Michigan Football 2010- Brandon has turned night to day; but deflecting NCAA may be a tougher feat

Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon sure knows how to make an entrance.

Less than two weeks after taking over the job from Bill Martin, he said, “Let there be light,” and just like that Michigan Stadium will host its first night game in 2011 versus the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Years of excuses as to why a night game at the Big House was logistically impossible were swept away in a matter of days.  Brandon showed himself to be someone who doesn’t accept excuses.

And that’s why today’s hearing with the NCAA was a challenge for the new leader.

Instead of cutting through excuses to get something done, he along with the rest of the Michigan contingent was there to make excuses as to why Rodriguez should not be found to “…have failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance,” among his staff regarding adherence to NCAA rules.  This was the only charge that Michigan chose to dispute after admitting to four violations in May.

Compared to turning night into day at the Big House deflecting the NCAA will be a bigger challenge.

I don’t see how the NCAA can buy Michigan’s argument.  Either Rodriguez knew the rules and stretched them as practically every team in America does or he didn’t know the rules and ignorance isn’t an excuse.

The NCAA can’t allow a coach to avoid sanctions by simply claiming he or his staff didn’t the rules.  It would a create a mountain-sized hole for any renegade coach to take advantage of.

The point is simple- if Rich Rodriguez didn’t know, he should have.  If his staff didn’t inform him, he’s responsible for that, too.  The buck stops with him.  End of story.

Now questions from the readers:

Do you hope that RichRod gets additional sanctions from the NCAA?  You’re showing your bias against him by saying the NCAA won’t believe his explanation.

No, I would love for the NCAA to accept Michigan’s excuses and then apologize for the inconvenience the investigation has caused over the last year.  If David Brandon can convince the NCAA to move on without imposing additional sanctions it may be the greatest example of the Jedi mind trick since Obi-wan talked some renegade droids through a checkpoint a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

These violations are a black eye for the program.  UM has admitted major violations and RichRod should be canned immediately…

Unfortunately, we at Michigan know something about “major” violations.  Read up on the Fab 5/Ed Martin scandal to learn about serious major violations.

These violations are a joke…

That’s not true either.  Anytime the NCAA come in and you admit to four violations, spend nearly year investigating, not to mention a boatload of money (over $500K and counting) it’s definitely SOMETHING. It’s just not the end of life as we know it that some would have us believe.

Who cares what the NCAA thinks, they’re out of touch…

The NCAA is judge, jury, and executioner in this case.

Here is footage of an actual NCAA “hearing”:

Get the idea?  They expect groveling not defiance.

Why are people so bent out of shape about the CARA forms?  They are an internal UM control not something imposed by the NCAA.

That’s the problem.  It’s not like UM can say the process imposed by the NCAA was too cumbersome to enforce.  The CARA forms were an internal control created by the UM athletic department.  If the process was flawed it was UM’s responsiblity to fix it long before the NCAA can calling.

This is clearly a conspiracy by Lloyd Carr supporters in the AD to embarrass Rich Rod.

Stand down the black helicopters.  While Lloyd was popular it’s hard to believe that people with families and mortgages would risk their jobs to torpedo Rich Rodriguez.

What do you think happened?

I think that this was an interdepartmental squabble that spiralled out of control.  It probably should have/would have been resolved internally given time.  As soon as the CARA forms turned up MIA it was the like waving a red cape in front of a bull and the rush to judgement was on…

2010 Michigan Wolverine Football Visitor’s Guide

This is the time of year when I get questions from people who are coming to Ann Arbor to see a Michigan football game.  These are my personal recommendations.  Your mileage may vary…

How do I get tickets?

It’s easy to get tickets for most games.  The question is how much are you willing to pay?  For the bulk of the games against minor opponents you can usually find tickets around the stadium on the day of the game far below face value.  It’s simple supply and demand.  There are 109,901 tickets available for every game.  There are literally thousands of tickets bought and sold in the hours before the game outside the stadium and in the adjacent parking lots.  It’s not unusual for tickets to be sold for far less than face value for a minor opponent.  The best prices are usually found on game day right outside the stadium by people who line the streets on the way to the stadium.  

You’re best bet is to find season ticket holder just outside the stadium who is dumping extra tickets prior to entering.

Usually tickets are sold in pairs or singles.  Getting more than two together is more difficult.  For the big games this season (UConn, MSU, Iowa) get ready to pay. If you want tickets in advance you’ll need to check the athletic web site, get them from a season ticket holder, or look on E-Bay.

Prior to game day you can usually find ticket scalpers outside the Michigan Union.  Another place to look is check the window of the Coach & Four Barber shop www.coachand4.com on State Street by Mr. Spots.  They frequently have tickets in the window for most games.

How do I get there?

Michigan Stadium is located off of Interstate 94.  Get off at the Ann Arbor-Saline Road exit.  There are signs and you’ll see LOTS of cars and sometimes a blimp or two circling the stadium.

Google Maps- Michigan Stadium

Where do I park?

Diagonal from Michigan Stadium on Ann Arbor-Saline Road is Pioneer High School.  Plenty of parking is available.  You can also park on the University Golf Course which is across the street. Many homeowners offer up their lawns as makeshift parking lots on game days.

As you cross the street to the stadium listen for the traffic officer as he or she harasses fans from the opposing school.

Costs Range from $20-$50 depending on proximity to the stadium.

WARNING–  In cases of extremely bad weather (I.E. after days and days of rain or sleet/snow) both of these places may close to protect the grounds. In this case parking becomes nightmare.  Park at Briarwood Mall and take the shuttle bus to the game.  The shuttle also runs from many of the local hotels.  Shuttle Info 

What about camping?

RV owners can purchase a permit to camp in a designated area at Pioneer High School.  The permit allows you to stay from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

What about tailgating?

Tailgating is allowed in the parking areas around the stadium.  Fans should note that upon departing for the game it highly recommended that you secure any belongings in your trunk.  Looting of coolers and other items is known to occur.

What should I see while in Ann Arbor?

If you get into town a day before the game or stay after there are number of sights to see.

You can visit

Michigan Stadium– it’s usually open 9-4:30 during the week (NOTE- since 9/11 the stadium is locked down 2-3 days before games.)  Even if the stadium closed it’s worth a trip to drive by and see the massive upgrade project that is under way.  The port renovation stadium is simply amazing.

Stop by Schembechler Hall (AKA Fort Schembechler).  This is where the Wolverines practice.  Here’s a map of the area.  Much of the tall brink wall that surrounded the outdoor practice field has been removed to make way for the constructon of the new indoor practice field.  It’s directly adjacent to Schembechler Hall- you can’t miss it.

Dwarfing Schembecher Hall is the Al Glick Field House, one the largest indoor practice facilities in the country.  

If the team is practicing outdoors you might catch a glimpse of them from the overpass on Stadium street. 

Yost Ice Arena (Web Page) named for Michigan Immortal Fielding Yost has a number of displays of Wolverine hockey memorabilia and is open practically all of the time.  

Behind Schembechler Hall is Oosterbaan Field House (Web Page) an indoor football field.  Sometimes you can sneak a peek of the field but football practices are closed. 

Behind the Ticket office is the outdoor track where Jesse Owens once ran at the Big Ten Track Championships.  Adjacent to the outdoor track in Revelli Hall where you might be able to catch the marching band practice. 

Michigan Central Campus has a number of places to visit.  Start at the Michigan Union (Web Site).  Check out the place where President John F. Kennedy announced the formation of the Peace Corps marked on the front steps.  Stop by and spin the Cube in the courtyard outside.  A little ways down from the Union is the Kelsey Museum of Archeology which houses some nice artifacts.  Across the street is the Angell Hall an impressive looking building whose design is reminiscent of a Greek temple.  Behind Angell Hall, is the Michigan Diag.  Note the Block ‘M’ engraved in the center, legend has it that if a freshman steps on the Block M they will fail their first exam.  The Diag is home to all kinds of demonstrations and can be quite entertaining, especially on days when speaker will lecture passersby from the cement benches that surround the Diag.  Adjacent to the Diag is the UGLI (undergraduate library) and also visible is the Michigan Bell Tower.  The best museum on central campus is the Natural Science Museum which has a great a collection of dinosaur skeletons and even a stuffed Wolverine!  Drive down Washtenaw away from campus and look for the Rock.  It is a campus tradition for students to ‘paint the rock’.  Legend says that it actually started out as a small pebble but has grown to its enormous size from the millions of layers of paint that have been applied over the years!

Ann Arbor Nightlife

If you’re looking to sample Ann Arbor nightlife Thursday night is the big bar night on campus.  There are a number of bars and restaurants to sample.

Scorekeepers is a large sports bar and grill with music, multiple televisions, and pool tables.  While you’re there take note of the large window in the front, former Wolverine Brian Griese threw a beer bottle through it after being kicked out of the establishment one night prior to the 1997 season.

Dominick’s (812 Monroe/734-662-5414) is a campus tradition located across from the Law School.  Another campus favorite is Ashley’s (338 South State Street/734-996-9191).

Another campus haunt is Rick’s American Cafe  Frankly, it’s a pit but don’t let that deter you- it features live music and sticky floors that will remind you of your college days.  Outside of Rick’s is where former Wolverine captain Bennie Joppru allegedly got into a knock-down drag out fight with a member of the Wolverine wrestling team. 

After a evening of carousing you may end up at the Brown Jug (1204 South University/761-3355) which is open until 2 AM.  Yes, it takes its name from the trophy that Michigan and Minnesota play for every season.  Rick’s and the Brown Jug are all within a block (and stumbling distance) of each other. 

Where should I eat before the game?

Many people tailgate before games but if you want to grab some food these are some popular choices:

  • Maize and Blue Deli– $ 1329 S. University/734-996-0009.
  • Dimo’s Deli- $ 2030 West Stadium Boulevard/734-662-7944.  My personal recommendation.  Get the burger!!
  • Angelo’s– $ 1100 East Catherine at Glen/734-761-8996.  Order anything that’s made with the homemade bread.
  • Weber’s Inn- $$ 3050 Jackson Road/734-769-2500.  Offers an all-you-can-eat brunch.  You can also park there and grab the shuttle over to the stadium.
  • Dibella’s– $ 904 West Eisenhower Parkway/734-997-9011.  My new favorite sub place.  Stop in and eat or grab these for your tailgate.

$= $5-$10 Entrees  $$= $10-$15 Entrees  $$$= $15 and Above Entrees

What radio stations cover Michigan Football in the area?

Many stations carry the games but the local Ann Arbor sports station is WTKA. “The Ticket” AM 1050 talks about Michigan sports pretty much all the time.

What should I do on Game Day?

On Game day you have a few options.  Decide if you want to see the band take the field.  A truly awesome sight.  If not you can follow the band as they march to the stadium also very cool.  if you get to the Stadium a few hours early you can greet the teams as they arrive for the game (the stadium tunnel by Crisler Arena).  Also note that since 9/11 the items that you can take into the stadium has been reduced. 

Also note that due to the stadium upgrade project the athletic department strongly recommends that fans try to enter the stadium an hour before the game.

If you want to see the band take the field you need to be inside the stadium about 30 minutes before game time.  You can also the see the Wolverines warm up sans shoulder pads.  As the band takes the field look for the Drum Major.  Traditionally, to prove their mettle they must perform the following stunt.  The really good Drum Majors will touch the top of their hat to the ground (not just the plume).  Another thing you may see is this.  The tradition of showing all 4’s on the scoreboard has become to stand as a reminder that the team must play 4 strong quarters to insure victory.  At least that’s how it was explained to former Athletic Director Tom Goss when he enquired about the practice.  According to interviews with the scoreboard operator, it really began as a prank to see if anyone was paying attention to the scoreboard minutes before the game.

Hopefully you’ll sing the Victors A LOT. Know the words and remember to raise your arm whenever you sing the word ‘Hail’.

What about a game program?

The athletic department sells some really cool program that cost $5.  Unfortunately there is no way that you will be able to keep it from being messed after you purchase it and after the game the vendors are long gone.  If you want a keepsake I would recommend ordering the program from the athletic department media relations office and having it mailed to your house.  On the day of the game FREE newsprint programs are handed out that contain a few articles and rosters for both teams.  Grab one of these as you enter stadium- look for the people handing them out.

What should I eat at the game?

The concessions are plentiful: hot dogs, pizza, kielbasa, etc.  My personal favorite are the Mr. Spots Subs (philly cheesesteak sandwiches). I also like the Italian sausages with peppers.  Michigan Stadium serves Coke products.  No alcohol is served at the stadium. 

What if I need cash?

There are ATM’s available inside the stadium.

Where should I eat after game?

Most people leaving Michigan Stadium will travel back to the interstate using State or Ann Arbor-Saline Road.  Think about that- 100,000 people are driving by- everything you see on that route (mostly chain restaurants) will be PACKED.  Restaurants along those routes include Bennigan’s, Damon’s, Max & Erma’s, The Outback, TGI Fridays, and Joe’s Crab Shack.  Come to think of it just about everything in Ann Arbor is packed after a football game.  Here are some places that are off-the-beaten path but well worth the wait (I’ll list by specialty):

  • Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger– $ Hamburgers- 551 S. Division/734-663-3103.
  • Banfield’s East-$ Hamburgers- 3140 Packard Street/734-971-3300.
  • Argiero’s- $$ Italian- 300 North Detroit/734-665-0444.
  • Mr. Spots– $ Philly Cheese steak sandwiches- 810 South State/734-747-7768.
  • Wings Pizza N Things– $$ American- 6877 State Street/734-429-7700.
  • Real Seafood Co.– $$$ Seafood, duh!- 341 S. Main/734-769-7738.
  • Palio– $$$ Italian- 347 S. Main/734-930-6156.
  • Original Cottage Inn Restaurant– $$ Pizza, Italian-  512 East William/734-663-3379.
  • China Chef- $ chines 2870 Washtenaw Avenue/734-434-8877.  Good food, large portions, cheap prices.  A little out of the way but worth the trip.
  • Ichiban– $$$ Japanese Steak House/sushi 4641 Washtenaw Avenue/734-975-0589
  • The Quarter Bistro– $$$ New Orleans Seafood & pasta 300 South Maple/734-929-9200.
  • Pizza House– $$ American cuisine 618 Church Street/734-995-4995.
  • Carlyle Grill $$$ American cuisine 3660 Jackson Road/734-213-9800.

$= $5-$10 Entrees  $$= $10-$15 Entrees  $$$= $15 and Above Entrees

Hyped but overrated- think Drew Henson 🙂  These are the places that many people will always ask you if you’ve eaten upon hearing that you went to Ann Arbor…

  • Gratzi– $$$ 326 South Main/734-663-6387.
  • Gandy Dancer- $$$ 401 North Depot/734-769-0592.
  • Zingerman’s– $$ 422 Detroit Street/734-663-DELI.  New York deli- GOOD, New York Prices, OUCH

Where should I get my Michigan Gear?

No pilgrimage to the Big House would be complete without purchasing tokens of your devotion.  There are numerous vendors selling stuff in and around the stadium.

Michigan Wolverine Football Lockers

When Schembechler Hall was renovated a few lockers were saved from the scrapper.

Now you can own the ultimate Michigan Football Collectable- Your very own Michigan Football Locker!

Multiple numbers are available.Some have been sold on ebay for $850 but email me and I can get you a discount.  Shipping is available but is expensive ($250-$300), these things are huge.

There are a variety of numbers still available.  The numbers are attached via a magnetic plate so the lockers have had *many* different numbers over time.   The numbers were assigned by class- so as players became upperclassman their numbers moved with them to different places in the locker room.

The lockers also have a working combination lock and are in fairly good shape.  Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of Michigan football history.

Pickup is preferred (they are located in Detroit) and delivery is possible for an extra fee but you’ll have to work that out with the seller.

If you’re interested email me phil@umgoblue.com and I’ll put you in contact with the seller.

M Football 2010- The Recruiting Spinning Wheel-2010 Signing Day



Signing days come and go and so do the student athletes that commit themselves to succeed at the major avocation that is Wolverine football.  This year?s signing day presser was held in the Junge Center yesterday.




For those students signing commitments on the dotted line, the responsibilities and toil and tears that occur subsequent to that act are just beginning. The process may seem endless, drag and grind for a long while, while the committed adjust to the weather, to being away from home, of growing into adult hood, of living down mistakes, or being double-crossed by honey baby, as they recover from losses or failure, or whatever.   They face a cauldron of life challenges, football challenges, and academic challenges.



But in the end college football will fly by for them.  Some will succeed and some will fail at the sport. Some will suffer injuries that will necessarily end their participation in sports.  Some will disappoint themselves and us.  Some will not. Most will not.



Some will remember the sport with life long aches, but in the long run there will not be failure for many of them, football success or not, if they can capture that springboard to life?s success, a Michigan degree.  Later memory will obscure the challenges and they will fondly remember the success of becoming a grown up, a Michigan man, and hopefully remember the restoration of the success Michigan seeks on the football field.



Hopes and aspirations do not change much from class to class, generation to generation.  Everybody wants to be Saturday?s Hero, graduate a quantum physicist, or a forensic CPA, orthopedic surgeon, or constitutional attorney, and at the same time be the MVP of the Rose Bowl, national title game, and the Super Bowl.



At this stage of their development, their dreams can be lofty. To be honest, today there is more emphasis on preparation for the pro football game than in the past.  In the now distant past you didn?t get much money for being clothes lined by the Chicago Bears. Now you can get a small fortune to break your leg.



Being on a successful football team enhances the memories and the rewards both for players and fans. But success comes at a price.  Is this class willing to work hard enough to pay that price?





The Michigan Coaches today stated that they have gathered a supporting cast that will help in numbers (27 signed), and fits their needs: (by position; Athlete Josh Furman, Cornerback Courtney Avery and Cullen Christian, Defensive Back Demar Dorsey, Terrence Talbot, Defensive End; Jordan Paskorz; Ken Wilkins; Defensive Line Jabreel Black; Defensive Tackle Richard Ash; Terrence Talbott; Linebacker Antonio Kinard, Davion Rogers, Jake Ryan, Offensive Line Christian Pace; Punter Will Hagerup; Quarterback:  Devon Gardner, Cornelius Jones, Running Back Stephen Hopkins, Austin White; Safety Carvin Johnson, Marvin Robinson, Ray Vinopal, Slot Receiver Drew Dileo; Wide Receiver Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Gerald Robinson, D. J. Williamson).





Coach R went over the history and accomplishments of each of the recruits.  It would seem that DB recruits might see major playing time as freshman due to the lack of depth at those positions.  There is no question that they are high on Demar Dorsey and Marvin Robinson.  RR mentioned that DB recruits may play early due to the depleted nature of the position.



There is also no question that a couple might not qualify academically (not necessarily meaning Dorsey or Robinson).  That always happens and proves the value of having a big class.  That and other attrition has hurt several recent classes.  Surprisingly, I heard no mention of walk-ons at all.



At the presser Coach Rodriguez seemed rightfully enthused regarding his new Wolverines.  Suffering from a chest cold, his patience seemed to wear a little thin at questions regarding rumors that Demar Dorsey had a checkered past in some juvenile incidents.  Questions regarding Dorsey?s background were slung at Rodriguez persistently.   Who else but Mr. Drew Sharp persisted.  No doubt with another hatchet job article in mind.  It is no rumor that Demar does not have any convictions.  That is a fact.  So why pick on a kid and make a happy day miserable?



I thought Rodriguez did not handle this series of questions as smoothly as I thought he could have.  I thought he should have simply said that the student is protected from such discussions, and moved on, but he let himself become slightly irritated. He stated that Michigan will not take a player with a misdemeanor or felony.



Rodriguez did not, as stated by Caputo on his Spartan slanted radio tirade, stomp out of the meeting mad, nor is this class in any way shape or form inferior to that garnered by the Spartans as the Great Caputo consistently avers.  As far as the Rodriguez behavior, I doubt Caputo was there to observe it first hand.  I was.



I haven?t heard that much propaganda since they collared Mata Hari.  And I never will again, as I won?t dial in that station again.  I would rather watch the Price Is Right than listen to that drivel and I am not fan of TPIR.  Whoever said talk is cheap must have been tuned into Caputo. Maybe Caputo verifies his information by referencing the Free Press.



Everybody but Caputo ranks the Spartys considerably below the Blue in the Big Ten standings, and national rankings.  Could it be that Rodriguez is doing something right?  The top three are Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan, and the order is somewhat variable. OSU may not have had their best day.  Michigan had four of the top ten Detroit News players.  Ten recruits attended the football camp.  Several players, including Devin Gardner, enrolled in January.  He?ll have fifteen practices before fall camp.  Is that enough to put him in the two deep?



Gardner is not a savior, and he may or may not pan out.  Like the rest of them, only time will tell.  But it looks like they are developing a competition at quarterback, and that is only good.  In fact a stated coaching goal is competition at every position. RR indicated that by next year they would have that.  They will still be thin at some positions this year.



I talked to several of the Coaches and received no indication that Denard Robinson would be anything other than a QB.  I will be interested to see how he is used in the spring.  It was indicated that Demar Dorsey, Denard Robinson?s cousin, could see major playing time and that Marvin Robinson might also. 



When I asked Coach Robinson about this year?s defense, and Craig Roh specifically, Coach Robinson said ?he wished he had his (Roh?s) future.?  He said Roh is growing.



Had a nice talk and interview with Devin Gardner, from Detroit (attended high school at Inkster).  Seems to be a young man with a lot on the ball and a great deal of poise to go with his good size.



Talked to Stephen Hopkins, from Double Oak, Texas (fairly near Dallas) who models his running game on Brandon Minor.  He didn?t want to be called a slasher, so he must have some moves as well as power. 




Ricardo Miller was the most outspoken of those three.  Perhaps he is the most outspoken of any three on the team.  He is expert at forming words into sentences and indicated, as Coach R had previously stated, that he had directed a lot of those sentences at fellow recruits.  Perfectly at home, perfectly poised.  Said the winter had provided a challenge at first, feet felt frozen, and felt like his hands would break.  Now, he said, the adjustment is complete and he doesn?t even dress heavy any more to face the chill.



Granted I talked to only three of twenty-seven, but each seemed extremely happy to be Michigan men, claimed to be hard workers, and exhibited experienced poise beyond their years.



RR indicated that now that 2010 recruiting was past he could concentrate on filling the missing DB coaching position.  Coach Robinson will coach linebackers.  Departed Coach Hopson has not yet been replaced. but will be soon.  I should have asked regarding a dedicated special teams coach.  It appears to me they need one.  They have long been one defensive coach short.



The wheel of fortune that is the recruiting process stopped on February 3rd for this year, and has seemed to provide Michigan with an outstanding class tailored to the needs of the program?s style, even though some are lamenting the lack of ?five star? recruits in the class.



Bo was often quoted as saying that the worth of a class can?t be evaluated for four years, and that has to be true. 



But that doesn?t mean that the game of recruiting speculation enjoyed by so many fans has to end.  One year is barely over when another recruiting cycle starts, and concerns start about the ?one that got away or is about to get away?.



Let?s hope this big class is what Michigan needs in all respects.  We shall see.



Go Blue!

Crisler Arena: 5 things that need to be fixed…

Bill Martin’s lasting legacy as Athletic Director is impressive list of facilities built or renovated during his watch.
Football, baseball, softball, and wrestling are among the sports that now have top rate facilities.  Ice hockey has venerable Yost Ice Arena, with some of the most rabid fans in all of college athletics.
Virtually ignored during the building frenzy has been Crisler Arena.
Sure, new lights were installed and a new practice facility is on the way but the facility itself has some serious problems that need to be solved.
I believe that these problem would best be solved by having a crane working at Michigan Stadium “accidentally” knock the place down for the insurance money but what do I know?
Apparently the athletic department has no problem finding $226 million for Michigan Stadium which gets used eight or nine times a year but has to look through the couch cushions to scrounge together $20 million for renovating Crisler that three varsity sports call home.
So basketball is figuratively, and with new renovations to Michigan Stadium literally in the shadow of the football program.  From the steps of Crisler you can gaze on the incredible new football field house, and then glance over to the glorious new softball/baseball complex nestled next to Yost Ice Arena.
What does a revenue sport need to do to get some love?
Here are the things that any renovation need to to address.
1.  Add some character to the place
Crisler Arena has all the character of a K-Mart; bleak and depressing.  It’s the ugly building next to Michigan Stadium. Nothing about it says, Michigan, history or tradition.  It’s design cues echo the utilitarian cookie-cutter stadiums built in the late 1960’s and 70’s that have mostly (thankfully) been replaced.
2.  Lose the top rows
The view from the upper reaches of Crisler  Arena is terrible.  It’s like watching basketball on google earth.  Remove the top 5 or 10 rows and reduce capacity.  Make the venue more intimate.  Bring the crown into the game.
3.  Ditch the cushy seats
The seats at Crisler are nice and comfortable.  Like a movie theater.  They encourage you to stay seated.  Any renovation needs to look at some seats that encourage crowd participation.
4.  Fix the concourses
The concourses need to be opened up with more space and light.  Add more bathrooms.  Improve the display cases- use multimedia to highlight all UM sports and loop Big Ten network footage.
5.  Win
An energized crowd makes up for a substandard facility.  The team needs to be regular participants in March Madness not to mention competing for Big Ten Title.