A Night Game In The Big House

Submitted by Tim on March 18th, 2010 at 2:59 PM

michigan_stadium_big_house_2_small.jpg

Now pretend it's a lot darker

It's been rumored over the past couple days that the Michigan v. Notre Dame game in Ann Arbor on September 10, 2011 would take place under lights in the Big House, but the real serious smoke came this afternoon from the official Athletic Department twitter account:

HUGE Michigan football scheduling announcement today at 2:30pm. Check MGoBlue.com for details later this afternoon.

So, now we know: there will be a night game in The Big House within the next two years. Here's how Michigan has fared in night games, including those against the Irish:

  • Michigan is 22-11 all-time in night games. They are 19-5 in away night games, 3-6 in neutral site night games. This will be the first home night game in Michigan history.
  • The Wolverines are 0-3 in night games against Notre Dame. They lost 17-23 in 1982, 17-19 in 1988, and 24-28 in 1990. All three games took place in South Bend.
  • The first Michigan night game took part in was a 14-0 victory over MArquette on September 23, 1944.

Notes from the announcement press conference:

Coach Rich Rodriguez

Prepared Statement: "Our players have always enjoyed playing night games, and I think it's something that our fans will truly enjoy and embrace. I expect the atmosphere will be electric for this match-up at the Big House."

Night games provide great exposure for the players and the program. Players really like night games. Playing in front of a lot of people both in person and on television is exciting. National TV is great for the University, since games are like a 3.5-hour commercial for the school.

AD David Brandon

Prepared Statement: "This will be an unprecedented game day atmosphere that ours fans have not experienced at Michigan Stadium. It's a great opportunity to showcase out program, University, and Ann Arbor to a primetime viewing audience. This also adds a new chapter to the storied rivalry between our two great programs."

Brandon has been working on logistics for a couple weeks. We know how to string lights, work traffic, etc. The operations team has over a year to prepare to do this at night.Brandon didn't have to touch base with the city.

Michigan is familiar with the concept of playing under the lights (for 3:30 starts, and they've seen how other schools have handled night games. If this goes well, there will probably be one night game per year at Michigan Stadium.

Night games are part of what create a big exciting atmosphere in college football. Of the night game, Bo would say "That Brandon guy believes that change is good and I'm gonna support him."

Comments

Section 1

March 18th, 2010 at 3:05 PM ^

As a fan, I couldn't care less. If Rich Rodriguez and David Brandon say that it's huge, and important and great, I am willing to listen to them because I like and respect them both. In my several decades of going to games, I can't ever remember anyone among my friends and guests wishing for more night games.

It'll give me one extra Saturday in early September to play an early round of golf, in advance of game time. Eh.

Eric

March 18th, 2010 at 6:56 PM ^

so he has a right his opinion, but I don't have a right to mine. I've been going to a decade and a half worth of games and my family has held season tickets for longer than that. He felt the need to mention that he had gone to several decades worth of games because, in his mind, it makes his opinion worth more. Why didn't he just say "I'm not excited about the idea"? Why defend yourself before you make the statement?

Oaktown Wolverine

March 19th, 2010 at 1:16 AM ^

I don't really understand why any of you want to have to wait an extra 8 hours for us to kick Notre Dames ASS? One of the things I most look forward too on Saturdays during football season is waking up and watching my team play. The excitement is too much all week, having to wait longer sounds terrible.

Old Blue

March 18th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

In my several decades of going to games, I've been waiting for this. Most of my friends have been clammoring (to each other, which is mostly useless) for a night game or two for years. The atmosphere will be electric. Great move by Brandon, and clear statement that he is willing to make major changes to the status quo. How many times have we heard UM AD's say "there will never be a night game in Michigan Stadium while I'm AD?" Within two weeks the new AD makes a previously unheard-of move that gets people excited about a program that hasn't exactly been the greatest fan motivator recently. Kudos Mr. Brandon. Kudos.

blueblueblue

March 18th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

Section 1

You are certainly allowed your opinion, and we generally need more variation in opinion around here, but...

Why would give your negative opinion as the FIRST response? That, to me, is just being an asshole.

There is an etiquette to being contrary, and you make other contrarians look bad.

Section 1

March 18th, 2010 at 5:26 PM ^

But I figured that I wouldn't get as comprehensively negbanged that way.

Seriously, I like this website and all of you guys. But you are but one demographic among the 110,000+.

There will be some complaints. (Real complaints, from at least some major/historical donors; not like my mere expression of "Doesn't matter to me.") Don't look to me for those complaints; I'm just sying they are there.

I'd be the very first to admit that if Don Canham and Bo Schembechler were alive today, with the information possessed by Brandon and Rodriguez, they might both be saying, "Hell yes we've got to do this! We're playing that night game!" My honest best guess is that they would both definitely be on board with this idea. It fits both of them to a tee; Canham the marketer and money-man; Bo the salesman and orchestrator of the team. If circumstnces change, they were both ready to make changes.

But read my post again; I only said that for me personally, given my game-day experience, a night game is no big deal, and not a particularly needed component. I didn't complain; it's just not a change that I would ever have demanded or hoped for.

Nosce Te Ipsum

March 18th, 2010 at 6:58 PM ^

I respect your opinion and you're entitled to it and there is really no need for you to be negged for it. The only point I would make that would try to change your tune would be the fact that it is such a great thing for the program on so many levels. You've read the front page and understand how it's a great recruiting tool, more exposure, etc. As a fan why wouldn't you be excited about something that could help the program in so many ways?

Section 1

March 18th, 2010 at 10:19 PM ^

Remember what I wrote: "If Rich Rodriguez and David Brandon say that it's huge, and important and great, I am willing to listen to them because I like and respect them both."

In other words, if there are tangible benefits like huge amounts of money, recruiting exposure, more money, extra fun for the players, more money, some sort of tangible (!?) home field advantage, more money, etc., then great. I never ever once said that this was a terrible idea that shouldn't happen.

I only said that I was personally underwhelmed.

When you get down to it, I'm getting royally negbanged for the crime of being inadequately enthusiastic.

Nosce Te Ipsum

March 19th, 2010 at 10:38 AM ^

I think you've contradicted yourself in that you said you were totally underwhelmed but if RR and Brandon say it's huge you will listen. Listening is not being behind it. You're open to it but saying that doesn't constitute the backing of the idea. Honestly, I have been so pleasantly surprised by your postings that I'm giddy. Finally someone stands up for what they believe, in the proper manner, and is respected for such. Your first post shouldn't have negative points associated with it. Well done sir, well done. Hopefully this means the board is moving in the right direction.

schmakj

March 18th, 2010 at 3:58 PM ^

Please do not ask Section 1 to give up all his tickets or suggest he is not a real Michigan fan.

Michigan is MICHIGAN thanks to the tradition of winning and the continuous support of the fan base over a length of time which trumps arguably any other school in the nation. Those often stereotyped of being too old or too lifeless are valued assets which make the Michigan game day experience truly unique.

At the end of the day, every Michigan Stadium experience is amazing, because we are all watching Michigan football, and it does not seem like Section 1 ever chooses to make the amount of light outside help or hurt his experience. My excitement for the night game is high because it will test the envelope to reach the youth of today and to better advertise the University of Michigan, whether it improves the game day experience or not.

Section 1, I hope that the night game will prove to be an exciting experience for you, and I hope that your golf round goes well!

Section 1

March 18th, 2010 at 4:39 PM ^

I got mixed up for a minute, and thought that perhaps I had goofed, and suggested that we paint our helmets all gold, or silver with red and black stripes, for a minute there.

So I just re-read my post, and I'm good with what I wrote. What a relief; I'll be able to sleep tonight.

To review, I:
~Pledged my loyalty to Rich Ridriguez;
~Further pledged my loyalty to Dave Brandon;
~Accepted whatever wisdom and reasoning the two of them had on the subject;
~Never complained about a night game;
~Never insinuated that my friends ever "complained" about a possible night game;
~Expressed only the fact that I was "underwhelmed" by the scheduling, and;
~Voiced my dissent only as, "Eh." Not exactly torch-and-pitchfork level revolt.

Of course, I did commit the unforgivable sin of suggesting that September was a really great month for golf. Old Man Yost would surely kick my ass for that.

a2bluefan

March 18th, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

The negbanging you got is completely unwarranted.

I'm glad that this announcement has gotten so many people fired up. I think a night game will be great fun and I look forward to it, but I'm not running around screaming in glee as if a plane had just flown over and dumped a pile of benjamins out the back. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with having a preference for daytime games.... but hell, you didn't even really say that!

Section 1

March 18th, 2010 at 4:50 PM ^

A nice warm night is okay. Different is okay. I'm really, really okay with this decision. If the game is at noon, or 1:00, or 3:30, or 4:30, or 8:00. I'm okay with any/all of them. I've been to games at most of those times.

Some of you guys seem to think that I am of the view that this is a terrible thing, and that I'll somehow use my secret hotline to the Regents to kill this wonderful deal. Wrong! I just don't care either way. It might be fun; it will be different, I guess. But I can easily remember virtual night games, with Colorado, Penn State and MSU, and I don't know how many others. And, well, like Brian says, it's kind of the same thing, only darker, and a little later.

Blue 2000, if you say it's "significant," I believe you. Whatever.

But I get the impression that I am perhaps more sympatico with Brian Cook on this than with all of you, and he (Brian) with me.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 5:33 PM ^

Night games seem to be a huge advantage for the home team. I think mgoblog almost always makes a note of Michigan's away night games and that's due to the perceived increased difficulty of winning on the road at night.

I understand your position but you favoring a warm game over a huge home field advantage is sad in my opinion. Whether it is snowing, or pouring, 20 below, or 110 degrees Michigan fans should root for the condition that helps this team most, not the condition that makes them the most comfortable.

I have no idea if there is a real advantage at playing at night in terms of wins but it certainly helps with recruits. A large portion of Michigan's recruits don't live in an area where they see Michigan play much. In Florida, South/North Carolina, Arizona, California, Texas, etc the Big 10 network isn't available. Also, ESPN/ESPN 2 doesn't show Michigan except against ND or OSU and often it's regional coverage (except ND on NBC). A night game will give recruits a chance to see Michigan play and will let them see a rocking Big House something most will never have seen before since all night games have been on the road and NBC is only when ND is home. This game clearly helps Michigan and I'd hope a lifelong Michigan fan would jump at the chance of seeing the program being helped. I know I'd much rather see Michigan get the extra exposure and just bring a damn sweatshirt with me to the game!

Sgt. Wolverine

March 18th, 2010 at 5:39 PM ^

"I understand your position but you favoring a warm game over a huge home field advantage is sad in my opinion. "

"I have no idea if there is a real advantage at playing at night in terms of wins but it certainly helps with recruits. "

So...you're saying Michigan fans should support whatever provides more home field advantage, but you have no idea if night games provide more home field advantage? That was a stirring argument.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

While the top comment isn't 100% clear, you're clearly nitpicking. I haven't seen data proving that night games give home teams a bigger advantage (win %) than normal home games, but most football "experts" seem to think so.

I'll edit the top comment to make it clearer but you miss the main point (final paragraph). I have no idea if playing at night helps us win that game but it will help us with recruits. Any true Michigan fan should take that over being warm. Just grab a 2nd layer of clothing and grow a pair.

Sgt. Wolverine

March 18th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

I just think it's funny that night games are being held up as some sort of magical home field advantage and siren song for top recruits when I doubt there's much serious evidence to suggest they're much more than games without sunlight. It's fine if you like night games, but you might as well stick to expressing your fondness for them rather than throwing around nebulous fact-like assertions to convince the less-enthusiastic that they're wrong.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 6:23 PM ^

You doubt night games matter but that's because you know about Michigan.

Let's say you're a recruit from Florida. You know about Florida, FSU, Miami, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and other SEC teams. You also "know" the teams that are often on TV like OSU, Texas, and Oklahoma. Around bowl time you see USC but besides the ND 3:30 game you rarely see them since they play late and are rarely on ABC (not many top 10 match ups in the PAC-10).

Michigan comes recruiting you. You don't know much about them but you've heard somethings. You've heard about their recent lack of success but you vaguely remember hearing about them being good in the past (and you know about Brady). You also know Michigan is cold and it snows there. You don't know about the tradition or the past success unless you hear it from a coach recruiting you. But honestly every coach that recruits you gives you a positive spin so everything sounds the same. Why would you pick Michigan?

But then you see Michigan on TV playing ND and it's an amazing game with a rocking crowd that is huge (makes Florida/FSU like tiny). Also it doesn't look cold (that's why you do a September night game) and if you see them play well then everything you'd heard was wrong. Maybe you'll give them a closer look now. Maybe you'll go visit or see spring practice or go to a game.

Keep doubting the power of night games but they work! They don't get the recruit to sign but they make the recruit give Michigan a chance.

Sgt. Wolverine

March 18th, 2010 at 6:41 PM ^

And I'm not complaining about the night game. But please, please, PLEASE stop trying to oversell the importance of night games to a program. Most especially, stop using imagination and speculation to oversell the importance of night games. A night game is a game at night. People may see the game, and maybe -- MAYBE -- that one game will influence a top recruit to look at Michigan, but it's not a miracle cure for anything -- especially for a program that already has at least a couple nationally-televised games a season already.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 8:19 PM ^

Last year what game was national televised? ND wasn't since it wasn't at ND thus not on NBC. It was super regional but not national. Neither was U of M/OSU since Michigan had a bad record.

Also, what game last year did Michigan have were it was the only game on TV at that time?

I never said it was a miracle cure. I said it would help keep Michigan in the game with some recruits and maybe get them to visit!

Blue in Yarmouth

March 19th, 2010 at 8:54 AM ^

He may be overselling his case a bit, but his point is sound. The fact that UM will be playing in a night game and will likely be the ONLY game being televised at that time is a big deal as far as exposure goes.

I don't live in Michigan and I can tell you that for the past two seasons there have been very few nationally televised games (if any). This will put every eye in america watching football that night, squarely on UM. That is a big deal.

If you can't at least admit the obvious in this instance, I don't know what can be done for you.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 6:04 PM ^

Did you miss this entire part?

"A large portion of Michigan's recruits don't live in an area where they see Michigan play much. In Florida, South/North Carolina, Arizona, California, Texas, etc the Big 10 network isn't available. Also, ESPN/ESPN 2 doesn't show Michigan except against ND or OSU and often it's regional coverage (except ND on NBC). A night game will give recruits a chance to see Michigan play and will let them see a rocking Big House something most will never have seen before since all night games have been on the road and NBC is only when ND is home. This game clearly helps Michigan and I'd hope a lifelong Michigan fan would jump at the chance of seeing the program being helped. I know I'd much rather see Michigan get the extra exposure and just bring a damn sweatshirt with me to the game!"

Search4Meaning

March 19th, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

This has my concern with the BTN right from the start. I think we are winning the short-term battle (ie. increased revenues) verses winning the war ( ie. national hype and attention).

As much as the BTN is a revenue generator I am concerned that we lose in national exposure. That affects our recruiting and long-term revenue.

I look at the (over) HYPE that the other major conferences get on ESPN; which is internationally known and FREE to the most of the public. Is there ANY 17 or 18 year old high school player that doesn't know that the SEC is THE BEST FREAKING CONFERENCE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD-EVER! Why are we sick of hearing this? Because everyone has ESPN, and ESPN has a vested interest in hyping their product for their own ratings.

I don't have more proof, but I don't like the implications.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

What BS? You have it so everyone else does?
First off I picked random areas. I'm fairly convinced not every state has Big 10 network. Secondly, you think the average player from Pahokee, FL or Glendale, AZ or Charlotte, NC pays for Directv? Just because you have the resources doesn't mean the average player's family does! I live in DC and I know I'm the only one of my friends who has it but my cable bill is $110 a month so I pay for it. Most people can't.

So please think of others before you assume everyone is in your situation!

Papa Murno

March 18th, 2010 at 7:41 PM ^

So you can neg me for that comment but it makes no sense...satellite almost cost the same as cable and if my poor ass can afford it so can anyone else...

P.S. I make $11 an hour...pretty sure people can afford it, don't make stupid claims of affordability when I can pay it on my own ticket. And on a lighter note...you are a fellow fan so why can't we just not see eye to eye and let it slide? I'm all in for Michigan.

Edit: Sorry, you guys should know by now I only post after drinking...so in the title I meant "matter". And this is by all means no personal attack...I just wanted everyone to know that where I am and in nc we have BigTen Network. May the negbanging gods have pitty on my soul. lol.

kman23

March 18th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

You made the first attack and I still think you're being overly hostile "don't make stupid claims" so I'm going to respond.

You have an incentive to get Directv, you're a Michigan fan and you want the Big 10 network. If you're a recruit from Florida you don't want the Big 10 network so why get Directv? As a result you don't have the option of seeing Michigan play Wisconsin.

And if you look at unemployment rates in Pahokee they'd jump at $11 an hour. I tutor in DC in a neighborhood called Anacostia (for anyone who has visited DC, this is where almost everyone ends up when they are lost). A lot of good basketball players come from that section (football tends to be richer schools) of the city. The parents at the school I teach at who kids don't have the $ for cable or Directv. I know football and basketball are different and DC and Miami or Charlotte or Philly are different but I don't think the access to see Michigan play is there like you think it is.

Papa Murno

March 18th, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

The only reason I called you out is because two of the regions you listed I have lived in and had BigTen Network. If you look at your first comment you will see you said it's not available in those areas. I was being an asshole though...so you have every reason to be pissed at me. I am sorry.