A special thanks to Brandon Birkhead for taking the time to answer our questions on tailgating, socializing, and other college-y things today.
1. Where should visiting fans go when they come to Champaign?
Mainly just walk around campus. It's a beautiful place to walk around. Definitely check out Alma Mater and Lincoln Hall. The Engineering Quad is also a must see. Downtown Champaign is the best place to go for restaurants and some classier bars than on campus. If you want some of the best BBQ in the world, go to Black Dog in Urbana. Small place, so the wait will take a while, but it's worth it.
2. What kind of reception should Michigan fans expect?
Illini fans for the most part will just ignore you. We won't give you crap because our team is bad and we know it. We are mostly very nice fans, but each fanbase has their bad fans. Muck Fichigan shirts are very popular here. Be prepared to hear that a lot.
The only place I could potentially see Michigan fans getting a lot of crap is at the bars. If you go to a campus bar in full Michigan gear, be prepared to see the worst in Illini fans.
3. So let's say Michigan has a night game on your campus. Where do I go for food/beer before?
If you want to stay on campus, I would head to Green St. There are many places to eat and Legends, Murphy's, and Brother's are all there. The other bars, Firehaus, Joe's and Red Lion are all close to there too. Don't go to Kams. I can't stress this enough. That place is horrible. If you can though, I would just recommend tailgating across from the stadium.
4. Fridays before Michigan home games, students paint The Rock, drink at Ashley's, have midnight Mud Bowl practices, and streak The Diag. What crazy superstitions does your campus have before games?
We don't really have any. I'm one of the Block Heads for the student section Block I and we have pep rallies every Thursday, but they aren't anything huge. Last year we started having members of Block go to practices on Thursday when the team would hold practices for young football players.
Other than that we don't really have any sort of rituals or anything crazy we do. The Illini walk on gamedays is probably the only pre game ritual Illini fans have. We line up on the street with the band and cheerleaders as the team walks in the stadium.