Steve Rothwell takes a turn at the controls and says to the Spartan Nation: "WE'VE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO!"

GuestAuthor

Where do I start with MSU football? I went to LSU this weekend and I can’t believe the difference in the atmosphere between the SEC and Big Ten and LSU and MSU. I know LSU is #1 and Gameday was in town but I have never felt anything even close to this at MSU.

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On September 23rd, 2006 I was sitting in my hospital room receiving my chemotherapy. I was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and had no idea what the future held except a bone marrow transplant sometime in my future. I sat looking out of the window at the lights of Spartan Stadium. It was the evening of the MSU-ND game- yes that one. Only two weeks earlier I was bouncing off my seat waiting for the game and couldn’t wait to go. But things change as quickly in life as they do with Spartan Football, sometimes even quicker. As my wife and I sat and watched the game on TV and occasionally glanced out the window to see the stadium lights I made several promises to my wife and set plenty of family and personal goals. I also set four football related goals:

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1)     Make it to opening game at Spartan Stadium this year. I did that.

2)     Take my wife to ND for an MSU game. After 6 straight trips to ND with “The Guys,” this year I went with my wife and had the best time I ever had at ND.

3)     Go to Pasadena to watch MSU play in the Rose Bowl: Considering I’m 37 years old and they have been there once since I was born this one may be tough, but I’m keeping it on the list and will make it.

4)     Continue my tour of a new stadium every year. Prior to me missing all of the 2006 football season a friend and I had been traveling for the past five years to a new stadium each year: So far we have been to Wisconsin, The Rose Bowl, Tennessee and Georgia. This year BATON ROUGE.

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Where do I start.

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Fan base:

The fact that MSU still has 3500 tickets left for homecoming as of Monday or the fact that we have yet to sell out a game this season. That simply disgusts me. We can’t put 75,000 people into a stadium to support a new coach. Or start with the fact that LSU had almost 190,000 people on their campus the day of the game. They announced during the game that there were more people tailgating that inside the stadium-that means at extra 95,000 fans were there to enjoy themselves. Don’t blame the Michigan economy because I’m sure the economy in Louisiana isn’t much better and don’t blame our proximity to Canada and the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. Maybe some fans left the state to celebrate Columbus Day?
Why does Michigan State lack ticket sales, is it simply we aren’t winning games? Is it customer apathy after watching the same thing for nearly 40 years? Do the math. Michigan will sell about 380,000 more tickets this season: that is 17 million dollars! LSU will raise almost 5 million more. Can you imagine what the brains of Mark Hollis could do for MSU if we had 17 million extra in our budget this year!

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Some reasons for the lack of interest in MSU Football:

College football is an experience. It isn’t just the game or product on the field. The campus, the shops, the traditions, the restaurants and tailgating are all part of our “experience.” MSU for the last ten years has hurt this experience with a poor product on the field, a lack of traditions and tailgating restrictions that don’t encourage fans to fully enjoy themselves.

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Tailgating at LSU isn’t taken lightly. We arrived on campus at 5pm Friday night and the RV lot was full and the entire campus was full of white tent shells. The entire campus, miles by miles were filled ready for fans to start their “experience.” Saturday morning we arrived at 9am (note that is 10.5 hours before the game AND four hours before MSU would even open their parking lots for us. Drive by campus at 11am this weekend, it will be dead.) The campus was completely full and parking was not to be found. Literally I estimate 125-150k people were already tailgating by 9am for a night game. Police made their presence known but I saw no instances of trouble. Everyone respected everyone and enjoyed the day. I have never met so many people that were just so inviting and friendly. You walked by and people invited you into tailgates, I don’t see that at MSU. You can walk buy and ask for a beer and they complain you didn’t ask for two.

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It’s know it’s easy to sell out a stadium when you are ranked #1 and playing Florida and Gameday is in town BUT LSU does this every week, win or lose. They have made tailgating a part of the entire experience, it is part of their culture. MSU has taken this away with their 7/9/1:00 rule. Simply ridiculous. Instead of controlling a few people who got out of hand they have taken money away from the local economy, they have stolen “some of the experience” of a football Saturday. Please note that I didn’t consume any alcohol at the game and you don’t need alcohol to have fun. This isn’t about alcohol which was the main reason for changing the tailgating times at MSU. MSU needs to strongly look at allowing people on campus earlier for games to begin their “experience” and enjoy themselves –have time to walk campus, visit tailgates, line up for the bands, cheer the team as they walk to the stadium, take pictures by Sparty, sit by the Red Cedar and just take in the beauty of our campus. Look at the South parking lot at MSU this Saturday, it won’t be full until 30 minutes prior to kick off. There is an apathy about this program that I hope MD can change. I pray he changes it. If something doesn’t change soon we will have the attendance of Minnesota, NW and Indiana. God help us all if that happens.

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Traditions:

There is an actual live tiger that is paraded around Tiger Stadium prior to the game. Simply stunning. I don’t know if I was amazed more that a live Tiger was in the stadium or that an insurance company would underwrite such a thing. It reminded me so much of the chariot that everyone loved but was canceled when our new turf was installed. LSU puts a live tiger in a cage and the cheerleaders climb on top this cage and are paraded around the entire stadium. Since the movie Gladiator I haven’t seen so many people simply go berserk at the sight of a tiger in a cage. MSU BRING BACK THE CHARIOT before games. People loved it and it was a tradition we had started and loved. Zeke the Wonderdog is great but we need more.

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Players walking to the game:

As the players walked the ½ mile from the buses to the stadium there was an estimated 20,000 people lining the streets screaming TIGER BAIT, Go Tigers, and singing the fight song. There is nothing better to make you laugh and feel better about yourself than 20,000 cajuns wearing purple and yellow screaming Tiger Bait. Natural Prozac.

I saw Joseph Barksdale walk by with his earphones on and a huge smile on his face, it was that moment when I realized why he chose LSU over MSU and when I finally forgave him. I love the way MSU does it this year from the Kellogg Center and they walk past Sparty. Great move and something I hope can grow to the size of LSU proportions. –I will try to upload my video to Hondo so you can see the people and the players walking by, it is simply amazing. It can be a recruiting tool and an emotional edge for the players.

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Misc. side note: Nick Saban is the most hated man in the entire state of Louisiana and UofM is the most hated school.

I saw at least 500 t-shirts and buttons on that made reference to Saban. I can’t write here what they all said but all you have to do is mention you don’t like Saban and you are instant friends with the LSU crowd.
On Friday and Saturday we each took a day wearing our Appalachian state shirts. No less that 100 people stopped us to tell us they hated Michigan. They are scared to death that Les Miles is coming to A2 and are not happy about it.

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GAMETIME:

Thirty minutes prior to the game the stadium is completely filled INCLUDING the student section. The entire pageantry of the event was amazing. The band, the tiger, the fans, it was the most electric feeling I have ever had at any game anywhere in my life. The closest I remember at MSU was the day of the Nebraska game in ’95 (Saban’s first game) or following our victory in the ’95 night game over UM.

The entire game I had to yell at my friend sitting next to me just to be heard, it was that loud in there. When they announced that Stanford had beaten USC I actually had to cover my ears.

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FACILITIES:

Spartan Stadium from the outside and inside looks much nicer. Tiger Stadium has a lot of renovation that needs to be done. The west side of our stadium is beautiful and top notch compared to Tiger Stadium. With a few years of winning and fan support I hope we can transform the east side and get rid of that gas station and parking garage. I would love to see apartments or dorms built into the lower east side of the stadium. LSU had these until asbestos and lead paint concerns. On Friday night we went over to the lockerooms and the weight room. We walked in and asked if we could look around and have a quick tour (I honestly believe that wearing the Appalachian state shirt helped.) Their weight room was stunning and our visit to the lockeroom was canceled when the team showed up for dinner.

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As an MSU alum, fan, donor and season ticket holder I truly love MSU and hope to see some real changes to the way our “experiences” are controlled. It started with something that I thought at the time was good –keg bans – and has grown by giant proportions and are killing the Spartan Spirit. People aren’t as excited about MSU football as in the past, they aren’t as excited to tailgate as in the past. There is apathy among students and alumni. With the genius mind of Mark Hollis in place and the determination and hard work of Mark Dantonio as head coach I truly believe we have the right people in the right places. I just hope that we can build on some traditions, start new traditions, open tailgating to allow more freedom and that we can sell out Spartan Stadium for every game-not just UM. I was stunned by what I saw at LSU, it was very exciting and eye-opening but at the same time I felt sorrow for MSU and what I was returning to.

Â
Here is a link to a great article on the LSU-FLA game that made me fall on the floor laughing and helps to further explain the passion and desire that LSU fans have. Be warned there is some profanity in it.     www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/?p=3963Where do I start with MSU football? I went to LSU this weekend and I can’t believe the difference in the atmosphere between the SEC and Big Ten and LSU and MSU. I know LSU is #1 and Gameday was in town but I have never felt anything even close to this at MSU.

Â
On September 23rd, 2006 I was sitting in my hospital room receiving my chemotherapy. I was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and had no idea what the future held except a bone marrow transplant sometime in my future. I sat looking out of the window at the lights of Spartan Stadium. It was the evening of the MSU-ND game- yes that one. Only two weeks earlier I was bouncing off my seat waiting for the game and couldn’t wait to go. But things change as quickly in life as they do with Spartan Football, sometimes even quicker. As my wife and I sat and watched the game on TV and occasionally glanced out the window to see the stadium lights I made several promises to my wife and set plenty of family and personal goals. I also set four football related goals:

Â
1)     Make it to opening game at Spartan Stadium this year. I did that.

2)     Take my wife to ND for an MSU game. After 6 straight trips to ND with “The Guys,” this year I went with my wife and had the best time I ever had at ND.

3)     Go to Pasadena to watch MSU play in the Rose Bowl: Considering I’m 37 years old and they have been there once since I was born this one may be tough, but I’m keeping it on the list and will make it.

4)     Continue my tour of a new stadium every year. Prior to me missing all of the 2006 football season a friend and I had been traveling for the past five years to a new stadium each year: So far we have been to Wisconsin, The Rose Bowl, Tennessee and Georgia. This year BATON ROUGE.

Â
Where do I start.

Â
Fan base:

The fact that MSU still has 3500 tickets left for homecoming as of Monday or the fact that we have yet to sell out a game this season. That simply disgusts me. We can’t put 75,000 people into a stadium to support a new coach. Or start with the fact that LSU had almost 190,000 people on their campus the day of the game. They announced during the game that there were more people tailgating that inside the stadium-that means at extra 95,000 fans were there to enjoy themselves. Don’t blame the Michigan economy because I’m sure the economy in Louisiana isn’t much better and don’t blame our proximity to Canada and the Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. Maybe some fans left the state to celebrate Columbus Day?
Why does Michigan State lack ticket sales, is it simply we aren’t winning games? Is it customer apathy after watching the same thing for nearly 40 years? Do the math. Michigan will sell about 380,000 more tickets this season: that is 17 million dollars! LSU will raise almost 5 million more. Can you imagine what the brains of Mark Hollis could do for MSU if we had 17 million extra in our budget this year!

Â
Some reasons for the lack of interest in MSU Football:

College football is an experience. It isn’t just the game or product on the field. The campus, the shops, the traditions, the restaurants and tailgating are all part of our “experience.” MSU for the last ten years has hurt this experience with a poor product on the field, a lack of traditions and tailgating restrictions that don’t encourage fans to fully enjoy themselves.

Â
Tailgating at LSU isn’t taken lightly. We arrived on campus at 5pm Friday night and the RV lot was full and the entire campus was full of white tent shells. The entire campus, miles by miles were filled ready for fans to start their “experience.” Saturday morning we arrived at 9am (note that is 10.5 hours before the game AND four hours before MSU would even open their parking lots for us. Drive by campus at 11am this weekend, it will be dead.) The campus was completely full and parking was not to be found. Literally I estimate 125-150k people were already tailgating by 9am for a night game. Police made their presence known but I saw no instances of trouble. Everyone respected everyone and enjoyed the day. I have never met so many people that were just so inviting and friendly. You walked by and people invited you into tailgates, I don’t see that at MSU. You can walk buy and ask for a beer and they complain you didn’t ask for two.

Â
It’s know it’s easy to sell out a stadium when you are ranked #1 and playing Florida and Gameday is in town BUT LSU does this every week, win or lose. They have made tailgating a part of the entire experience, it is part of their culture. MSU has taken this away with their 7/9/1:00 rule. Simply ridiculous. Instead of controlling a few people who got out of hand they have taken money away from the local economy, they have stolen “some of the experience” of a football Saturday. Please note that I didn’t consume any alcohol at the game and you don’t need alcohol to have fun. This isn’t about alcohol which was the main reason for changing the tailgating times at MSU. MSU needs to strongly look at allowing people on campus earlier for games to begin their “experience” and enjoy themselves –have time to walk campus, visit tailgates, line up for the bands, cheer the team as they walk to the stadium, take pictures by Sparty, sit by the Red Cedar and just take in the beauty of our campus. Look at the South parking lot at MSU this Saturday, it won’t be full until 30 minutes prior to kick off. There is an apathy about this program that I hope MD can change. I pray he changes it. If something doesn’t change soon we will have the attendance of Minnesota, NW and Indiana. God help us all if that happens.

Â
Traditions:

There is an actual live tiger that is paraded around Tiger Stadium prior to the game. Simply stunning. I don’t know if I was amazed more that a live Tiger was in the stadium or that an insurance company would underwrite such a thing. It reminded me so much of the chariot that everyone loved but was canceled when our new turf was installed. LSU puts a live tiger in a cage and the cheerleaders climb on top this cage and are paraded around the entire stadium. Since the movie Gladiator I haven’t seen so many people simply go berserk at the sight of a tiger in a cage. MSU BRING BACK THE CHARIOT before games. People loved it and it was a tradition we had started and loved. Zeke the Wonderdog is great but we need more.

Â
Players walking to the game:

As the players walked the ½ mile from the buses to the stadium there was an estimated 20,000 people lining the streets screaming TIGER BAIT, Go Tigers, and singing the fight song. There is nothing better to make you laugh and feel better about yourself than 20,000 cajuns wearing purple and yellow screaming Tiger Bait. Natural Prozac.

I saw Joseph Barksdale walk by with his earphones on and a huge smile on his face, it was that moment when I realized why he chose LSU over MSU and when I finally forgave him. I love the way MSU does it this year from the Kellogg Center and they walk past Sparty. Great move and something I hope can grow to the size of LSU proportions. –I will try to upload my video to Hondo so you can see the people and the players walking by, it is simply amazing. It can be a recruiting tool and an emotional edge for the players.

Â
Misc. side note: Nick Saban is the most hated man in the entire state of Louisiana and UofM is the most hated school.

I saw at least 500 t-shirts and buttons on that made reference to Saban. I can’t write here what they all said but all you have to do is mention you don’t like Saban and you are instant friends with the LSU crowd.
On Friday and Saturday we each took a day wearing our Appalachian state shirts. No less that 100 people stopped us to tell us they hated Michigan. They are scared to death that Les Miles is coming to A2 and are not happy about it.

Â
GAMETIME:

Thirty minutes prior to the game the stadium is completely filled INCLUDING the student section. The entire pageantry of the event was amazing. The band, the tiger, the fans, it was the most electric feeling I have ever had at any game anywhere in my life. The closest I remember at MSU was the day of the Nebraska game in ’95 (Saban’s first game) or following our victory in the ’95 night game over UM.

The entire game I had to yell at my friend sitting next to me just to be heard, it was that loud in there. When they announced that Stanford had beaten USC I actually had to cover my ears.

Â
FACILITIES:

Spartan Stadium from the outside and inside looks much nicer. Tiger Stadium has a lot of renovation that needs to be done. The west side of our stadium is beautiful and top notch compared to Tiger Stadium. With a few years of winning and fan support I hope we can transform the east side and get rid of that gas station and parking garage. I would love to see apartments or dorms built into the lower east side of the stadium. LSU had these until asbestos and lead paint concerns. On Friday night we went over to the lockerooms and the weight room. We walked in and asked if we could look around and have a quick tour (I honestly believe that wearing the Appalachian state shirt helped.) Their weight room was stunning and our visit to the lockeroom was canceled when the team showed up for dinner.

Â
As an MSU alum, fan, donor and season ticket holder I truly love MSU and hope to see some real changes to the way our “experiences” are controlled. It started with something that I thought at the time was good –keg bans – and has grown by giant proportions and are killing the Spartan Spirit. People aren’t as excited about MSU football as in the past, they aren’t as excited to tailgate as in the past. There is apathy among students and alumni. With the genius mind of Mark Hollis in place and the determination and hard work of Mark Dantonio as head coach I truly believe we have the right people in the right places. I just hope that we can build on some traditions, start new traditions, open tailgating to allow more freedom and that we can sell out Spartan Stadium for every game-not just UM. I was stunned by what I saw at LSU, it was very exciting and eye-opening but at the same time I felt sorrow for MSU and what I was returning to.

Â
Here is a link to a great article on the LSU-FLA game that made me fall on the floor laughing and helps to further explain the passion and desire that LSU fans have. Be warned there is some profanity in it.     www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/?p=3963

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