We'll only accept him if he brings along Rod Roddy to be the new stadium announcer.
Hey now, that's not fair......we no longer have a f*cked up AD because he resigned last Friday. Now we simply have NO permanent AD. Addition by subtraction baby!
I'm a hardcore UM fan. And bless this thread, because the day I venture onto an OSU site and see that their fans no longer care about beating and hating UM is the day I'll know that UM is completely irrelevant in college football.
To the OP from MSU, there's nothing I can say to justify how shitty UM's program is at the moment compared to rivals like MSU, OSU and others. But it is worth noting that the same period of time when UM's program completely fell off a cliff (the last 7 years) is also when UM's basketball program emerged from a decade of complete irrelevance to become a national power again. And as bad as UM's football program has become (pretty atrocious as we're all aware), just understand that the basketball program was in even worse shape in the early-mid 2000's.
The basketball program came back from the abyss because of the combination of a good coaching hire and the built-in advantages that a large, nationally known program like Michigan can enjoy when it's not intentionally shooting itself in the foot. If basketball, a sport that is a clear #2 in the pecking order at UM behind football, can come back the way it did, then I have faith that it won't take long for UM to field a legitimately good football team again IF they can hire the right coach. If not? Then my Fall Saturdays will continue to involve doing things other than watching UM crap itself against teams with a pulse.
In the pieces of the responses where Brandon actually took the time to elaborate on how he shared the fans' frustrations but that the athletes and coaches were working hard to get things fixed, I absolutely could see where he was coming from. The problem is the other pieces, the snarkiness and condescension. That works well if you're a frustrated fan posting on a blog or in the Twitter-verse, not so well if you're the AD at a major program dealing with a customer base who's already pissed off at you for rising ticket prices, poor on-field product and skywriting gaffes.
Brandon's two biggest problems are that he is not in touch with his fanbase and he is not self aware. There are a number of good things he's done as AD, but they've been complete sabotaged by the two problems above and he has nobody to blame but himself.
Yeah, there's probably some of that. But I think there's also something in the DNA of UM fans that makes us unhappy unless we're complaining about something. M Man alluded to it earlier with the students but the alumni can be pretty bad about it too. I've always felt like this is where UM differs from OSU as a fanbase, but I could be mistaken as I'm not close enough to the OSU side of things.
I always felt like UM fans' fatal flaw was that we attack our own too easily, while OSU fans' fatal flaw was that they would defend their own almost to a fault. Like I said, I may be wrong about the OSU piece but it's just my observation from sitting on the other side of the fence.
I was at that game and know exactly what you mean. I was also in AA at The Game in 97, 99, 01, 05 and 11. All of those games had different turning points, but they were all generally intense, close contests that could have gone either way. They were typical examples of what the rivalry always was and should be, and hopefully will be again one day if UM ever gets its collective shit together.
That said, I do believe that UM football will not be resigned to permanent irrelevance. In my lifetime, I've seen almost every major program (Miami, Oklahoma, Florida, Penn State, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, USC, Nebraska, LSU among others) go through significant down swings. The usual culprits were some combination of bad coaching and/or scandals. But every one of these programs re-emerged at one point or another and Michigan will too, just not right away.
Hell, the Michigan basketball program went through far worse than what the football program has gone through over the last few years and even they came out of it after a decade of futility. If the basketball program could recover, then the football program can too. There's too much institutional pride and money tied into UM football for it to stay down forever. But in the short-term, it looks like things will get worse before they get better.
M Man - you probably won't like to hear my answer but be it at Michigan or any other large football program I would treat and manage the student section differently from the other season ticketholders, no matter how high maintenance they are and no matter how much it eats into my short-term bottom line.
Your earlier point was true about the 80,000 + non student ticketholders providing the bulk of the financial support for the athletic department. But from a public perception and gameday experience perspective, the student ticketholders are far more important than the 80,000 majority. A college stadium full of non students isn't a college football game anymore - it's just an NFL game played on Saturday.
So to answer your question, I would go out of my way to cater to the students (within reason). This would include the following:
1. Drop the current student ticket prices to $35/game and keep the price fixed going forward, with increases only to the extent of annual inflation
2. In the event of a season with 5 losses or more, implement an "early bird" renewal package for the next year that offers a 5-7% pricing discount if the students renew their season tickets by a certain date
3. Revert back to the traditional seating policy of the last 30-some years - students get assigned a section based on seniority but then have the ushers relax the game-day enforcement of specific seat assignments within a given section. That way, if you want to show up 2 hours early to sit in the front row within your section, you can do so without creating a huge uproar.
4. Go back to a model where various members of the marching band go to different parts of the student and other sections during the game during stoppages in play, rather than constantly piping in Rhianna and PitBull
5. Let the kids bring water bottles and cow bells into the stadium without creating a huge stink about it
For the non student ticketholders, I'd likewise implement the early bird pricing offer after a bad season. Based on the strength of attendance and wait list, I'd then determine year by year the extent (if any) to which I'd increase prices annually. In a longer term setting where the program is (hopefully) more successful on the field, this is where I'd get pretty aggressive to help offset the greater subsidies I'm locking in for the students. I'd employ some degree of loyalty discounts and such for those who maintained their season tickets for 20+ years and beyond, but for the rank and file this is where I'd try to make my margin back. It would be a reasonable trade-off as the demand would be there if the team was consistently strong (just like in prior decades).
I'm not sure if this fully answers your question and I'm guessing you'll disagree with these steps as they're more student-centric than some of your views, but I've been to enough games at the Big House where the student section was full and active. That component of the fanbase is too critical to lose at a college game no matter how much it costs your operating budget in the short-term. The students of today are the long-term season ticketholders and merchandise purchasers of tomorrow, so if you treat them properly on the front-end that's an investment that should pay itself off for years to come.
M Man - I'll readily grant you that UM fans have always been more high maintenance/negative than other schools. It was like that when I was in AA and probably when you were there as well. That said, the phenomenon of empty student seats in recent years is not unique to UM, as has been discussed on this and other sites before. In UM's case though, there's some justification because the on field product has been declining significantly for the better part of 9 years.
At the same time, the subsidized prices you mentioned have gone up considerably. The current subsidized prices are $295 over a 7 game schedule, which works out to $42/ticket. That's a pretty expensive pill to swallow for a product that has gotten considerably worse over time rather than shown meaningful improvement. I've been to a couple of games in the last 3 years and the experience is not as good as I remember it from 10-15 years prior. It feels more like an NFL vibe than a big university vibe, and I think that's part of the problem.
The other issue is that Brandon has always come across as tone deaf when dealing with the students. I'm guessing if he'd have simply dropped the student prices by 10-15% rather than putzing around with the GA policy, taking away the right to bring in water bottles (but happily charging $5/bottle on the concourse), citing in stadium WIFI as a critical piece of the puzzle and making it difficult to bring in cowbells like the old days, the student reaction wouldn't have been as strong (both in terms of empty seats and what is happening as we speak with the proposed rally tonight).
Would there have been some empty seats still? Sure, I suppose as long as the team continued to under perform in a year when the home schedule was very unappealing. But I don't think we'd be anywhere near this point in terms of the student dissatisfaction levels. It takes a lot for an AD to piss off an entire student base. There were plenty of ho hum ADs at UM after Canham who pissed the same types of high maintenance UM student fans off with various policies over the years, and we never saw anything like this.
I think a lot of this falls on Brandon. It's not just what he does but how he does it. He creates an extremely arrogant corporate vibe that is completely out of touch with the average 19 year old student on campus. Unfortunately for him, that's the key (and most visible) part of his customer base for the product he's selling.
No worries Fido. I should have clarified that I didn't stay away from the site because of anything that people were saying to me during our conversations here. I was just more depressed in general about the state of UM football and didn't really think I had anything constructive to debate about from the Michigan perspective on a rival site. I'd browse through the forums, see various threads on how much UM sucked or Hoke sucked or whoever sucked and realized that yeah, they kind of do suck so what the hell am I going to say that's any different? So in an effort to focus on the positive, I spent less time on sites like 11W and MGo and more time doing just about anything else.
I don't think the UM program should be wished luck so much as the UM students. I think that success or lack of success on the field is one thing, but at the end of the day the heart and soul of college athletics is the students in the stands. That's the atmosphere that makes college sports so unique compared to the pros. And in UM's case, it's very clear that for the past several years, Dave Brandon and others in the Athletic Department have been chipping away at the soul of the UM football program, alienating the students in ways I've never seen at another major university. So maybe don't wish any luck for the UM on field product, but at least give a little love to the students and their overall game day experience, both of which have been marginalized over the last few years in search of the almighty corporate dollar.
Chief - I think there's a big difference between accepting mediocrity vs. acknowledging it. The numbers are what they are - Michigan has been largely mediocre for a decade, outside of the 2006 and 2011 seasons. If I or any other Michigan fan were to try disputing that, we would be accused of being delusional. But just because we acknowledge there's a problem doesn't mean we've accepted mediocrity as the ultimate end game.
I think the team underachieved last year and should have been better. While the OL had some issues in part because of RR's recruiting and there were some overall youth issues in part because of the significant attrition that occurred in the 2010 recruiting class (the guys who would have been 4th year seniors last year), that doesn't explain a 7-6 season. That explains maybe why the team should have won say....9 games instead of 11, for example. There were clearly a lot of other issues plaguing last year's team beyond the residual RR effect, and I (and many other UM fans) make no excuses for them.
I will say that your use of hyperbole is fantastic though, most notably the U.Chicago irrelevance quip. Because while UM football has clearly been in the crapper recently, it's nothing compared to what the basketball program put itself through from 1999-2007. And if the basketball program could find its way back to national relevance after that tire fire, then I'm pretty sure that with the resources at its disposal the football program eventually will as well. But it's pretty clear that this will take far longer than any UM fans ever envisioned when things first started going downhill.
After what went down last year, I have no read on this team whatsoever. To me, these guys are one of those high variance teams with a very low floor and a very high ceiling. I could see them going 6-6 or 11-1 and would be equally unsurprised by either. The most logical outcome is that they go 9-3 with road lossses at MSU and OSU, but I'm not predicting that because I honestly have no clue of what to expect.
Specific records aside, I think that based on the level of talent this team has and the motivation coming off of last year's debacle, underachievement means losing to both MSU and OSU again. To achieve based on the level of their talent, Michigan needs to win one of those games this year. Winning both and taking the division title would be an overachievement in my book.
My uneducated guess is that they will underachieve again and things will get worse, but keep in mind that I am still extremely scarred by the last half of the 2013 season. The thing about college sports is that things can change in a hurry from season to season if the talent is there and has some experience. Look at the sequence of UK basketball 2012-2013-2014, or Notre Dame's surprising run to the NC game in 2012, or the turnaround season that Auburn had last year after being complete dogshit the prior two seasons.
As a Michigan fan, I'm simply going to watch them this year and see how things play out. I can't control what happens anyway, and over analyzing every last quote and practice report in July isn't going to mean anything come November. If they have a good season, then I'll absolutely enjoy it. And if they suck again, then I'll start feverishly following all the news about who the next HC might be.
Disclaimer: this is coming from a Michigan fan, so this will read like a bizarro confession compared to the other posts on this thread.
1. I used to truly believe that Michigan football and athletics held its players and coaches to a higher ethical and moral standard than other rival programs such as MSU and OSU. My belief was eroding for some time and then everything that happened with the UM football team over the last 18-24 months completely killed it (e.g. Lewan assault charge, Gibbons issue, Stonum drinking/driving issues, Touissant DUI, etc)
2. Whenever I look at the fanbases of OSU and UM now, I feel like I'm experiencing a complete role reversal from what I saw most of my life. OSU's fanbase is now the more arrogant of the 2 and focuses on much more than just the Rivalry and Conference Championship. Michigan's fanbase is now the more "woe is me" fanbase obssessed more than anything with simply beating its main rival, other games be damned. I'd much rather be part of the arrogant fanbase than the "woe is me" fanbase. I already root for the Lions, so one of those teams is enough for me.
3. I am seriously wondering whether the UM football program is cursed. What started out as a small rut (last couple years of Carr) turned into a larger but explainable blip (the RichRod era) and has now turned into a fully fledged lost decade. I have no idea how and when Michigan will get back to being a regularly strong football program and am quickly losing confidence in the current leadership.
4. Even though I follow it regularly, I think everyone on all sides stresses out way too much about recruiting. Every time a recruit pledges to OSU, MSU, UM, ND, etc the homer recruiting analysts and fan bases act like every one of these players are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and on-field dominance for the next decade is assured. The reality is that most of these guys will be lucky to be average players at best, and that on-field coaching and teaching is far more important than winniing a given recruiting battle for an 18 year old.
5. I have actively stayed away from this site for most of the last 4 months because there's not much I can say lately to defend the state of UM's football program. And there's only so much negative stuff I can read about UM/positive stuff about OSU before I just become apathetic and don't want to deal with it. In a related story, my work productivity has increased dramatically during this time.
6. I think I've lost confidence in Hoke and crew but am willing to give them one more shot in 2014 before saying for certain. That said, I think that my biggest fear around firing Hoke and his staff is the fact that I don't trust Dave Brandon to find a better candidate. I've seen how much the program can get set back when a new coaching regime comes in, so I only want to start over again if there's clearly a better candidate out there who would be willing to coach the team.
7. "This is Michigan" is the equivalent in stupidiity to the whole "O-H......" thing. I hate both quotes/chants with a passion.
8. I don't know who I want to beat more this year - MSU or OSU, but I'm certain that if UM doesn't win at least one of those games the fanbase will lose its mind.
9. I think the 2013 UM offensive line was the worst offensive line I've ever seen at the NCAA or NFL level. By the way, I've been watching football like a crack addict for over 30 years.
10. I still can't understand how when UM hired a spread offense guru as head coach (RichRod), the offense couldn't score points against the good teams in the conference but when OSU did the same thing a couple years later (Meyer), they had no problem putting points up on almost everyone in the conference right away (defense is another story, of course).
11. This post is way too long.
I think the recruiting momentum slowed down because of last year's shitty 2nd half of the season, along with the fact that the 2015 class for Michigan will be very small (projection is a total class size of only 15-17). I think the negative vibes are more about Michigan's on-field performance and subsequent concerns that this coaching staff may not make it another 4 years rather than anything about Hoke's specific coaching abilities.
I wasn't too concerned about the coaching quality until last year. Felt like the coaching staff as a whole really underachieved and made me seriously question if they'll be able to make Michigan anything more than a 9-win team at best going forward. I thought they were pretty good in 2011 and 2012, especially on the defensive side of the ball and special teams compared to 2008-2010. Last year it seemed like things spiraled out of control and there was no coherent game plan on offense or defense in the latter stages of the season.
As a UM fan, I can't really argue with anything that Ace said, other than the fact that I wasn't a huge fan of the 2010 offense (it crapped out against the really good teams on the schedule). I don't know that I've accepted mediocrity so much as I simply acknowledge the fact that it's clearly present in the UM football program and has been for the better part of the last decade. I don't have high expectations for 2014 primarily because of the disaster I witnessed last year, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it or have any good excuses for it. If I had to make an argument for why Michigan might improve significantly in 2014 vs. 2013, I'd hang my hat on 3 things:
1. A generally more experienced team throughout the roster than last year with less reliance on true freshmen
2. A roster that has good talent overall. The recruitniks on here can argue about exactly how overrated past Michigan recruiting classes were, but I think it's fair to say that on paper there's more than enough talent on the roster to field a much better team than last year's 7-6 tire fire group. That was some serious underachievement in my opinion.
3. An improved defense that can hopefully help offset the inevitable rough patches the offense will hit as the O-Line tries to turn into something better than "complete dogshit". The secondary, in particular, has the potential to be much improved this year (more so because of Jordan Lewis and Channing Stribling than Peppers).
Do I think these things will happen? Probably not, but I also didn't think that Auburn would be anywhere near the NC game last year and I didn't think that MSU would go 12-1 after a middling 7-6 season the year prior. At this point, I'm just going to sit back and see what happens rather than constantly obsess over it in the offseason. If they suck again, then I'll know it's probably time for a new head coach.
Ooooohhh, sick burn Urban! In all seriousness I liked the coloring book joke better. Was funnier, more original and added a little heat to the Rivalry. Meyer's comments at the luncheon were pretty tame.
I'm pretty sure that Hoke's near-term future hinges much more on the performance of his 2014 offensive line than on the Gibbons thing. The only thing he's guilty of on Gibbons is being misleading with the public as to why he didn't accompany the team to its shitty bowl game. That won't get him fired. Overseeing a team with an offensive line that leads the nation in negative plays/tackles for loss again will probably get him fired.
Congrats to Kentucky. They played a hell of a game.
You should swing by my office where you can see me do so on a daily basis.
I agree that Michigan won't make it back to the title game as this region is loaded. My prediction is either Sweet 16 or Elite 8 and I'll be happy with either outcome. Michigan outperformed how I thought they'd do this year after McGary went down. Remember that at one point in December they were 6-4 and simply making the NCAA tournament as any seed was very much in question. One thing I do believe is that Beilein's style works better in the NCAA tournament format than in the Big 10 season. The NCAA tournament refs don't favor the physical teams as much as the Big 10 refs, Beilein's offensive sets are difficult to defend against if you don't regularly face Michigan and have to scout them on short notice (see Florida in last year's Elite 8 round) and while the 1-3-1 zone they sometimes use is a crutch to help mask their significant defensive liabilities, it's another thing teams have to prepare for in an already compressed schedule.
Of course, now that I've said all this Michigan will make me look like an idiot by losing in the first round.