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September 02, 2003 - Image 42

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-02

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10C - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003

Football still tops the hearts of Michigan faithful

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Editor
Is the Michigan football team the best team in Ann Arbor? On a year-to-year
basis, the answer is yes. The Wolverines are one of the most storied teams in col-
lege football history, and are usually just two or three plays away from competing
for a national championship. Lately, though, those two or three plays have blown
up in Michigan's face.'
Take last season's Notre Dame and Iowa games. In South Bend, delete the
hold by offensive tackle Courtney Morgan in the end zone, which resulted in a
safety, and the score is 23-23. At home against Iowa, in an embarrassing 34-9
defeat, delete cornerback Markus Curry's muffed punt return and
you've got a 10-9 ballgame in the third quarter, and Michigan has
all the momentum.
But that didn't happen. When people voted the football team
the best team in Ann Arbor this year, they must have neglected to
consider the Michigan hockey team, which is going to its third
straight Frozen Four. Now, of course, the competition for the
football team in the Big Ten is obviously more fierce than the
best of the CCHA, but you can't argue with a team who gets it
done in the clutch.
How about the men's swimming team? The women's gymnastics
team? The women's cross country and indoor track and field teams?
These are all currently Big Ten champions, and you probably didn't
even know it. The football team has failed to win an outright confer- d
ence title since its magical run to the national championship in 1997.
The point is, it doesn't really matter what other teams do in this
town. Football is god, and it always will be "the best team" as
long as it puts up 8-4 records. Is that because the fans in this town
are detached from every other sport besides football? Partly, yes.
But more than anything, it's that other vote - Best Gameday
Experience - that glosses over all those heartbreaking plays and
mediocre records, and still makes you think those Wolverines on
the gridiron are the best. A view of Mi

There's nothing like the sights and sounds of a Football Saturday in Ann
Arbor. While some people (myself, included) think that the in-game atmos-
phere in the Big House needs a major boost in enthusiasm, the apathetic, stoic
and graying contingent of fans makes the Michigan football atmosphere what it
is - one of a kind. Where else can you find a team built on a tradition like
Michigan football - with fans that are so die hard, yet can't even raise a
whimper on a critical third down?
Even though Michigan football fans are laughed at by most of the Big Ten for
their indifference, it's the "We don't care what they think, because we're Michigan"
attitude that makes it socially acceptable to sit on your hands for four quarters.
And maybe Michigan alumni and students have earned that privilege. We are

Michigan. We have the best uniforms and helmets in college football, regardless of
what players are wearing them.
Then there's the walk to the stadium, and if you do it right like a real
"Michigan man or woman," you'll go an hour early, even if that means get-
ting up at the crack of dawn, to see the world-famous Michigan Marching
Band make its march to the stadium under the picturesque fall foliage that
lines Hoover Street. There will be people to your right, tossing the pigskin
around on Elbel Field, imagining they are wearing a maize and blue No. 21
and striking the pose for 110,000 people to see.
There will be volleyball being played at "The Volleyball Frat," and music
will be blasting from the houses on State Street. You'll smell the "dollar dogs"
aroma from a mile away, and in 20 years, you'll buy your kid
one, and you'll tell him or her that this is your school.
On your way to the stadium, you'll tell your kid to ignore the
countless scalpers, who are trying desperately to get rid of tickets
before the game begins. When you get to the stadium, you'll brace
yourself for that moment when you walk through the entrance to
the Big House, and you see the band on the field. If you're lucky,
you'll be there just in time for the first rendition of "Hail to the
Victors." You'll sing that song at the top of your lungs with chest-
bursting pride, and you'll clap - clap like you've never clapped
before - because you are about to witness something special.
Halfway through the first quarter, your kid may ask, "Why is
there so much clapping?" And you'll answer - "Because that's
how we do things here at Michigan."
Nothing shows off the University and its incomparable pride
like a Football Saturday. And that is what you will remember.
You'll remember the emotions you shared with total strangers in
exhilarating wins over Washington and Penn State. You'll remem-
ber the experiences -knot the records.
And that's why nothing compares to Michigan football. No
matter what the votes show next year in "Best of Ann
Arbor," the Wolverines on the gridiron will always be the best
'2002. team in this town.

chigan Stadium as the Wolverines crushed the Washington Huskies 31-29 on August 31,

2002 team.in.this.town.



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