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Posted on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

A resident Spartan's top 4 tips for MSU fans coming to Ann Arbor

By Kyle Feldscher

10182012_NEWS_MSUSafety_JT_.JPG reporter Kyle Feldscher, a Michigan State University alumnus, is offering up tips for what Michigan State fans should do and not do in Ann Arbor this weekend.

Joseph Tobianski |

Related story: Party patrol: Police, U-M students, bars prepare for MSU rivalry weekend

For the next few days, families will be divided, friends will deny knowing each other and Ann Arbor will be injected with so much adrenaline you’d think Zingerman’s was offering half-priced sandwiches.

That’s right, it’s the weekend of the Michigan State University-University of Michigan football game. This game has been underlined in blue or green ink on most people’s calendars since the beginning of the season, with many expecting it to be the game that decides the Legends Division in the Big Ten.

Well, thanks to a tipped pass in the rain at Spartan Stadium last Saturday, that’s likely no longer the case. The Spartans dropped their homecoming game against Iowa in double overtime in typical MSU fashion — giving away a lead in the final minutes and then a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching mistake at a big moment. No, I’m not bitter, I promise.

Even though a little bit of the shine has been taken off the on-field matchup, the weekend itself still promises to be the stuff of lore. With the schools separated by an hour’s drive on Interstate 96 and US-23 (or Interstate 94 and US-127, if you’re like me and know how to avoid traffic), officials are expecting as many as 20,000 ticketless fans to come into Ann Arbor this weekend, not to mention the 110,000-plus who will crowd the Big House.

Last year, you might remember, I wrote a similar piece giving my five pieces of advice for Michigan fans heading up to East Lansing for the game (State won, in case you don’t remember. It was pretty sweet. It was the fourth time they’d beat Michigan in a row. Just in case you forgot.). This year, I’m going to direct my advice to a different crowd: my Spartan brethren.

In honor of MSU’s four straight victories over the Wolverines, here are my top four pieces of advice for Michigan State fans coming into Ann Arbor this weekend.

1. Check your attitude at the freeway exit.

I get it, I get it. This is sacrilege. If there’s one thing us Spartans love, it’s getting one (or four) over on Michigan fans. And, let’s face it, after four straight victories (did I mention those yet?) following years of heartbreak, we’ve been allowed to take a shot (or four) at our Wolverine buddies.

However, it’s important to remember we’re going to be visitors in town this weekend. I live here and I’m going to be considered a visitor in town this weekend. When you’re visiting someone else’s home, it’s not usually a good idea to get all up in their face and talk about how great our team has done against their team in the past.


A Spartan shows off his pride during the 2010 MSU-U-M game at Michigan Stadium. file photo

Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety, said the close relationships between fans of each school leads to a lot of passion. Too much drinking can lead to too much fervor, which inevitably leads to problems.

“Anytime you have that passion coming forth, it tends to have heightened interest and heightened atmosphere,” Brown said. “We just hope people will be respectful of one another.”

On a more personal note, there’s another reason for MSU fans to be a little calmer this weekend (outside of recent performances on the gridiron).

The last time Wolverines fans were looking forward to playing the Spartans this much was back in 2010. On that day, Ann Arbor was not in a good mood. I’ve never seen fans so hostile or unwelcoming to a group of opposing fans.

Inevitably, some people dressed in garish yellow will yell at you, my Spartan friends. Just keep walking. Maybe smile. But, don’t throw up four fingers or yell out “September Heisman!” or “Arm punt!” Let the boys on the field settle this. If you need more assistance, seek out police, who will be out in force.

2. Get into town early. Like, really, really early.

Maybe you’ve never been to Ann Arbor before on a football Saturday. Maybe you’re used to the relatively rural area around East Lansing that keeps traffic jams contained to the town area. Maybe you’re just one of those people who doesn’t want to tailgate and feels like showing up right around game time.


Arrive early to avoid the worst traffic and crowds.

Melanie Maxwell I

Well, guess what: Ann Arbor traffic on football Saturdays is akin to the seventh circle of Hell. With a 3:30 p.m. start for Saturday’s game, there’s one way to avoid sitting in traffic for a truly unreasonable amount of time and that’s to get to town early in the morning.

Brown said people coming in should give themselves more time so they don’t miss any pregame festivities or kickoff.

“We always encourage people to arrive early such that they can ensure they get to a parking area, they get in through the gates and get to their seats to see pregame festivities and kickoff,” she said. “Those from out of town who aren’t familiar with the construction issues that exist around the stadium should give themselves even more time.”

Even though it’s autumn, there’s still a truly annoying amount of construction going on around Ann Arbor. There is roadwork on M-14 in Washtenaw County, US-23 in Livingston County and I-94 in Jackson County and even though most of the lanes are open on these roads as construction wraps up, there are still a lot of slowdowns taking place.

For those unfamiliar with Ann Arbor, Stadium Boulevard remains closed in front of the Big House due to construction on the Stadium Bridges. Luckily, the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety has set up a handy dandy website to deal with this issue. I highly recommend checking it out to see what the best way to enter the city will be from wherever you may be coming from.

3. Tailgate on the University of Michigan Golf Course.


Michigan fans play beer pong last season at the University of Michigan Golf Course.

Melanie Maxwell |

I’ve tailgated in many different places. Columbus, South Bend, State College, Mount Pleasant, Detroit, Indianapolis, many others. However, the U-M Golf Course remains (begrudgingly, I will admit) one of my favorite places to be before a game.

Not only is the course very close to Michigan Stadium, but it’s also a rare spot where there is both exceptional beauty and exceptional tailgating. The views of Ann Arbor from the high points are top class and wandering around the fairways and greens of the course with a cold drink in hand can’t be beat in Ann Arbor.

Charlie Green, clubhouse manager at the course, said about 1,000 cars are expected to be parked on the course Saturday. The gates open at 7 a.m. and Green said he expects cars to be lined up to get in way before that.

“Sometimes we have to open sooner because people are lined up and the police will ask us to open,” Green said.

The atmosphere on the course is usually family-friendly and Green said there’s never been any trouble between Spartans and Wolverines. Usually, it’s those troublesome Buckeyes who are — not surprisingly — involved in any roughhousing with Wolverine fans.

The cost to park on the golf course is $40 and there are entrances off South Main Street and South State Street.

One thing to keep an eye on regarding this particular spot is the weather forecast. Rain fell on Ann Arbor Thursday and may come down as well on Friday. Green said it’s up to the green superintendent at the course to make the call on whether the course will be open for tailgating — if it gets too wet, officials can’t take the risk of having 4,000 wheels driving all over it.

“Sometimes we make the call the night before, sometimes it’s that morning,” he said. “It just depends on the timing of everything.”

4. If you don’t have tickets, watch the game at The Arena — a Spartan-owned bar.

Yes, that’s right, Ann Arbor’s best sports bar is owned by two Spartans, Mike Flore and Gordon Loll, both from the class of 1985, according to the Michigan State Alumni Club of Washtenaw County’s website. Being that The Arena is owned by Spartans and the official meeting place of Washtenaw’s alumni club, it’s the perfect place for green-and-white-clad fans to watch Saturday’s game.


The Arena is Spartan-owned.


When I was in Ann Arbor for the 2010 game, I watched it at The Arena, 203 E. Washington St., and can testify to the intense, yet friendly, atmosphere. There was more green than blue and the Michigan State University Fight Song drowned out The Victors on more than one occasion.

But, with a capacity of 130, manager Vinny Badalamenti is recommending anyone who wants to watch the game be there early.

“We’ve been around for 11 years now and people coming into town know we’re here,” he said.

The bar will open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Badalamenti recommended getting into the bar by noon to guarantee a table.

Support your Spartan brothers and watch the game at their establishment.

Some other, final pieces of advice:

-After the game, go to Ashley’s on State Street for a (hopefully celebratory) beer and some great food. Ashley’s, near State and William Street, is a favorite spot of mine here in the city.

-Take a walk through The Diag. There’s no college campus more beautiful than the older portions of Michigan State University, but The Diag is quite nice.

-Seriously, if you’re coming from MSU, take US-127 south to I-94 east. It’s just so much easier. I can’t emphasize this enough.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally see some friendly colors on a packed Saturday in Ann Arbor. I know I don’t have to tell Spartans this, but be loud, be proud and represent your university in the best way you can.

Go Green.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

Poor, poor Kyle. A lot of bragging with nothing to back it up. Respect the Wolverines!!!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

arena? nasty


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

Go green!!!!!!!!!!!

Luke Bromberg

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

5. bring a kleenex because when the wolverines crush those spartans you sparty fans will cry so much that you will be able to wipe the terars.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

haters make us famous great article Kyle. Go Green!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

I never go to The Arena to watch Michigan. My maize and blue blood must've instinctually known it was owned by Spartans. lol Hope they have plenty of room to house all the Spartan fans crying in their booze saturday!! :-)

Honest Abe

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Baseball is better than Football. GO Tigers!!!!!!

Honest Abe

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Actually, Baseball is WAY Better than Football, especially college football! You know the sport where the big schools have an unbalanced schedule and have a say on teams they play, to the point they pay them money in hopes of playing a meaningless game but notching a win. I can't stand College Football. You can go anywhere and find a bunch of Bubba's chest bumping each other, it takes REAL skill to hit a round object with a round object. GO TIgers!!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4 p.m.

I am as avid a Wolverine fan as you'll find and have been for more than a quarter century now. But I cannot for the life of me figure out why you would go to the town of the opposing team with no intention of actually going to the game unless you are there to intentionally cause trouble. Don't they have HDTV's and bars in East Lansing? If you aren't actually going to the game, do us all a favor and stay there. GO BLUE!!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

lol HD TV' Lansing? Have you ever been there? It is like the graveyard for big box tv sets with wood grain!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Kyle, Why don't you go back to Lansing where you belong? Don't they have jobs there? You have to come to Ann Arbor to make a living--how sad Lansing cannot support their own. Go and take your silly column with you. Definitely can tell it's written by a MooYoo fan, due to all the elementary words in it.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 1:05 a.m.


Mush Room

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Interesting idea. Now, does that mean that all UM fans and alum also have to leave the Lansing area?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

It's Harry Balczak. And by the way, I live here.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

I won't be reading at all now that I know where you come from. Go back to East Lansing and write for their newspaper. Your blather is not wanted here. You even depend on Ann Arbor for a job! Shameless.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

HB11--I don't see your signed name either. You're just another sour Sparty fan because your team has 3 losses. BOO HOO!!!!!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

ogel1209, why are you such a hater? I realize you're trolling, but seriously look at what you wrote and please see how asinine it is. You call out Kyle by name but you don't sign your own name.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

I was wondering how long it would take before a comment like this would be posted. Thanks for reading ogel.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

Beat, O-H-I-O!

Geoff Larcom

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

A very fun piece from a cool young Spartan fan who's a classmate of my elder son, also a devoted Sparty Boy. Only piece I would add is that indeed, Ann Arbor Golf & Outing (which is kind of tucked into a corner of the U-M golf course area) is tremendous tailgating/people watching. And don't forget to walk down Hoover Street with the throngs on the way to the game.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Thanks Geoff, much appreciated.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Go green!


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 1 a.m.

You lost. GO AWAY!!!!

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Go White!!!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Oh, and who do the EMU folks play? Glad you reminded us of them, but this doesn't really relate to the article, does it? If so, then Go Broncs!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Go away!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Last time the state fans were in town some chick tried to start a fight with me. I was standing in line to get food, and out of nowhere she just throws a punch. Classy bunch of people that make the trip down from EL.

Mush Room

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Yea, those Spartan girls are tough and strong -- really strong hands from all that milking. Don't mess with them, they'll kick your butt. Calling one of them "chick" is a dangerous thing to do.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

Did you refer to her as a "chick" while you were standing in line? Classy is as classy does.

Kevin Shabinski

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

I had a wolverine push my kid to the ground the last time we went to the game in AA- he was so drunk and PO'ed that state won. Bunch of class oozing out of AA too.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

I had a spartan fan throw a lit cigarette in my face a few years ago. Despicable bunch indeed.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

yeah, that figures....


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Wait, Kyle...Zingerman's is offering half-priced sandwiches? When? ;-) Seriously, nice article! Go Blue!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

May I suggest the Pure Michigan UM football parody on YouTube? Apparently others can post links to their favorites, just not me.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

HB11--Are you just crazy?!?

Kevin Shabinski

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.


Paula Gardner

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

Here you go:


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

I'm waiting for the advice column re UM fans going down for games in Columbus. That's a whole 'nother ball game. I actually know people who, as soon as they cross the state line, pull into a mall to steal an Ohio plate. Saves hundreds of dollars worth of body work on your car... And then there was the clueless UM prof who was down working at OSU for a year. His neighbors warned him that he really needed to get Ohio plates, but he explained that technically, he was still a Michigan resident, so he couldn't possibly do that. OK, OK, they said, but at least slap a half-dozen OSU bumper stickers on your car. "Oh, but I'm not really much of a football fan," he replied. Some people just don't get it.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

You need those plates before heading south. That way, the smokeys on the way might miss you in their constant struggle to ticket every Michigan resident.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

At the risk of sounding dumb, what do people want to know about traveling to Columbus? I was at Ohio State for 8 years before moving to Ann Arbor. Happy to answer your questions. Just clueless about the questions people have. :)


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Those tactics are only temporary reprieve from the wrath of those to the south. They will eventually figure our where you're from when they notice you're utilizing multi-syllabic words while talking. It's best just to grunt, as it's their natural way of communicating.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

You are a class act, Sir. Nicely done.

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

I also agree with Barb. I have to put it out there Kyle, GO GREEN!

Carrie Rheingans

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

I agree! I'm a die-hard Wolverine, but happen to be related to some die-hard Spartans, and this post made me laugh quite a few times! And I didn't know the Arena was owned by Spartans... I think I'll go to Conor O'Neill's ;-) GO BLUE! And cheers to a good game tomorrow!!

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

Thanks so much, Barb, I appreciate the kind words. Thanks for reading.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

We have a saying in our family regarding the yearly reunion. I think it applies here as well: "Now is the time to set aside petty differences. And bring out the big ones."


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Tip #5 - Stay away from all couches after the game to remove the temptation to set them on fire.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Isn't there an

Paula Gardner

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Pre-game trash talk - it's not just about the teams! Our newsroom has Michigan Daily alums along with ex-State News reporters and editors. A healthy mix, at least for 364 days of the year. Haven't determined yet if we'll have a newsroom divide, too. Ha.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

No, The State Journal is a REALl newspaper.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

@mibrokerguy, thanks for the tip on the photo! We have a story from Bob Horning coming soon on the Golf & Outing parking during games. We had this very discussion in the office about the photo - 2 courses, easy to confuse, very different, etc.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:18 a.m. can we please at least caption the photos correctly??? The guys playing beer pong are clearly on the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club's golf course. Is this a mistake or does the sparty that wrote this article not realize there are two separate golf courses in downtown Ann Arbor? After thinking this over I guess it's probably the latter knowing sparty. Go Blue!!!!!

music to my ear

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

very funny BB

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

How about "Go G Go W, Just lose and get outa sight. LOL Go Blue.

music to my ear

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

but it all about the pong.go green go white.just go get it right.

Dr. Vag

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

A Good Chip


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:04 a.m.

5. Bring a box of Kleenex. After what the Wolverines are going to do to your Spartans on Saturday, you'll need it.

Tom Hager

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

I might bring kleenex if I catch a cold but for no other reason. If people are going to actually cry because their team lost, those people need to get a life.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

That's not the only reason they're going to need Kleenex on Saturday night! Boo-Yeah!


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Great point 5 about the kleenex, either that or a bigger crying towel. GO BLUE!!!

music to my ear

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

oh really? thats what new york said about the tigers ,look where it got the stankees maybe the Spartans ate alot of Wheaties and they are raring to go (do not go there ha ha ).