Big Ten game-day traditions: Michigan

A trip to Ann Arbor is a must for any die-hard college football fan, even in these tough times for the Maize and Blue. Michigan Stadium is one of the sport's most famous venues, and the atmosphere around the Big House is top notch.

Michigan would like to restore its most famous game-day ritual -- winning -- in the 2010 season, but for now, let's look at some of the school's top traditions, as suggested by you folks. Wisconsin is up next in the traditions series.

  • Touching the banner: Every college football fan worth his or her salt has seen Wolverines players and coaches race onto the field and jump to touch the "Go Blue: M Club Supports You" banner, as the marching band plays "The Victors." The tradition started in 1962.

  • Seat for Fritz Crisler: For every home game, Michigan reserves one seat in the stadium for former head coach and athletics director Fritz Crisler. The tradition was started by legendary former coach Fielding Yost. All Michigan Stadium capacity figures have ended with 1, to honor Crisler. The seat's location is not revealed.

  • The Wave: If Michigan has a game well in hand, the student section will start The Wave and go through a series of creative versions. They'll slow it down, speed it up and send two waves in opposite directions. In such a large stadium, it looks pretty cool.

  • Tunnel Walk: There's only one way to enter the playing field at the Big House, and that's through the tunnel at the 50-yard line. Michigan's team entrance is certainly a sight to see.

  • Temptation/The Hawaiian War Chant: The Michigan marching band has played these two percussion beats after games for four decades. The band also plays "Temptation" after the Wolverines' defense makes a third-down stop.

  • Hail to the Victors: It's quite possibly the most famous fight song in all of college sports, and you'll hear it in and around Michigan Stadium throughout game days in the fall.

  • Guarding the "M" on The Diag: During the week leading up to Michigan's rivalry game against Michigan State, fraternity members guard the block M at the center of The Diag on campus to prevent any vandalism.

  • Victors' Walk: The tradition of players and coaches making a longer walk to the stadium began under Bump Elliott in the 1960s and continued during the early Bo Schembechler years. Current head coach Rich Rodriguez brought back the tradition in 2008, as the team makes a 200-yard walk to the stadium two hours before games.


Andrew from Ann Arbor, Mich.: There are so many great traditions here at Michigan. 1. One of the best things about Michigan is the Fight Song," The Victors." There is no better song on this green Earth; there were times even when President Ford played it rather than "Hail to the Chief." 2. Also, at every home game, the drumline sets up in the North end zone at the end of the first quarter and plays a cadence for the student section. 3. The Big House is itself one of the greatest venues for football ever. With the longest streak of over 100,000 fans at a game, the Big House is an amazing scene every football Saturday, with 100,000 fans flooding the streets headed to the game. 4. There are several symbols in Michigan Football that are never forgotten. The Winged Helmet and the Block M are probably the most recognized symbols in all of college football. 5. Every year we have MSU at home, one of the fraternities protects the bronze M at the center of the Diag on Central Campus. This is because, one great year, we went to Lansing and painted their hideous statue Blue. 6. After a victory, all Wolverines start the chant, "It's Great to be, a Michigan Wolverine!"That's just to name a few. Love the blog, but most importantly, LET'S GO BLUE!

Dan from Gilbert, Ariz.: As an alum and former trumpet player in the marching band (rank 7 rules!) and having grown up in pac-10 land where football tradition is laughable in comparison (people have to care about a tradition for it to be an actual tradition) I came to U of M in large part because of the tradition. Yes...I know everyone loves script Ohio, but the block M, with the band bursting out of the tunnel and the twirlers (including my future wife at the time) and drum major coming through to the sounds of M-fanfare and then leading into Victors down the field punctuated by the drum major throwing his baton over the cross bar and going into his backbend is far better. And then postgame there's temptation/war chant followed by the singing of the alma mater (the yellow and blue) in backwards hats on the field after a win...and on and on...the band alone could give you ten traditions...

Curt from Chicago: Football traditions:Michigan: I imagine you've already got "touching the banner" as the team runs from the tunnel, our helmets got wings and the great fight song. Other cool traditions:1) Michigan Stadium has always had an 'extra' seat reserved for Fielding Yost (I'm not sure if this will continue with the improvements) but prior to the renovations it was 107,501, during renovations capacity is 106,201. Supposedly only Fritz Crisler knew its exact location.2) Not sure if this qualifies, but walking through (or participating in) the student tailgating on state street from south university ave to hoover ave is quite an experience.3) Little brown jug battle with minny - oldest trophy in college football4) The #1 jersey on our best wide receiver (if there is a worthy one on the team)5) Winningest team in college football history.