Weather: Low 90’s; Ticket price: $100 Stub Hub, Face $80; Parking $10
“Big Ten, Big Time” by Tree
This game was one of the premier games of the opening week of the season. I met up with my buddy Q at a shopping center on the outskirts of Lansing where we each parked for $10. It was a short walk to campus where tailgating was in full swing at three hours before the game. A land grant university, Michigan State (or Moo University as their rivals Michigan refer to them) is the typical large Big Ten campus. The nice thing is that the stadium is on campus giving it that genuine college feel. We walked across the river to some bars. We heard that the Peanut Barrel was the place to go, but we succumbed to the heat and hit a Mediterranean burger joint called Woody’s Oasis a few blocks closer. The meal was okay and option of humus instead of fries was an unusual but enjoyable one.
We wandered back with the crowd to the stadium and grabbed our end zone seats. It was a sellout, with the Boise fans primarily relegated to the upper deck, but still in good form. While the atmosphere at big games is great, you do end up being packed in like sardines. Our seats were pretty good except I was behind on the poles used to hold up the goal post nets. I got used to it over the course of the game, but I am now convinced that corner seats are the way to go if you are in the end zone. The stadium was upgraded in terms of the scoreboards and had three brilliant screens one on the North and two on the South side. The south side also had a wrap-around screen that displayed various graphics during the game. It was so bright at times that it altered the lighting on the field leading Q and I to surmise that a nefarious scoreboard operator could impact the game under the right circumstance. While the screens had been updated, much of the remaining stadium felt pretty old but more on that later.
The game was a very good one. MSU’s running game eventually overpowered Boise State’s big play offense. Evidently Boise State was considered a big underdog going in, especially by MSU area media. I am not sure what the line was, but I was not surprised with the Big Ten bias. In recent years, the conference has overpromised and underperformed. Case in point, the following night, Alabama waxed Michigan in a kick-off classic. However, this night the ground and pound of MSU was more than a match for Boise. One annoying thing about the new screens was a lack of statistical updates. We knew that MSU running back, Le’Veon Bell, was having a very good game, but we didn’t know how much because there were never any stats flashed on the screen. He evidently finished with nearly 250 yards.
The crowd was very much in the game with chants of “Go Green, Go White” echoing across the stadium. Thankfully, they didn’t use the old “Another (insert your team here) first down” cheer much to my satisfaction. The student body did have a white out, which should really be left to PSU. The fans themselves were polite and courteous and we only saw one fan get kicked out. He was from Boise and judging by his bare chest, he was probably justly punished. At half time, we ventured to the concession stands for re-hydration. In addition to the standard stadium fare, I saw at least one local Lansing vendor and I am guessing there were more. However, the issue was the bathroom. Based on the line for the one we saw, they were clearly in very high demand. I am used to seeing women having to line up, but it is pretty unusual to see guys three deep in lines just to get in to the bathroom. As I remarked to Q “I’d settle for a tent and trough right now.” I then realized why I saw so many port-a-johns outside the stadium. The smart fans know to empty the bladder before you go in, or you’d waste a quarter just standing in line.
Having given up on waiting in line, I went back to my seat to catch the last bit of the half time entertainment. A frisbee catching dog act has a very semi pro feel to it, but I still found dog Zip to be surprisingly entertaining.