David, aka @wiscoinferno on Twitter, gives us the goods on his trip to Michigan last week
Ever since moving to the great city of Chicago in May 2014, it has been a somewhat serious goal of mine to attend Badger games at all 14 Big Ten venues. As a Big Ten and general college football fan, one of the places that has always been at the top of my list is Ann Arbor and Michigan Stadium. Plus, I have always wanted to check out different campuses when the opportunity presents itself and the University of Michigan did not disappoint.
As for Michigan Wolverines football, after taking a break from their spot as one of the top Big Ten teams (and hiring some terrible head coaches), Go Blue is back and ready for a run at the playoffs. So why wouldn’t I want to attend a Badger game in Ann Arbor?
Driving about 250 miles east, I arrived in Ann Arbor late on Friday night. My morning began with an outstanding breakfast at Afternoon Delight Café (the biscuits and gravy were superb) about one mile north of Michigan Stadium. I was pleasantly surprised to see the restaurant filled with about 30% Badger fans.
The area around campus reminds me a lot of Madison. Smoke shops, eclectic eateries, clothing stores, and of course, legal speakeasies are scattered about its beautifully green environs. Don’t hate me for this, but my one huge complaint about Wisconsin’s campus is how spread out it is - Michigan, at least its undergraduate campus, is the exact opposite. Beautiful lawns and walkways lead to both old and new academic buildings. On this day, the campus was electric, and very, very drunk. I saw fans both young and old drinking Detroit Lions-themed Bud Lights and carrying handles of unsealed booze, something that surprised me (can't do that in Chicago or Madison!). These people LOVE their Wolverines and their alcohol.
Making my way to the game, I passed raucous fraternity houses and apartments in a sea of Maize and Blue. One of the fraternity houses even had a red spray painted junk yard vehicle with Wisconsin written all over it in their front yard to destroy. Needing to get in the college football spirit with all these underagers and free-spirited football fans, I stopped by Quickie Burger, not for food, but for the cheap pitchers of Leinie’s Summer Shandy. After polishing it off in less than a half hour, I made my way to Michigan Stadium.
To be honest, the Big House didn’t feel as massive as it looks on TV. There was plenty of space in the concession/restroom area around the outer part of the stadium. Our seats were opposite the student section and we were surrounded by Michigan fans. They were incredibly mild mannered and even friendly throughout the game even though it was so close from the first kickoff. I really envied their crowd participation during band sequences, actual game play, and during timeouts. It was a crazy atmosphere from start to finish, and was a loud and intimidating atmosphere, at least for a Badger fan in a sea of Maize and Blue.
Obviously the outcome of the game was not what I was hoping but Ann Arbor was so much fun to experience on a football Saturday, I didn’t really care that Bucky lost (maybe it was my eternal pessimism).
My one bit of advice from the weekend: if the opportunity presents itself, GO FOR IT. On, Wisconsin my BuckAround Bros (and gals)!