Wolverines still the favorite of area residents

Published 11:44 pm Saturday, September 1, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – College football season is very popular in this area. Everywhere you turn, people are preparing for the season, which begins today.
Fans have been waiting all year to watch their favorite team on television or attend some of the games and are anxious to see what this season has in store. Despite the large number of teams, it was obvious that one squad ranks up there among the favorite with Niles residents.
Even though the University of Notre Dame practically sits in our backyard, locals seem to enjoy the Michigan Wolverines more than the Fighting Irish.
"I've liked Michigan for as long as I can remember. They're winners in my book," Gregg Baker, owner of Baker's Needle said. "I'm really an old fan of Bo Schembechler and even though he doesn't coach anymore, he's one of the reasons I have remained a fan for so long."
Baker would like nothing more than to see the Wolverines advance to this year's National Championship and with Michigan starting the season ranked fifth, he thinks they may have a good chance of getting there.
Logan Todd and Terra Jackson are also big Michigan fans and are excited to see the team "stomp Notre Dame again. They're the best. My dad really likes Michigan and I guess that just kind of rubbed off on me. I want to see them make it to the National Championship and I'm excited to see them beat the Irish again," Todd said.
Jackson agreed, and said she grew up with a family full of Wolverine fans.
"If I rooted for another team, they would probably disown me. I'm just ready for them to go to Notre Dame," she said.
Vikki Wetzel admitted she is a Notre Dame fan, no matter what. "Even with Brady Quinn gone I am still a fan regardless of what kind of a season they will have."
She said she's not sure how the Irish will do this season, because she isn't too familiar with the players, but she thinks the team will do alright.
"They have got a great coach behind them. They lost a lot of players last year, but this is their chance to start fresh. Win or lose, that's my team," she said.
Wetzel said college football season is one of the most intense times of the year at Niles Precision, where she is employed.
"Half of us are Notre Dame fans, the other half are Michigan so you can imagine how that gets. They all like to run everything in each other's faces – it gets pretty rough," she added.
O'Rion Tweedy is another Wolverine fan and can't wait to watch his team play.
"They stomped Notre Dame last year and I think they will again this year. They are entering the season fifth so I think they will do very good," he said.
Stacey Grams, of South Bend, Ind., said it's obvious she has to root for her hometown team.
"Irish, what more can I say? People are wondering how they will be this year, especially since they lost some solid players. But they also have some good athletes back, like Tom Zbikowski. I'm not sure how well they will do this year, but if you look at their roster, they have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so if they don't have their glory year this year, look out in the near future," she said.
Nathan Biggs is another Michigan fan who said he's always been a fan of the Wolverines and thinks they will do well this year. "They did good last year and I know they probably won't do too bad this year. I know they beat Notre Dame pretty good so they probably will again this year," he said.
Whether it's Michigan, Notre Dame or any other team you enjoy, this college football season should be another exciting one, and fans here are ready for some football.