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Michigan football fans show off art skills

8/25/2012
This image of Bo Schembechler's sunglasses is among the 10 finalists for Michigan's art contest. Matthew Benkner/doodle.ly

When the Michigan athletic department launched an online contest with the drawing-and-sketching app doodle.ly, Jordan Maleh figured on a lot of submissions. And a lot of, you know, "doodles."

Didn't happen that way.

"I was actually expecting more entries," said Maleh, director of digital marketing with University of Michigan athletics. "But not as much quality. ... I was completely blown away by the quality of work."

Like the above image of legendary former coach Bo Schembechler. Or the nine other finalists, posted below and chosen last week from the 150 or pieces posted through Michigan's Facebook page (one finalist, Maleh said, claimed to have spent six hours on his "doodle").

Not bad for a campaign Michigan considered a "test scenario" with the app, which he noticed thanks to a previous campaign involving the New Jersey Devils.

Of course, Maleh said, Michigan should have expected some enthusiastic Wolverine-loving artists, considering "how really responsive our fans are, especially when it comes to Facebook."

Not to mention they tied it to Michigan's "Team 133" mantra, one started by coach Brady Hoke as a reference to the number of years in the football program's existence (last year, of course, it was Team 132).

That saying/chant/hashtag found its way into many of the finalists, and will be used in all sorts of online activities for the Wolverines' season.

And doodle.ly? It might just become a fixture on Michigan's website, Maleh said -- perhaps with the Wolverines' 10,000-strong Kids Go Blue club, or as a way for fans to submit their own ideas for T-shirts, posters, etc.

"[Art on] the computer is kind of the new wave," Maleh said.

As for this contest, all 10 finalists will receive prizes, but the top two get the premium payout: Tickets to the team's first two home games (against Air Force and Massachusetts), with their doodles appearing in the official programs of each. Voting runs through Sunday on Michigan's Facebook page.

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