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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from the MZone!

MZone reader "5th & Long" sent us the following email:

Just finished carving my pumpkin.  Made a template for others to use if you want to post it.

Yes we do!

Happy Halloween!






Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nebraska Open Thread AND Wangler-to-Carter Anniversary

Leave us your thoughts, comments and general whatnot on today's Michigan-Nebraska game.

And did you know that today also marks the 33rd anniversary of "greatest single play in the 100 year history" of Meeechigan football? 

Go Blue!



One of my favorite forgotten moments of the clip above is #23 (don't know the player's name) who, on the play before the final play flat out threw the ball out of bounds in order to stop the clock. You can see Lee Corso going crazy about that, and I believe the rule was changed to prevent such moves in the future. But that day it was legal, and the only reason Michigan was even able to get the final play off.

Ufer was right - "Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter will be heard until another hundred years of Michigan football is played."  Especially if we have anything to do with it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Know Your Foe: Nebraska 2012

The Wolverines travel to Lincoln, Nebraska tomorrow to face the Cornhuskers for the 8th meeting between the two schools.  Michigan holds a 4-2-1 record against Nebraska, including last season's 45-17 beat down in A2.  Will the Wolverines be able to generate some offense against a team with a pulse?  Will the defense be able to stop Taylor Martinez?  Unfortunately, we can't answer that.  But we can answer everything else you need to know about Michigan's opponent in the latest thrill-fest known as KNOW YOUR FOE: Nebraska 2012.


The seal looks like
the wheel from
Wheel of Fortune.
History – The University of Nebraska was created in 1869, two years after Nebraska achieved statehood. The Nebraska legislators elected to create one unified University in the state, unlike their uppity neighbors Iowa and Kansas. That's why we don't have a Nebraska State University. The first two degrees were granted in 1873 and I can't help but wonder if the guy who was second in the class ever admitted to being last in his class. The first 20 years of the school were marked by small classes and lack of funds before a late-century boom took the enrollment to around 1,500 students. Near the end of the 19th century it was the 15th biggest school in the country. Growth continued into the 20th century with the development of the farm campus (seriously), which is now known as East Campus. The school is formally named the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is commonly referred to as UNL, NU (which makes no sense) or simply Nebraska or also that school that had to beg for a share of the National Championship in 1997 as a going away present for Tom Osborne.


Hey look, there's a star above Lincoln!
Location – Lincoln, Nebraska. Lincoln is the second largest city in the state (behind Omaha) and is one of five state capitals that also house Big Ten teams (along with St. Paul, Columbus, Madison and Lansing – it’s close enough). It’s nicknamed the Star City because it’s the capital and state capitals are represented by stars on a map (Know Your Foe is a bit of a map geek and even we find that lame. Not quite the “Big Apple” of "Windy City” for sure).

There’s a 20 foot statue of a
farmer up there – pretty cool.
The city was obviously named for Abraham Lincoln but that decision was, believe it or not, met with controversy. The village was originally founded as Lancaster in 1856 when the capital of Nebraska territory was in Omaha. Legislators wanted to move the capital closer to more densely populated part of the state so they chose Lancaster as the new capital. However, some legislators who were against the move tried to derail this plan by renaming Lancaster to Lincoln after the recently assassinated President. They knew this would be met with hostility since many residents were sympathetic to the Confederacy in the recently completed Civil War. But the ploy didn’t work and even though Lancaster became Licoln, it was still named the capital upon statehood on March 1, 1867.

Lincoln’s main industry is service, and the economy is driven by the university and the state government. There are virtually no suburbs as most of the land around the city has already been annexed. The town is home to the second tallest capitol building in the U.S. and is the hometown to erudite talk show host Dick Cavett.


Nickname – Cornhuskers. There's no conference in the country with the variety of excellent nicknames that the Big Ten has. With the exception of the Wildcats, and maybe the Spartans, each Big Ten school boasts a nickname that are unique and instantly identify their teams. This might've been the best reason to allow Nebraska into the conference. Cornhuskers is absolutely unique and brings to mind only one thing: Nebraska. So much so that the state officially co-opted the nickname in 1945.

Before the turn of the 20th century, the Nebraska football teams had a number of nicknames including the Old Gold Knights, the Antelopes, the Tree-Planters, the Rattlesnake Boys, and the Bugeaters, which was their most popular name until 1900. At that time, Lincoln sportswriter Cy Sherman believed that the Nebraska team deserved a more glamorous name. The Iowa teams at that time were sometimes referred to as Cornhuskers and Sherman thought that name was better suited for the Nebraska team. Besides, Iowa fans were partial to one of their other nicknames, the Hawkeyes. The Cornhusker nickname stuck and Sherman went on to a 60-year sportswriting career and is credited (or blamed) for originating the AP football poll that still rues its ugly head over college football to this day (Hell, they even include disgraced Ohio State in their poll this season).

Mascot – Herbie Husker. The Cornhuskers went through a number of mascots, starting with Corn Cob in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Yes, this was a guy wearing a giant corn cob head. 1962 saw the arrival of Husker Man who looked like Purdue Pete’s alcoholic brother. Husker Man didn’t stick around very long and gave way to another anthromorphic corn cob, Mr. Cornhead, in the mid ‘60s (who looked like a weird condom with a red hat on top). Harry Husker then took over in 1965. Is there any doubt he was based on numerous boosters who set fire to the NCAA rule book?

The corn cobs are cool - the humans are seedy looking.
Finally, in 1974 Herbie Husker was born. He was the result of the incredible cartoonist Dirk West. Seriously, check out his work – brilliant on so many levels. West created Herbie for the 1974 Cotton Bowl and later refined the character who would then be used as the mascot for all Husker teams since. He underwent a major transformation in 2003, losing the gut and getting quite cut (unlike actual Nebraska fans). He also lost the dye job and is now a brunet. All of this surely helped him win the national mascot of the year in 2006. In 1994 Lil’ Red joined the Nebraska mascot family. The inflatable dude is the nightmare Michigan fans had when Dave Brandon floated the idea of a Wolverine mascot for kids to take pictures with.
I prefer original Herbie - he
had a corn cob in his pocket.
Colors – Scarlet and Cream. One of only eight schools to call their red scarlet, they’re also one of only three NCAA schools that count their white as cream (along with Indiana and Oklahoma). Know Your Foe has stated our problem with red (or scarlet) over the years here on the MZone. Suffice it to say, it’s just too common. No wonder the Huskers gave up so many points to Ohio State earlier this season – they probably didn’t want to tackle anyone wearing the exact same colors as they were wearing. Besides, scarlet and cream sounds like a delicious ice cream flavor.
The colors haven’t changed in Lincoln for over a century. At one point the team wore gold as evidenced by the Gold Knights nickname in use in the late 19th century. But the scarlet and cream combo has been a Nebraska tradtion since the Cornhusker nickname came into being in 1900. The only slight deviation is the reference to the Nebraska defense as the “Blackshirts.” This nickname is in reference to the black practice jerseys worn by the first team defense in practice and dates back about 50 years when legendary head coach Bob Deveney wanted the defense to wear a contrasting color to the offense’s red scarlet. Thankfully the Huskers haven’t succumbed to the uniform nonsense of late and haven’t gone to a black uniform. Yet.

Looks like something
from Laugh-In.
Logo/Helmet – Since 2004 Nebraska has gone with a simple red block N and for the ten years before that they superimposed a script “Huskers” over the N. Unfortunately these recent logos feed the stereotype about the state – flat and boring. But in doing research for this piece, Know Your Foe was fortunate enough to find HuskerJ’s page of Nebraska’s mascots and logos. Scroll down and check out the absolutely groovy logos from the early ‘70s. Far freakin’ out. How could that possibly come from the same school that’s used the block N for twenty years?

No need to mess with this.
Nebraska’s helmet might not be as flashy as whatever crap Nike’s been pushing on everybody, but it’s solid as hell and has been virtually unchanged for over 40 years. A simple white shell, a scarlet stripe down the middle and a plain but elegant N in the middle. The only change since 1970 was the move to a red facemask for the 1982 Orange Bowl. Nebraska’s helmet history is about as boring (and great) as that of Michigan. Sure, they had NU on there for a a couple of years in the ‘60s and numbers before that. But the current Nebraska helmet is as iconic as any in college football. Let’s hope it stays that way. (As always the helmets are courtesy of the excellent Helmet Project.)

Fight Song – Apparently the Cornhuskers have at least two fight songs. According to this source, they play Hail Varsity after a touchdown, and There’s No Place Like Nebraska (also known as Dear Old Nebraska U) after the extra point. It’s unclear what they play after a field goal or a safety. If There’s No Place Like Nebraska sounds familiar, it should. It’s extremely similar, if not the same, as Florida’s fight song, We Are The Boys of Florida. How could two powerhouse football programs - who met for the national title in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl - have the same fight song? Evidently, they also share the song with the Toledo public school system.

The lyrics to the two songs are quite different. Hail Varsity is pretty standard fight song fare, with a touch of communist march – heavy on loyalty, a politically incorrect sexist bent, and talk of fighting for victory.

Hail to the team!
The stadium rings as everyone sings
The Scarlet and Cream
Cheers for a victory echo our loyalty
So on mighty men!
The eyes of the land upon every hand
Are looking at you
Fight on to victory
Hail to the men of Nebraska U!

There’s No Place Like Nebraska on the other hand is much more charming and unintentionally funny (not to mention a better tune). Any song that mentions that the women are hot, the men are nerds, and the weather sucks is OK with us. The only questionable lyric is the “true blue” mention. That might not fly with Cornhusker fans this week.

There is no place like Nebraska
Dear old Nebraska U
Where the girls are the fairest
The boys are the squarest
Of any old place that I knew
There is no place like Nebraska
Where they're all true blue
We'll all stick together in all kinds of weather
For dear old Nebraska U.


Academics – According to the most recent U. S. News' ranking of America's Best Colleges, Nebraska is 101st, same as last year by far the worst rating for any Big Ten school. Even Sparty is ranked 72nd. Nebraska's tied in the rankings with such academic powerhouses as Iowa State, UC-Riverside, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Maybe the N on the helmet stands for “knowledge" (I know: an oldie but a goody).

Athletics – Nebraska is in their second year in the Big Ten and was a charter member of the Big 12 Conference (and all its various incarnations) in 1907. It’s too early to tell who the Cornhuskers’ rivals will be in the B1G, but ack in the ‘70s and ‘80s there was none better than Nebraska-Oklahoma on the gridiron. However, when the Sooners moved to the South division of the Big 12 they didn’t meet every year which was completely stupid (are you listening, Dave Brandon?). There was an attempt to make Colorado a rival but that never really took.


When this guy's your
all-time leading scorer
you have a bad program.
The Huskers field 21 varsity teams (Michigan has 27), including women’s bowling and women’s rifle (hey, it's Nebraska). The women’s volleyball team is one of the most storied programs in the country. It must be all the beaches in the state that produce such great players. Nebraska has won three NCAA titles (1995, 2000, and 2006), has been a runner-up three times, and has five other final four appearances. The Cornhuskers are second only to Stanford in titles and winning percentage. The men’s gymnastics teams have won eight national titles, though none since 1994, and the women’s track and field team has two national titles, though none since 1984. The men’s basketball team has been a disgrace. They haven’t won a conference title since they shared the Big Seven title in 1950! Know Your Foe didn’t even know there was a Big Seven. They haven’t won an outright conference title since winning the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 1916. They’ve never won an NCAA tournament game, they’ve made only six tournament appearances, and their first trip to the tournament wasn’t until 1986 (but they did make the NIT last season).

When it comes to Nebraska athletics it’s football, football, football. The Huskers began playing football in 1890 and have won 46 conference titles and have won or shared five national championships, including the undeserved share of the 1997 title. Only Michigan and Texas have won more games than Nebraska, with Michigan's 900 tops. Only Rutgers has played more football games than Nebraska (who’s tied with Navy and one game ahead of Michigan), and Nebraska’s all-time winning percentage is 8th best (Michigan, again, is tops). Not only has Nebraska had tremendous on-field success, but they’ve sold out every game since November 3, 1962, an incredible streak of 322 games.

Maybe Carnac knows
who will win on Saturday.
Famous alums – The list of Nebraska alumni isn’t all that impressive (with two exceptions). They’ve had their share of academics you’ve never heard of, some legal figures of low to moderate fame, and, of course, plenty of great football players from Heisman winners Johnny Rodgers (1972), Mike Rozier (1983), and Eric Crouch (2001), to great NFL’ers like Roger Craig, Irving Fryar, and the Detroit Lions’ Ndamukong Suh. But what the Nebraska alumni list lacks in volume it makes up for with quality at the top. Other schools may have more well-known business leaders, but Nebraska boasts one of the wealthiest people in the world and one of the most successful investors ever in Warren Buffett (B.S., 1950). I would imagine he has no problem scoring Husker tickets despite the sellout streak. And though other schools can lay claim to plenty of greats in the entertainment field, Nebraska can top them all with alumnus Johnny Carson (1949). For those too young to know, Carson owned late night TV for decades and paved the way for David Letterman, Jay Leno and pretty much all the rest, not to mention hundreds of comedians. Good stuff.

Three Nebraska graduates have been U.S. senators, five have been U.S. governors, and one was even the president of Latvia, but, alas, no U.S. Presidents

The Game – Boy, I have no idea here.  It's a) on the road b) against an offense that's leading the B1G in points and YPG.  Then again, "NU's" defense is tied with mighty Purdue in giving up 27.7 PPG and is tied with the B1G's real NU with the lowest number of INT's at 3 (a very positive stat as far as Michigan's concerned for reasons KYF doesn't need to explain).  Nebraska has beaten 6-2 Wisconsin and 6-2 Real NU, two better wins than Michigan can boast, while losing to 5-2 UCLA and getting bitch-slapped by 8-0.  So I think it's a coin flip and don't expect a blowout either way.    With Michigan coming off an emotional win against MSU and the game on the road, unfortunately I think that could be the difference:

Michigan - 18 (5 Gibbons, 1 Wile FG)
Nebraska - 20

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two-Minute Drill: Children of the Cornhuskers & Sad Buckeye Nostalgia

Now Playing at the MZone Theater

We have a new movie opening this weekend in our state-of-the-art cineplex.  Prepare yourself for...



Buckeyes Go Back to the Past (Since They're Not Going Anywhere This Year)

Our pal Surrounded in Columbus sent us the pic below with a single line in his email that sums it up perfectly:

"There's something sad about this."



Sad, indeed. And frankly I'm just surprised it hasn't been vacated yet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Last Look at U-M vs MSU: Walmart Wolverine vs Juggalo Nation clips

Michigan and Michigan State didn't just face off on the field last Saturday.  Judging from some YouTube finds, they also faced off at several tailgate gatherings around A2 as well.

First there was some good ol' fashioned slapping the crap out of each other for shits and giggles.  You know, just to prove that Walmart Wolverines a) exist and b) can get along with their Juggalo Nation counterparts in a way only they can.




And what would a rivalry weekend be without a couple of knuckleheads getting into fight during a pre-game tailgate. #Shame


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stephen Colbert's Threat Down: College Football Edition

"Nation, I've always been a big fan of Michigan State football coach and scowling man most likely to tell kids to get the hell off his lawn, Mark Dantonio.  His enduring sportsmanship, like getting into public feuds with 21 year old college kids by mocking their height, along with always looking out for the health and best interests of his players, evidenced by holding them out at least two plays when they get an on-field concussion, have made him a role model Spartan fans can be proud of before, during and after the burning of their couches.

Dantonio consistently displays the kind of prune-faced bravado I like to see from the coach of a Big Ten school that hasn't been to the Rose Bowl since the Reagan Administration.  From shepherding players directly from the jail cell to the sidelines if they get released right before a big game, to defining WWE moves as a "clean game" because what happens in the pile stays in the pile.

That's why I applauded Dantonio last April when he was asked about Michigan's resurgence by ESPN.com and replied, 'We're laying in the weeds.  We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?'

Unfortunately, last Saturday, Dantonio found out.   Which brings me to threat number one... long-haired kickers and forgotten slot receivers.

Shame on you, Michigan, for getting rid of the coach with the worst three-year record in the history of U-M football which opened the door for Dantonio in the first place, and then adding a defense that didn't also double as a noodle strainer.   Where's the sport in that?

And look at your calendar -- it's 2012 not 1972.  Real teams play games with scores like 45-44.  Win or lose.  It doesn't matter.  It's all about the "O".  They don't grind out 12-10 victories.  BORING.

So get with the times.  Before you go back to beating MSU each and every year and threaten the job status of MSU's Mr. Personality... just as you've done to each and every other Spartan coach for the last 40 plus years."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Welcome Home, Paul!

In the wake of Michigan's heart-stopping victory over MSU, our ol' blogging pal Andy made some wallpapers for the MZone faithful.  Enjoy.  Share. Go Blue!




Sparty's Holiday Head

I've never been a fan of special-slash-throwback-slash-legacy uniforms and helmets. They're pulled out so often, there's nothing special about them.  Plus, in an effort to top one's last special-slash-throwback-slash-legacy concoction, they get more and more outrageous and have less and less to do with anything resembling the school's "normal" look.  I mean, what the hell was that "Shit-legal-said-we-don't-have-the rights-from-ND-to-use-their-uniforms-in-our-crappy-ass-D-level-college-football-video-game-for-the-Xbox!-Quick-make-something-up!" look the Irish wore against Miami this year?

And enough with the all black uniforms by everybody.

Seems this season that, even if a school's colors are white and off white, you can still be sure they'll come out in all black duds at some point (or four). Each and every weekend another school gets its Darth Vader on, school colors be damned.  All black unis are officially now the Seven Nation Army of "special" uniforms.

Last Saturday, Michigan State limited their "special" uniform to their helmets.  And yes, they stood out - but not in a good way:

(pic via Uni Watch)

Yes, I'll wait to give your eyes a second to re-adjust.

Called "HydoChrome" helmets, they were, uh, shiny.  In fact, I thought they looked like a bunch of green Christmas ornaments running around on the field (okay, not really "running" since Michigan's defense shut Le'Veon Bell down).


Look, everybody can't be Oregon.  The different-every-week is their schtick.  And black can't be one of your school colors if it's not one of your school colors.  And Nike/Adidas/Scool ADs, just because you call it a "special" jersey, fans aren't stupid enough to spend $80 to buy another one with an extra stripe or two each season (tell me you're not stupid enough).

So let's get back to a school having actual home and away uniforms rather than more costume changes than a Broadway musical.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Know Your Foe - Michigan State 2012

After opening their Big Ten season with two convincing thumpings, Michigan will try to do something they haven't done since Lloyd Carr's last season - beat Sparty. Amazingly, State has won four straight in the series and none of the games were much in doubt. If this Michigan season is to be successful, taking home the the Paul Bunyan Trophy this Saturday in Ann Arbor is a must. Michigan's on a roll and looking for a Big Ten title. State has struggled  in conference with their only win a comeback victory over Indiana. Many of us grew up in Michigan and even the out of staters are familiar with our neighbors to the northwest. But you don't know everything, so without further delay, here is this week’s edition of the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – Founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, though there were no classes until 1857 (and not many since). Contrary to popular belief, it was not the first land grant college in the U.S., though it did serve as the model for which all following land grant universities were modeled. The original curriculum eschewed Latin and Greek studies, but did require three hours of daily manual labor. In 1859, this curriculum was deemed too elitist and the college became a two-year vocational school. A couple years later, the school changed its name to State Agricultural College (yes, SAC) and went back to being a four-year school. The school has had six different names including Michigan Agricultural College, Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science, Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and finally Michigan State University since 1964.

Location – East Lansing, Michigan. The town has a bit of a love-hate relationship with the university. It was  dry until the 1960s, but since then it has been known as a major party town. From huge block parties in the '70s and '80s, to near annual riots after big basketball games, it's almost surprising the flaming couch isn't on the town seal.

The Michigan State campus is huge, but is considered one of the prettiest in the country. The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. The Red Cedar River on campus is a popular spot for students. Though named for the trees along the river's source, the trees are actually junipers, not cedars.

Nickname – Spartans. The teams were known as Aggies until 1925. At that time, a contest was held for a new nickname and - Know Your Foe is not kidding about this - Michigan Staters was selected. The name was deemed too unwieldy for headline writers, so Spartans was then taken as the de facto nickname. The mascot, Sparty, lives on campus in statue form, as well as comical mascot during sporting events. The terra cotta version of Sparty, which depicts the mascot as a Spartan warrior stood outside from 1945 until recently when it was moved indoors to be protected from the weather (not much of a warrior if you ask KYF). A bronze version of the original was erected in the former spot and is guarded during the week before the Michigan game by members of the marching band.

Cartoonish Sparty has shown up at MSU athletic events since 1989. He's won the Mascot of the Year award twice and was nominated to the Mascot Hall of Fame a few years ago (yes, there is such a thing).

Colors/Logo/Fight Song – Green and White. Know Your Foe has always been partial to these colors. They're sharp and not used all that much in college football. The Spartans made an improvement when they moved to a more metallic green in the mid '90s. But they've gone back and forth on so many of their logos that they can't really establish an identity. Of course not winning the conference outright since 1987 might have something to do with that, too. They've used the current Spartan head design on four different occasions. They've had the block "S" for two different stints, including one where they only had it on the right side of the helmet, mimicking the Pittsburgh Steelers. And my goodness, what in the world were they thinking in the mid-'70s?In addition to the Spartan head, the athletic department has used numerous wordmarks, most of them emphasizing the word "State." Talk to people not from Michigan - when they hear someone talking about State, they're bound to laugh. It truly does sound like something that would be said on Leave It To Beaver. "Yes, Mrs. Cleaver, Wallace and I are planning on applying to State..."

The MSU Fight Song is another among the top fight songs in the country. From the opening line of "On the banks of the Red Cedar" to the concluding "Fight! Fight! Rah, team fight!" it's a classic.

On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is winning,
And those Spartans play good ball;
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the game they fight;
Fight for the only colors:
Green and White.
Go right through for MSU,
Watch the points keep growing,
Spartan teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
See their team is weakening,
We're going to win this game,
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight!
Victory for MSU!

The original lyrics are similar with a few differences that KYF found humorous and telling.

On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is farming,
And those farmers play football;
Aggie teams are never beaten,
All through the game they'll fight;
Fight for the only colors:
Green and White.
Smash right through that line of blue,
Watch the points keep growing.
Aggie teams are bound to win,
They're fighting with a vim!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Michigan is weakening,
We're going to win this game.
Fight! Fight! Rah! Team, Fight!
Victory for M.A.C.!


Is there any doubt that Sparty thoughts - even with a four-game winning streak in the series - are dominated by Michigan?

Academics – MSU is ranked 72nd in the U.S. News rankings, which ties them with Iowa and Virginia Tech. The only Big Ten schools ranked lower are Indiana and Nebraska.  Of course, they pale in virtually every category to Michigan academically which has led to numerous family dinners being ruined. But talk to any Sparty alumnus and they'll be sure to point out how they have a real strong Hotel and Restaurant management program, something Michigan doesn't even offer. Plus, as a disappointed product of public schools in Michigan, Know Your Foe would like to blame Michigan State for producing so many of the teachers in the state.

Athletics – The Spartans became a member of the Big Ten in 1950. They have excelled in basketball (two national titles, eight Final Fours), and hockey (three NCAA titles). But it's football they'd love to be good at. During Michigan's dark years (2008-10), Sparty took advantage, even tying for the Big Ten title in 2010 and losing the Big Ten title game - in typical Sparty fashion - last year. Unfortunately, they've only managed one Rose Bowl appearance in the last 45 years and have a 32-67-5 record against their one and only rival, Michigan despite their recent winning streak.

Famous alums – There’s no excuse for a school as huge as Michigan State to have such a barren list of famous alumni. But they do. Come on, Robert Urich and James Caan? That's as good as they can do from an entertainment standpoint? The stars, respectively, of TV schlockapaloozas Vegas and Las Vegas? Please. As far as politics, all the Sparties can claim are some past governors of Michigan. No Presidents. And they also claim a former Secretary of Energy (Spencer Abraham). But no astronauts. Space, bitches, Space.

The Game – When the season began, most Michigan fans were hoping for a lot of things. Maybe an upset of Alabama, maybe a winning streak against tOSU, maybe a Rose Bowl appearance. Those were hopes. There was one thing Michigan fans demanded to have this season - a win over Sparty. Of all the things that happened while Rich Rodriguez was coach, the most appalling was the ceding of state supremacy to Michigan State for the first time in over 40 years. But since the arrival of Brady Hoke the tide has turned. Michigan has regained dominance on in-state recruiting and Sparty has really struggled on the field this season. A Wolverine victory on Saturday would continue, and accelerate these happy trends.  MICHIGAN 23, MICHIGAN STATE 19.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stub Hub vs Season Tickets: MSU

Today we continue our 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. 

Our hypothesis for this ultra-scientific MZone study is as follows:

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

To recap the parameters of our study and what different seats in The Big House cost:

We're assuming two tickets to each game (together) and looking 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.




Cost to Purchase U-M Season Tickets in 2012

Michigan only has 6 homes games this season due to the opener in Dallas against Alabama.  And of those six games, all of them have a face value of $75 each - except the MSU game which is $95 per ticket.  Thus, one's "face value" ticket cost would be $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).

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.  Now double that for a pair of tickets.

Michigan State

If anything is going to blow our above hypothesis out of the water, it's this week's game vs Michigan State: the only real "hot ticket" on the entire 2012 U-M home schedule.  True, MSU isn't doing as well as expected, but that has never seemed to matter in the past when it comes to ticket demand and the "want to be there" factor for this heated rivalry.  What will that to ticket prices on StubHub?  Let's find out.

Season Ticket Price - Endzone Seats:

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

StubHub Price - Endzone Seats:

As of late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, there are some 1,500+ seats left for sale on StubHub.  Last week as we did this post for the Illinois game, we found endzone seats for $147 each.  Currently, we found two in Section 5, Row 79 for $135 each, a total of $270.  But while there is no PSD on StubHub, there is an electronic delivery charge of $4.95 and a service charge of $27. 

Endzone Total:

Season Ticket Endzone Guy - $146.67
StubHub Dude - $301.95

Winner: Dave Brandon's bitch by $155.28

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

Season Ticket Price - Maize Section:

Two tickets in sideline sections 3, 4, 20, 21, 42 or 44 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 this year's homecoming game.

StubHub Price - Maize Section:

Found two for in Section 4 for $175 each (lowest pair by $20).  Same $4.95 "electronic delivery charge" (aka email) and a service fee of $35 (1) for a total of $389.95.

Maize Section Total:

Season Ticket Maize Guy - $213.33
StubHub Dude - $389.95

Winner: Season Ticket Maize Guy by $176.62

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 Price - Victors Section Price:

In case you're wondering, last week the cheapest pair we could find in the Victor's section came out to $285 each. So did the prices in the last week go up or down?  Well...

Tonight I found two tix in Section 1, Row 82 for $206 each (plus $4.95, plus a are-you-fucking-kidding-me service charge of 41.20).

Victors Section Total:

Season Ticket Victors Guy - $296.67
StubHub Dude - $458.15

Winner: Victor Season Ticket Guy by $161.48

Season Totals*

Endzone Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72
MSU - In the red $155.28

Total Endzone StubHub Savings/Loss So Far - Loss of $58.84

Maize Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38
MSU -  In the red $176.62

Total Maize Section Savings/Loss So Far - Loss of $45.86

Victors Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
MSU - In the red $161.48

Total Victors Section Savings/Loss So Far - Savings of $101.88

Well, well, well.  Didn't see that coming.

Lesson for Mr. 50 Yard Line Guy?  There's a reason you're a heart surgeon and not a ticket scalper.

* We didn't start this series until after the Air Force game and thus don't have exact figures, but a cursory check before the game as we were thinking about a post topic like this revealed something between the UMass and Illinois numbers.  We'll factor those in at the end of the season.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Know Your Foe: Illinois 2012

After thoroughly bitch slapping Purdue, Danny Hope and his mustache, Michigan welcomes Illinois to The Big House this weekend for homecoming.  The Wolverines hold a 68-23-2 advantage in the series, including last season's 31-14 victory.  The Fighting Illini are 2-4 with the two wins coming against Western Michigan and something called Charleston Southern (which we assume is a school and not a character in a Tennessee Williams play).  But of course you knew that.  What you didn't know you'll find below in the oft-copied but never duplicated MZone original...Know Your Foe.

Not sure if this is the seal...
or something from a notary public
History: Founded in 1867, the school was originally called Illinois Industrial University with half the people even way back then probably mispronouncing it as IlliNOISE Industrial University.  The school's first president was obviously injured in a farming accident as he dreamed of creating the "West Point for the working world" but instead wound up with "A place that would hire Ron Zook."  Classes began in the spring of 1868 with two teachers and a small number of students.  As with most land grant colleges of the time, the actual mission of the university was a hotly debated item between those interested in providing a classic liberal arts education and those seeking a trade focused school. Eventually that battle was decided in favor of the holistic liberal arts curricula, and the school was renamed as the University of Illinois in 1885 (with many people still mispronouncing it). In 1982 the name was again formally changed to The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, indicating the flagship status within the University of Illinois system and additional verbiage that nobody really pays attention to.

Location: The University is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (total population 180,000) in east-central Illinois. Situated about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, 180 miles northeast of St. Louis, but only 4 blocks away from the Middle of Nowhere.

Illinois is one of the few educational institutions to own an airport. Willard Airport is an integral part of their Institue of Aviation and they also recieve and launch commercial flights from American Airlines.  Best of all, the airport quickly helps folks get the hell out of Urbana-Champaign as soon as they graduate.

Nickname/Mascot: They call themselves the Fighting Illini. Today the school claims to the NCAA the name is used to honor the Illinoisans ( <-- real word) who fought in World War I. That has not always been the case.

From 1926–2007 Illinois also used the Fighting Illini moniker in reference to the Native American Indians that used to live in the area and had a mascot named Chief Illiniwek. In the 1980s this sparked significant controversy, with critics calling it a racist stereotype and a symbol of the oppression to Native Americans. Supporters claimed that it was inoffensive and a source of pride and reverence. The University remains deeply divided on this issue.

Chief Illiniwek is a fictional name and not based on an actual American Indian chief. Additionally, there was never an Indian tribe that went by the name Illini just as, based on their play on the field this season, there is not a football team with that name either. The actual term is a used to describe the group of six tribes (Kaskaskia, Peoria, Michigamea, Moingwena, Tamaroa and Cahokia) that lived in the area. These Indian tribes were removed by the US government to settle in Kansas in 1832, then in 1867 when the US wanted to open Kansas to white settlers, they were removed to Oklahoma.

Whether Chief Illiniwek was a mascot of the university is a matter of semantics. Most fans considered him such, but the university never officially called the Chief a mascot, instead using the term "symbol," claiming that a mascot hangs with the cheerleaders and cheers from the sideline, things the Chief never did. Regardless, the university started to get some appeals to remove the Chief in 1989. Those were rebuffed due to the passion of alumni. But when the NCAA deemed the mascot/symbol to be “hostile and abusive” in 2005, the Chief’s fate was sealed. After all, the designation was going to cost the university money. So despite some appeals, the university agreed to remove the Chief at university functions. His final performance was at a basketball game on February 21, 2007 before a tearful crowd at the Assembly Hall.

"I know - let's just write the name...then underline it!"
"Duuuude!  Nailed it!"
Colors/Logo/Helmet: Orange and Blue. For the first 25 years of its existence, the University of Illinois changed colors more often than they do head football coaches these days. They originally used silver and cardinal. Then in 1891, blue and white. In 1892, yellow and black were used, while in 1893, Dartmouth green was used in an event by the Athletic Association. They had also previously used black and yellow, crimson and olive green, while the Alumni Association had used old gold and black or orange and black. Finally, with company coming over for the dedication of the Engineering Hall building in 1894, the university officially adopted blue (for steadfastness and stability) and orange (for freedom) as their official colors.  If you hadn't noticed, the NFL Chicago Bears employ the same combination. This is not a coincidence: Bears founder, long-time coach and owner, George Halas, is an Illinois alum.

For KYF's money, Illinois has the worst looking helmet in the Big Ten. The slanted "Illinois" is something my 9 year old nephew could create on an iPad...that he was using for 5 minutes while visiting the Apple store.

Fight Song: The official Illinois fight song is called Oskee Wow Wow, and no, it's not by Ke$ha. The song was written by two Illinois students (Howard Green and Harold Hill) in 1911 – but only after they decided the official school song (Illinois Loyalty) was not very good for getting the crowd fired up during a game a tradition which the team has continued for most of its existence.

It is the only fight song KYF knows of that refers to specific people like Teddy Roosevelt and three guys named Roberts, Artie Hall and Heavy.

Old Princeton yells her tiger, Wisconsin her Varsity.
And they give the same old "Rah-rah-rah! at each university.
But the yell that always thrills me, and fills my heart with joy
is the good old Oskee-Wow-Wow that they yell at Illinois.

Oskee-Wow-Wow, Illinois! Our eyes are all on you.
Oskee-Wow-Wow, Illinois! Wave your orange and your blue (rah, rah!).
When the team trots out before you, every man stand up and yell.
Back the team to gain a victory. Oskee-Wow-Wow, Illinois!

(There is also a second verse, which is rarely sung)
Teddy Roosevelt may be famous, and his name you often hear.
But it's heroes on the football field each college man holds dear.
We think with pride of Roberts, Artie Hall and Heavy, too.
Oskee-Wow-Wow for the wearers of the Orange and the Blue!



Academics: Thanks to Tom Cruise, Illinois has a national pop culture reputation as a "safety school" for Midwestern kids that can't get into to their first choice college. The reality is Illinois is a pretty good school. According to the most recent US News' ranking of America's Best National Universities, Illinois is ranked as the 46th best school in the country (down from 45), tied with fellow B1G school Penn State as well as Texas, Washington and Yeshiva University (which, as you read this, is probably getting an invite to the Big East or being placed on Notre Dame's schedule to replace Michigan).


Football: The Illini started playing football in 1890. Over the years, the team has won 15 Big Ten championships, the last coming in 2001. They have been to 15 bowl games and won 6 of them. Their last bowl win was last season when 6-6 Illinois beat 6-7 UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, possibly the worst excuse for a bowl game in the history of bowl games. They have won or shared five football National Championships, two of them before they were called the Illini. Their last national football championship was in 1951.  They are a charter member of the Big Ten, yet don't really seem to have any rivalries.  They're like that kid your mom used to make you play with because he lived down the street, but you weren't really buddies.

From an individual star football player perspective, it is hard to present better names at the top of the list. The Fighting Illini program has produced three of the greatest football players in the history of the game: Red Grange, Ray Nitschke, and Dick Butkus. For those of you that watch the Big Ten Network, current analyst Howard Griffith also wore the orange and blue.

Yes, this is a trophy game, damnit!  Got Turtle?
Like many B10 teams, Illinois plays in several annual "trophy games," none of which matter.  My favorite is the ever important IlliBuck trophy game with Ohio State. The Illibuck is the second oldest trophy passed between Big Ten Football programs (yep, the Little Brown Jug is the oldest). Originally the "trophy" was a live turtle picked for its long life expectancy as a symbol of the long life of the rivalry (no, seriously, there's a trophy game between OSU and UIUC). Since the original turtle died, there have been nine wooden replica Illibucks carved with the scores from games on its back (I swear to God, we're not f*cking with you on this).

Up until 1933, Illinois was always Ohio State's last game of the season. Ohio State has since replaced them on that last spot on their schedule with someone else.

They also play Purdue for the Purdue Cannon and Northwestern for the Land of Lincoln Trophy (which was originally called the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk and should now be called the Shit, Is This The Only Game On? Trophy).

Athletics: Illinois is a charter member of the Big Ten. The university offers a surprisingly low number of varsity sports. There are only 10 men’s and 11 women’s sports teams. To make things a little more odd, they actually classify cheerleading as both a men’s and women’s varsity sport which, if you've seen them play this year, you can understand.

The Fighting Illini claim they have won twenty-five National Championships dating back to 1900. Surprisingly they have only won two National Championships in any sport since 1958 — Men's Tennis in 2003 and Men's Gymnastics in 1989. No women’s team has ever won a national title.

Most people think of Illinois as a basketball school. They have won 17 Big Ten titles and been to five Final Fours. Sadly, their basketball success seems to always end in ruin as they hold the record for playing in the most NCAA tournament games without a winning a championship. Most will recall the 2005 Illinois basketball team that went undefeated until the last game of the regular season (where they lost to Ohio State) and then lost again in the NCAA Finals game to North Carolina. Also, not many Michigan fans can forget how the Illini lost in the 1989 Final Four Semis – after they had beaten us twice in the regular season.

Like we were going to go with Larry Ellison's picture
Famous Alumni: Famous former Illinois athletes include NBA stars Derek Harper, Eddie Johnson, Nick Anderson and Kendall Gill. Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau. NFL top pick Jeff George and Pro Bowler Simeon Rice.

The list of non-athlete famous people that attended Illinois’ is pretty impressive. They claim to have 21 Nobel laureates and 20 Pulitzer Prize winners. Names you may recognize include actor Gene Hackman, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Congressman, Lincoln Memorial Architect Henry Bacon, Phoenix sports owner Jerry Colangelo, BET founder Robert Johnson, former GE Chairman Jack Welsh, and the creator of the Harlem Globetrotters Abe Saperstein.  ‘60s comedian, singer and satirist Allan Sherman was kicked out of U of I for being in a female dorm past curfew.

And all readers of this blog are indebted to several Illinois alums who made/make the MZone possible. This list includes Marc Andreessen, the creator of Mosaic (the first graphical Web browser) and Netscape; Steve Chen, the co-founder of YouTube; and Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine.

For those of you are keeping score: Illinois has had one alum, John Anderson, lose a presidential election but, alas, no U.S. Presidents...and no astronauts.

The Game: If I were a coach, I'd have to talk about how tough each game is and give the familiar speech about not looking past any opponent.  Thankfully I'm not a coach so... Illinois blows.  Sure, I could be polite but facts are facts: Michigan should crush this team.  Correction: the Michigan team that showed up against Purdue should crush this team (the one that appeared in South Bend, well...).  Maybe I'm being too optimistic after one very solid performance.  Yet it still shouldn't matter.  Michigan rolls:

Michigan - 41
Illinois - 14

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stub Hub vs Season Tickets: Illinois

Earlier this season, we began 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.  As we mentioned in that first post, 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.

Our hypothesis for this ultra-scientific MZone study is as follows:

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

And just to recap the parameters of our study and what different seats in The Big House cost:

We're assuming two tickets to each game (together) and looking 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.




Cost to Purchase U-M Season Tickets in 2012

Michigan only has 6 homes games this season due to the opener in Dallas against Alabama.  And of those six games, all of them have a face value of $75 each - except the MSU game which is $95 per ticket.  Thus, one's "face value" ticket cost would be $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).

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.  Now double that for a pair of tickets.

Illinois

This week's home game against 2-4 Illinois also happens to be homecoming.  What will that to ticket prices on StubHub?  Let's find out.

Season Ticket Price - Endzone Seats:

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

StubHub Price - Endzone Seats:

As of Tuesday night, StubHub had two seats in Section 10, Row 77 for $50 each, a total of $100.  But while there is no PSD on StubHub, there is an electronic delivery charge of $4.95 and a service charge of $10.00.  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 - $114.95

Winner: StubHub Dude by $31.72.

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

Season Ticket Price - Maize Section:

Two tickets in sideline sections 3, 4, 20, 21, 42 or 44 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 this year's homecoming game.

StubHub Maize Price:

Found two for in Section 4 for $75 each.  Same $4.95 "electronic delivery charge" (aka email) and a service fee of $15 for a total of $169.95.

Maize Section Total:

Season Ticket Maize Guy - $213.33
StubHub Dude - $169.95

Winner: StubHub Dude by $43.38

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 two tix in Section 1, Row 87 for $88 each (plus $4.95, plus $17.60).

Victors Section Total:

Season Ticket Victors Guy - $296.67
StubHub Dude - $198.55

Winner (by TKO): StubHub Dude by $98.12.

Season Totals

Endzone Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72

Total Endzone StubHub Savings So Far - $96.44

Maize Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38

Total Maize Section Savings So Far - $130.76

Victors Seats on StubHub:

UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12

Total Victors Section Savings So Far - $263.36

NOTE: I didn't start this series until after the Air Force game and thus don't have exact figures, but a cursory check before the game as I was thinking about a post topic like this revealed something between the UMass and Illinois numbers.  We'll factor those in at the end of the season.

Michigan State

The only "hot" ticket on the U-M home schedule this year is the Michigan State game on October 20th (sorry, Northwestern).  When I did the UMass post for this series, I could get two in the endzone for $220 each, or in Section 1 for $450 each.  Today, on Tuesday night as I finish this post, here is the MSU ticket sitch on StubHub:

Endzone - $147 each
Section 1 - $285 each

Monday, October 08, 2012

Michigan/Ohio State Rivalry Being Used for Presidential Politics

We don't do politics here on the MZone.  That way lies madness.  But when politics crosses over into the college football world, then it's fair game.

Case in point, the anti-Romney ad below which ran Friday in the Tosu student newspaper, The Lantern.

As the BuzzFeed headline on the story perfectly states: The Ohio Democratic Party Plays the College Football Card.


And, again per Buzzfeed, here's the clean ad:



Allow me to reiterate the MZone's political neutrality before I state for the record that if you're basing your choice for President of the United States of America on a football rivalry, maybe you shouldn't be voting.

(Big HT to SiC)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Know Your Foe: Purdue 2012

Saturday marks the start of Big Ten play for Michigan which heads to West Lafayette to take on Purdue.  The 2-2 Wolverines are coming off a bye week following the debacle in South Bend.  This will be the 58th meeting between the two schools, with Michigan holding a 43-14 advantage in the series.  Last year, U-M stomped all over the Boilermakers, 36-14.  But those are the facts you can find anywhere.  Below is the stuff you didn't know in another death-defying edition of Know Your Foe.

"Hey, IU -- blow me!"
History: Purdue was founded as a land grant college on May 6, 1869 when the Indiana General Assembly accepted a $150K donation and 100 acres of land from Lafayette businessman John Purdue to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. But it wasn’t just the Morrill Act and Purdue's love of education that got the school started. It was spite. Purdue had been denied a professorship at Indiana University. So to help Indiana students have an alternative to the school in Bloomington, Purdue donated the money and land to help start the school that would bear his name.  Classes first began at Purdue on September 16, 1874 with 39 students. Purdue issued its first degree, not surprisingly a Bachelor of Science, in 1875.

As a side note, Mr. Purdue’s is buried on campus near the Union Building and not, as many think, inside coach Danny Hope's mustache.

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue is the flagship of the six campuses within the Purdue University System, one of the largest university systems in the United States. It is the most densely populated city in Indiana and situated in Tippecanoe County about 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The place is named in honor of General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.


Can't be all bad in WL, right?
While former MZone cohort Andy claimed in a previous KYF to have known some nice looking Purdue grads, he also noted this in no place to go looking for girls. According to the 2010 US Census, there are 13,337 males age 20-24 in WL with only 9,337 females.  This depressing stat (for dudes at least) can be explained by Purdue's strong academic programs in male-dominated fields such as engineering.  Whatever the reason, the MZone hereby motions to rename West Lafayette as Sausage, Indiana.

Nickname: Boilermakers.  The nickname dates back to 1891 when a local reporter referred to the football team as “Boiler Makers” following a 44-0 whitewash of Wabash College. The title of the story was called “Slaughter of Innocents” (which is not Purdue's fight song, no matter what their football history may imply). The next year the student newspaper (still called the Exponent) began using the name and it stuck. As far as nicknames go, this one is a true original. Purdue is the only college known as the Boilermakers.

Before becoming the Boilermakers, Purdue’s sports teams had a bunch of silly industrial/farming names, including the surreal “Clod Mashers and Lunch Punishers from the wilds of Tippecanoe County”. Other names were the Corn Huskers, Rail Splitters, Haymakers, LogHaulers, Blacksmiths, Sluggers, Hayseeds, Pumpkin-shuckers and my personal favorite: Cornfield Sailors...not that there's anything wrong with that.


Kiddie ride? Nope. Purdue's mascot
Mascot: The Boilermaker Special has been the official mascot of Purdue University since 1940. It essentially is a Victorian-era railroad locomotive built on a truck chassis. The Special was originally designed to demonstrate Purdue's engineering programs. It is "street legal" and can be driven on expressways at a top speed of 65mph and it attends all of Purdue’s football games home & away. Hats bearing the logos of defeated opponents are attached to the Boilermaker Special's cow-catcher (which leaves it pretty empty some years). There is a smaller version (called the X-Tra) for indoor events. The Special is operated, maintained, and funded by the unfortunately named Purdue Reamer Club.

Just to be confusing, the official mascot of Purdue athletics since 1940 has been Purdue Pete. He began as a logo for the campus bookstore. He made his first physical appearance as the athletics mascot at a pep rally in 1956. Pete has lost his head several times, literally. They lost his original paper-mache head in 1962 on the way back from Iowa City. The head was in the back of the Boilermaker Special when a strong gust of wind blew it out into the road. The crew stopped the Special and searched for hours for the head without any luck. The only thing they found was little piece of the shoulder pad.

About the only think missing from Purdue Pete, in our opinion, is a super 'stache in honor of the apparent coaching pre-req at PU.

Colors/Logo/Helmet: In 1887 Purdue University adopted its school colors, Old Gold and Black. These distinctive colors were inspired by the brass and iron found on the steam engine Lafayette that passed through the state (OK, we get it -- you like trains). Unlike Big Ten teams Iowa and Minnesota, the Purdue gold is actually gold, not yellow.

They use a “forward moving P,” as their primary logo. This logo is nice clean and basic. They have also used various versions of a train engine as an alternative logo. Again, it is a uniquely Purdue symbol and there is no confusing it with any other college logo.


Considering they have not had a ton of success as a football program, they have a pretty stable helmet history. In the early 1950’s Purdue’s helmets looked a little bit like the Michigan helmets without the wings. They went to a “numbers on the side” period in the 1960’s until they went with the current gold with a black P in the early 1970’s. However, for some reason during the last two years of the Fred Akers era they had a two-year fling with black helmets (1989 and 1990).

When Drew Brees led Purdue to the 2001 Rose Bowl, they wore a special “Rose Bowl” version of the helmet. I think it looked great because it combined the classic Purdue style with the very special (and rare, as it only happened once before in '67) occasion of the Rose Bowl visit.

Fight Song Hail Purdue! is the official fight song of Purdue University. The lyrics were written by James Morrison, to the tune set by Edward Wotawa in 1913. The song was initially titled "Purdue War Song" and was dedicated to the Varsity Glee Club, of whom Wotawa was a member.  The lyrics also talk about friendship, and time spent together, so it starts to devolve into a poem a guy would write to a girlfriend he just dumped, but overall a solid fight song.



Hail Purdue
To your call once more we rally,
Alma Mater, hear our praise;
Where the Wabash spreads its valley,
Filled with joy our voices raise.
From the skies in swelling echoes
Come the cheers that tell the tale,
Of your vic'tries and your heroes,
Hail Purdue! We sing all hail!

Hail, hail to old Purdue!
All hail to our old gold and black!
Hail, hail to old Purdue!
Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful ever true,
Thus we raise our song anew,†
Of the days we've spent with you,
All hail our own Purdue.

When in after years we're turning,
Alma Mater, back to you,
May our hearts with love be yearning,
For the scenes of old Purdue.
Back among your pathways winding
Let us seek what lies before,
Fondest hopes and aims e'er finding,
While we sing of days of yore.


Academics: The reputation of Purdue as a top engineering school is well known. It was the first university in America to award an aviation engineering degree under the direction of the Wright brothers. Purdue was the first university in the country to offer college credit for flight training, and the first to offer a degree in aviation. Over the last ten years, Purdue has awarded more aerospace engineering degree than any other school, and awards more engineering degrees to women than any college in the country. It’s known as the cradle of astronauts, and has one of the largest international student populations of any public university in the U.S.

According to the latest US News and World Reports rankings, Purdue comes in #65 (down from #62 last year).  Not exactly Michigan, but more importantly to John Purdue -- higher ranked than Indiana!

Athletics: Purdue was a charter member of the Big Ten and played a central role in its creation. They have an intense rivalry with Indiana in all sports. The Boilermakers battle the Hoosiers on the football field each year to win the Old Oaken Bucket. Purdue leads the series by a wide margin. Found on a farm in southern Indiana, the oaken bucket is one of the oldest football trophies in the nation. The winner of game gets to add a bronze "P" or "I" chain link and keep the trophy until the next face-off. Ironically, the first competition in 1925 led to a 0-0 tie, resulting in the first link on the chain being an "IP."

It is good that they battle so hard with Indiana, because in over 100 years of Big Ten football the Boilermakers haven’t really battled anyone else. They have won only one non-shared conference championship (1929) and have only shared of seven others. Only two of those co-championships have taken place in the last 55 years.

But in basketball it is a different story -- Boilermaker Basketball teams have won more Big Ten Championships than any other conference school, with 27 (Men 21 and Women 6). The guys have been to two Final Fours and the ladies three. The Purdue Women won the NCAA title 1999 while the Men were voted NCAA Champs in 1932 (before the NCAA tourney).

The rest of the Boilermakers athletic teams are just plain weak. In this century, they’ve only won a handful of Big Ten titles. They show no historical conference dominance in any sport. Their only other national championships have come in golf (1961 Mens and 2010 Ladies).


Purdue's Popcorn Engineer
Famous alums: Purdue alumni have headed corporations, held federal offices, founded television networks, and flown through space. Purdue’s distinguished faculty have won Nobel prizes, solved long-standing riddles in science, headed government agencies, and received countless awards. Famous Purdue people include: Russell Games Slayter, inventor of fiberglass; Harold Gray, creator of Little Orphan Annie; George Peppard, movie actor; Orville Redenbacher, popcorn king; and Ruth Siems, inventor of stove top stuffing. They have a nice list of famous athletes including legendary basketball coach John Wooden; NFL Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram; and Pro Bowl QBs Drew Brees, Len Dawson, and Bob (you can call me Brian's Dad) Griese. I would be remiss without mentioning that former Lions QB and current SEC lobbyist Gary Danielson went to Purdue. It is sad to see that a guy that went to high school in Michigan and attended a Big Ten School can be such a blow-hard against his midwestern football roots.

As I mentioned above, Purdue is known as the "Cradle of Astronauts". They have graduated 22 NASA astronauts, including the first and last men to walk on the moon. Pretty impressive. The most recognizable Purdue Space Man is Neil Armstrong. So yes, Purdue beats Michigan in the race to space -- but they have no US Presidents.  White House, Bitches!

The Game:  Is Purdue any good?  Who knows.  The Boilermakers are about as much of a riddle as Michigan.  At 3-1, they beat three corpses in Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall while losing a heartbreaker to ND in South Bend on a last second field goal.  What does that tell KYF?  Not much.  If the game was at  home, I think I'd feel very confident picking Michigan for that reason alone.  But Michigan's offensive road woes under Hoke/Borges are officially now just this side of alarming (as well as their 2-4 record away from the Big House).  Yet I can't believe the Denard I saw in South Bend is the one who is going to finish out his career at Michigan.  He's not only a better QB than that, but a better competitor than that.  He and the team bounce back and keep our Rose Bowl hopes alive, but it won't be easy.


Michigan - 31
Purdue - 24