To help start off this blog, I am going to do a quick recap of each game from this season, up to the present week 8. The first installment features the ‘Dores opening the year at the Big House.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend this game along with several friends, and spent a nice long weekend in Ann Arbor. I have a good friend who is a dental student there, so we crashed at his place and had the opportunity to tailgate with the dental school.
The Town: Ann Arbor is your quintessential college town, seemingly snatched out of the South and deposited in the middle of the Big 10. It is dominated by the university, with a nearby downtown area that still has the old town square feel to it. The area of course is full of bars and restaurants, which provided me a veritable smorgasbord to feast on the entire weekend. There are many small companies in the area, which I presume were mostly spinoffs from university projects, or collaborations by alumni of the school.
The Atmosphere: Seeing as students were just getting back onto campus, the general atmosphere was not as large as a normal home game weekend in Ann Arbor. It did, however, provide the opportunity for me to participate in a few of the activities of the UM freshman orientation! I’m sure I looked a little bit old to be a recent high school graduate, but I am still young enough to not get explicitly questioned. I was able to procure several pens and pencils, some free food, and checked in on some kids playing pool. My friend was wearing a Vanderbilt shirt the whole time, and only got one comment about it. Apparently the freshmen didn’t know who they were playing that weekend.
Gameday at Michigan is an exciting experience. We spent the morning at the dental school tailgate, playing cornhole and enjoying the weather. Two kids tried to kick us out of the tailgate till the realized we were guests and “paying customers.” The main area for tailgating at UM is on the school’s golf course. Although I was quite shocked when I found out that they let people drive onto their golf course, it did actually provide for a very nice experience. I believe true tailgating should always be done on grass. Cars were only allowed on the “rough,” leaving the fairways open for kids to play football, frisbee, etc.
The Game: Vanderbilt and Michigan both showed some serious rust in this game. Had Vanderbilt played more like they are currently playing, this game would have been a close affair. However, early signs of Michigan’s current dominance were evident, and Vanderbilt’s only score came off of a wide receiver pass. Final score: 27-7.
Our tickets were crammed up in the top rows of the corner along with the rest of the Vanderbilt faithful. However, we decided after the first quarter to make our way to the Michigan student section. We were greeted with cheers of “Asshole, asshole…” when we arrived, but managed to make it through the game without being pummeled with empty bourbon bottles or other projectiles. Perhaps they don’t drink as much bourbon up there…. My two favorite things about the experience were the students’ “You suck” chant for every fourth down, and the highly choreographed Wave. Apparently the high academic standards there resulted in many hours of studying to create a full performance routine of synchronized arm-lifting among 107,000 people.
Michigan student prepares weekly Wave routine.
Final Review: Great experience as a fan, and a good learning experience for the ‘Dores to face a top-class opponent in the first week.