Friday, September 17, 2010

Guest Blog from "Maize & Brew"

I had a chance to swap questions and answers with Maize&Brew Dave who runs the excellent Maize & Brew Michigan Blog.

UMass Blog:The Maize & Brew is a great name for a Blog! While visiting Ann Arbor, UMass fans may have the occasion to be thirsty. Can you recommend any places to remedy that problem?

MAB:Thank you, my friend. As you can guess, the name was inspired by a certain love of malty, hoppy beverages, so I can suggest a place or two to partake. My personal favorite is Ashley's. 70 plus taps. Great food. But get there early. There are two TVs in the place so don't go there planning to watch a game. Go there planning to drink outstanding beverages. Next on my list is Grizzly Peak, for a higher quality meal, and outstanding home brewed beer. The big oak bar, friendly people and great pub and german food. this is a can't miss if you like good craft beer and better food. If you're looking for a complete list of great things to see and places to eat in Ann Arbor, check out Maize n Brew's 100 Reasons to love Ann Arbor. Click through, there are plenty of places to eat and drink that you'll love. If you want an incredibly greasy burger, Blimpy Burger is your one stop shop. Ask for the fried egg on top of a quint.

UMass Blog:At UMass, we love our marching bands. In 1998, the UMass band won the Sudler Trophy for the top college band in any division. Please tell us about the Michigan Band and other game day traditions at the Big House. (Note: this question was asked before I learned about George.)

Ah here we go. As game time approaches there are many things you're going to want to do. A recent innovation in the ever expanding list of Michigan traditions is the "Victors' Walk". The Victors Walk was started by Rodriguez as a way to get the fans fired up before games and allowing the fans the opportunity to give high fives and cheer on the Maize n Blue before the entered the stadium. Everyone who's gone has said nothing but great things about it, and it's worth your time to see it at least once. The walk usually occurs about three hours before game time.

For the musically inclined, the Michigan Marching Band does it's final warmup and march to Michigan Stadium around 11:30-11:45am. If you love the pageantry of college football, this is something you must see.
HT: The Rivalry, Esq.

Now, aside from some of the festivities surrounding the Band and the Team, there's still a lot to see in Ann Arbor. If you get there early enough, I'd recommend walking through the Diag and to the Union just to see the sites. The Union is still one of the Grande Dames of the Big Ten's architecture and the Diag is as classic a collegiate setting as you will ever see in your life. For merchandising, our buddies at Underground Printing have the hook up as well as our friends at the MDen and Moe's Sports Shop.

But as we get closer to game time, if you want to see a mass of humanity united in a single endeavor you must, MUST walk down State Street to the point where it meets Hoover Street. The intersection of State and Hoover has turned into a traffic nightmare but a tailgating party dream over the last few years. The streets are literally clogged with collegians partying, drinking, dancing, and listening to music that I listened to more than fifteen years ago. Yes, Humpty Dance/Bust a Move/Anything by Blondie were already old when I went to school; and yes, they're still being played. As you turn down Hoover toward the stadium, it's a sea of humanity.



Then, you arrive at the stadium. Make sure you arrive about a half hour prior to game time so that you can see the team Touch the Banner and the Band make the pre-game Block M on the field. These last things are post tailgate, and things you should do anyway.

UMass Blog:My copy of the Sporting News 2010 College Football preview magazine has Michigan picked #8 in the Big Ten. That was BDR (before Denard Robinson). Tell us about him. You had Superman on your team last year and didn't play him?

MAB: Heh. Yeah. But Superman didn't learn how to throw the ball until this season. Denard was one of those incredibly gifted athletes that never really received position coaching until he got to college. Everyone knew how fast he was. Everyone knew how strong his arm was. But getting those two attributes on the same page took a while. With a full season under his belt, Denard finally had the game slow down for him and he finally had the chance to receive some basic QB coaching. The result has been awesome. But before people forget, it's not like the guy ahead of him is chopped liver. Tate Forcier was a really good freshman quarterback. It's not a case of someone losing a starting job. It's one of those kids, Denard, winning it. And that's what's gotten Michigan fans so excited. Just as a final aside, Denard really is a great kid.

UMass Blog:From what I've been reading Michigan has been having some injury problems especially on defense. Will that be a factor against a FCS team like UMass?

MAB: Your guess is as good as mine. Michigan's defense is a huge question mark this season and it's not like we haven't had problems defending against FCS opponents before. Here's the thing, we lost our most important starter before the season even started. So at this point there's no "OMG Whatawedo!?" going through the program. There aren't any starters from the last game that will be out for this week, so I don't think there are any problems that would effect Michigan more this week than any other week.

UMass Blog:In preseason, UMass was also picked 8th in our league primarily because we only returned only nine starters. It seems we have filled those places with some pretty good players. UMass fans are thinking playoffs. With the stellar play of Robinson, what are the upper limits on the hopes of Michigan fans?

MAB :Like you guys, a hot start fuels a lot of optimism. Michigan fans, at least those with short memories, are already practicing Denard's Heisman speech. I'm not quite that drunk on the Kool-Aid.... yet... Robinson's play has actually been beyond anything we could've hope for from the QB position but it's also shown us how reliant we are upon him. So, with little non-Robinson related production, I can't bring myself to go beyon my initial 7-8 win prediction for the Wolverines this year. Do I think there's a possibility that Michigan could get to 10 wins? Sure. It's a possibility. But it's equally possible the wheels could fall off like they did last year. So this season I think most Michigan fans are holding their breath and keeping it realistic.

Special thanks for Dave for taking the time to visit with us! Be sure to check out Maize & Brew for Michigan news,