It’s November, and something big is happening in the Upper Midwest. That’s right, football excitement is back in the state of Michigan. The Michigan Wolverines are well on their way to a 10-2 regular season finish and berth in the Rose Bowl! But we’re not here to talk the maize and blue: we’re here to talk about football in Michigan you can actually love.
“Oh, like Michigan Sta-” NO. [shakes coffee can full of pennies] NO. [squirts you with a small squirtgun] BAD.
No, we’re here to talk about Michigan’s true football asset, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Shown here in this slightly-out-of-date map, the GLIAC’s current incarnation includes 9 football-sponsoring members: 8 in Michigan, and one in Ohio for good measure. It’s had some shakeups in its membership in recent years, with a large Ohio-based contingent of schools departing for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference between 2016 and 2018, but it still carries a lot of strength, with perennial D-II power Grand Valley State, and currently-undefeated Ferris State.
NOTABLE ALUMNI OF GLIAC SCHOOLS
Lyle Allen “Butch” Jones, noted Alabama fan - Ferris State University
Thomas Remengesau Jr., President of Palau - Grand Valley State University
Roxane Gay, writer and cultural commentator - Michigan Tech
Businessman, font enthusiast, and guy who managed to piss off the greatest basketball player of all time enough that he left his hometown team ON TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS Dan Gilbert - Wayne State University
This guy sucks so much and he’s not even the worst professional sports franchise owner in Cleveland.
GLIAC GAME OF THE WEEK, THE WEEK I COVERED THE GLIAC
A game that started slow - tied 7-7 at halftime - turned wild in the second half, as Michigan Tech eventually fell 26-23 to Northwood in a snowy game that closed out the season for two sub-.500 teams. The Timberwolves pulled ahead 20-10 in the third quarter on a long TD run by quarterback Joe Garbarino, only to squander that lead as the Huskies scored twice - the latter on a returned fumble recovery - in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Northwood scrapped back, and took the lead back for good on a 15-yard pass from Garbarino just before the two-minute mark.
GLIAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK, THE WEEK I COVERED THE GLIAC
Grand Valley State’s Bart Williams threw for 250 yards and three scores on 20-of-26 passing Saturday, leading the Lakers to a 45-21 victory over Wayne State.
LET’S RANK SOME MASCOTS
9. Saginaw Valley State Cardinals
As I was compiling this, my wife peered over and said “Oh, are you writing about Ball State?” That’s where you’re at with this logo, guys: giving false hopes of Ball State.
At least you didn’t give it teeth.
8. Ferris State Bulldogs
This is fine, as far as Bulldogs go, it’s fine, it’s clearly from the “cartoon in a 1990s rap album liner notes” school of bulldog art. But my deep research and google image searching shows me what a missed opportunity you have on your hands, not making this logo for a Ferris State childhood program your primary logo:
Could’ve been legends.
7. Michigan Tech Huskies
This is the logo of a company that makes lightweight cold-weather gear for running.
6. Northern Michigan Wildcats
I remind you I am going to use whatever image I like best in my searching, even if it’s just some random merchandise tangentially related to the program. Especially if it’s this.
5. Wayne State Warriors
This is both the logo of an Arena Football team, and a picture of those guards of Snoke’s that Rey and Kylo kill in The Force Awakens. Anyways, it’s cool that the W looks like it’s flexing.
4. Ashland Eagles
This is Sam the Eagle. More teams should just steal Muppets for their logos.
I’d like to think that this represents the judgment that Ashland, the only Ohio program on the list, passes on all the Michigan schools.
3. Davenport University Panthers
Alexa, show me a big cat singing along to Rammstein.
Thank you, Alexa.
2. Grand Valley State Lakers
Future Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly won two Division II National Championships with Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003, and they honored him by making him the logo.
1. Northwood University Timberwolves
I appreciate any logo that takes special effort to cross that fuzzy line between “we want to look aggressive!” and “we want convey that we plan to kill you and eat you”. It’s a subtle but important distinction, and this logo rocks.