Graduates of the Academy's four-year program receive a bachelor of science degree and most are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force.

To get into the USAFA, high school students must not only have the grades, but are also judged on leadership ability, athletics and character.  And they must pass a fitness test and medical examination.  And then they still need to be nominated, usually by a member of Congress from their home district.  Recent incoming classes have about 1,200 cadets or, as Nick Saban calls that, one recruiting class.  Only about 1,000 of the incoming cadets graduate and the maximum number of undergraduates is set by Congress at 4,417.  While you probably know that tuition, room and board are all paid for by the United States government, you may not know that cadets also receive a monthly stipend not unlike Ohio State football players, although those Buckeye payments aren't NCAA-legal.

In 1918 a military man began pushing for a separate "aeronautical academy" and a Congressman introduced legislation for one in 1919, but it was not until the 1940s that the idea of an Air Force Academy began to gain traction.

According to the AFA's own website, probably the most controversial event in the Academy's history was the admission of women.  That came about because U-M grad and President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation in 1975 allowing women to join the service academies (have you guessed the other two, yet?).  The first women entered the AFA in 1976 with the first female graduates in 1980.

* Give up?  The other two are the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT and the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY.

Location - Colorado Springs, CO.  After considering 580 locations in 45 states, Colorado Springs was chosen in 1954.  Located 65 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs rests over one mile above sea level and has a population of 416,427 according to the last census.   It is the second most populous city in Colorado (after Denver) and 41st in the country.

In the past several years, Colorado Springs has been selected the number 1 Best Big City in Money magazine's Best Places to Live and number one in Outside magazines list of America's Best Cities.

On an interesting aside note: Colorado Springs is one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States. This led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the place to build his lab and study electricity.

Nickname - Falcons (also Fighting Falcons).  According to the AFA official website, "Members of the Class of 1959, the first to enter the Academy, chose the falcon as the mascot of the cadet wing Sept. 25, 1955, feeling that it best characterized the combat role of the U.S. Air Force. They did not specify any particular species, thus, any falcon can serve as mascot."

Attack!  Just kidding
Mascot - In 1955, the first falcon presented to the cadet wing was named "Mach 1" (for obvious reasons).  Since then, the official mascot name is still "Mach 1," although each bird also gets an individual name from the falconers.  And while bird experts once said falcons couldn't be trained to perform in front of large crowds, cadets have flown birds in front of large crowds since 1956 with nary a gouging making the news. 

From the AFA website: "Falconry is one of the extracurricular activities offered to cadets. There are usually 12 falconers, with four chosen from each new class at the end of the year to replace graduating seniors."

Colors - Blue and Silver.  KYF has always liked Air Force's colors, although that could just be some sort of hometown bias because it reminds us of the Detroit Lions (the new winning Lions, not the crappy losers we grew up with).  
Same as it ever was

Logo/Helmet - While they're called the Falcons, Air Force has pretty much used the same blue lightning bolt helmet design since the 1950s with only slight variations.  While it may be pretty basic and even somewhat confusing due to the Falcon as the mascot, the consistency moves the helmets up a couple notches higher than it probably would be otherwise.  KYF is a sucker for tradition.

Sadly, KYF believes that the Air Force logo - an interlocking block A and F - pretty much sucks.  It looks like it's something inspired by a guy on a deadline who just came from a Dodger game.  Lame.  I mean, for guys training to fly planes faster than the speed of sound, surely somebody could come up with and design a better logo.  Get on it, General Dynamics.
Is this Abercrombie & Fitch?

Fight Song - The U.S. Air Force is the official song of the Air Force Academy.  Yet while the name is pretty unoriginal, the song is pretty sweet.  It was written in 1939 and is often referred to as "Into the Wild Blue Yonder" or simply "Wild Blue Yonder."  It took forty years for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to adopt it as the official song in 1979.

Academics - According to the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking, the Air Force Academy is the #33 National Liberal Arts College  (personally, I would have thought it would be a little higher).  And while Gerald Ford may have opened up the school to women, it is still 79% dudes.  The acceptance rate is only 13.1%.

Athletics - All cadets take part in the school's athletic department, be it intramural or intercollegiate.   On the intercollegiate side, the Falcons field 17 men's teams and 10 women's teams.  While the football team competes in the Mountain West Conference, most people think of Air Force's rivalry with the two other main service academies, Army and Navy, for the Commander-in-Chief trophy.

Air Force has done the best job taking home the coveted trophy, winning it 18 of the 34 times it has been contested.

And the best NCAA team fielded by the cadets?  The boxing team which has won the national championship a staggering 18 times and never finished lower than 2nd in the nation until 2008 (when it took 3rd).

Cats in the cradle, not the cockpit
Famous Alums - As you might expect, the AFA graduates a ton of people that you probably haven't heard of, but who do more important stuff than most "famous" people graduated by other schools.  Put it this way, they have a shitload of astronauts and, lest we forget, each of their graduates serves our country upon earning his or her degree.  So we'll set the snark aside and salute them all.  But who might you have heard of/not suspected when to the AFA?  NBA coach Gregg Popovich.  And among the list of non-graduating alums, we found singer Harry Chapin (didn't see that one coming).  Of course this wouldn't be KYF if we didn't also point out there have been no Presidents who graduated from the Air Force Academy.

The Game - After the utter beat down in the season opener, this is a very tricky game for Michigan: its ego - and seemingly half its starters - are pretty banged up.  However, KYF believes Brady Hoke has the same ability that Bo and Lloyd had in getting their players to bounce back from tough defeats early in the season.  Denard bounces back big time.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Post-Alabama Healing Picture

Last night's extreme beating calls for an equally extreme healing picture.  And boy do I think I found it...

Ed. Note: I made the mistake of doing my initial Google search for a healing pic with the filter set to OFF rather than MODERATE.  Uh, there's a reason Google recommends MODERATE.  Searching for "Hot Coeds" in the OFF position yields results that, well, are probably only appropriate if we go 0-12 and then bring back Rich Rodriguez.

(HT: Touch The Banner which notes the girl in the pic above is British model Lucy Pinder)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Michigan vs. Alabama Open Thread

The season is finally upon us! 

Leave us all your thoughts, comments and general what not about the Michigan/Bama game and any other Saturday action you care to discuss.

And because Rigby gave us two great choices for this poster the other day, here's the color version...