College rivalries played in neutral-site NFL stadiums

Submitted by oriental andrew on October 8th, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Michael over at Braves and Birds floated the idea of major rivalries being held in neutral site NFL stadiums after reading a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that UGA and GT are in very preliminary talks to play at the Georgia Dome. It's not a unique topic, but it is always interesting to think about. So my question is, in which stadium and against which team would you want to see Michigan play a rivalry game? Any other non-Michigan rivalry games you'd want to see? Something along the lines of Illinois and Mizzou in St Louis, or the Red River Shootout, or the Cocktail Party in JAX. Doesn't have to be an annual occurence, could just be a one-off.

Michael adds Michigan-Notre Dame in Soldier Field (yeah, baby!) and OSU-PSU in Pittsburgh, along with some non-Big Ten games.

Personally, I'd love UM-ND at Soldier Field, being that I'm a Chicago resident. UM-MSU at Ford Field would also be cool.


The King of Belch

October 8th, 2009 at 10:57 AM ^

Why would UM give up a 110,000 person gate for a game at Soldier Field or Ford Field? Why woul you sacrifice any home field advantage? Why would you take an opportunity away from your fans who pay high prices, PSL's, and love the Ann Arbor, South Bend, or other home college town scene?


October 8th, 2009 at 10:59 AM ^

Any Michigan game not played at Michigan Stadium (including traditional road games) is a bad idea because attendance automatically will be less, which means less people get to go, which is never really a good thing.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:00 AM ^

The towns and campuses getting "jacked up" for these games is a key part of the tradition. Venturing into enemy territory makes much more interesting story lines. Would be strongly against it - unless they moved a game to the west coast where I live! ;-)

Section 1

October 8th, 2009 at 11:12 AM ^

Let's see; fewer people, less money, more expense, less of an on-field advantage compared to a home game, and the fact that going outside of Southeast Michigan, people all over generally want to see Michigan get beaten and git wut's comin' to 'em. Other than that, it's great.

If the obvious corollary to "UGA and Ga.Tech in the Georgia Dome" is Michigan and anybody in Ford Field, I say, "Are you effing kidding me?" Nothing like that prospect to really piss off about 85,000 season ticket holders.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:14 AM ^

Because Michigan is always looking for a home game to add to its nonconference schedule, but cannot find a legit BCS team that would be willing to travel to Ann Arbor without a return game at home, I think the best bet would be to play a nonconference regional team at a neutral site. A good example would be a Big 12 team like OU or Nebraska in Chicago. Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense financially.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:31 AM ^

I'm thinking something like what A&M and Arkansas signed up for at Jerry World. Have 2 - 4 years of playing a big name guy in middle of the road stadium.

Actually, beyond that, how about we do something like we do w/ the ACC in basketball. Let's play against the ACC at neutral sites (I'd like a UM game at Jerry World but, ya know, probably not going to happen) and it'll be a yearly 2 - 3 week long competition between the conferences. Year one would be UM, NW and UW vs Wake, Maryland and Tech and then just do that for 4 years and either have a Big 10 team play again in the 4th year or just don't have one of the ACC teams play.

Heck, you could have it at the same stadium every week if they'd pony up enough money for it and since it'd be against a major conference most Big Ten teams could then get away with having the rest of the non-conference slate at home.

What ya think? (I'm guessing there's a logistical problem, there always seems to be...)


October 8th, 2009 at 11:16 AM ^

I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever want Michigan to play in a neutral-site NFL stadium. Ever.

I would be furious if I were a GT or UGA fan - the only mollifying thing being that GT has a good point about wanting to even out the revenue stream. I think Braves and Birds is insane for wanting to "highlight the difference" between the NFL and college by having college games at NFL stadiums. Um, the best way to highlight the difference is by having the games at college stadiums with some actual character instead of NFL stadiums with their operating-room sterility. I think the idea of having the Red River Shootout at Jerry Jones's little playhouse repulses me and I hope they never move it there.

College football should NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER be played indoors. NEVER. EVER. And old-school games like Michigan-Notre Dame should not be played at gleaming, shiny, sterile venues that force the STUDENTS (who should always be taken into consideration) to travel long distances to attend the game.



October 8th, 2009 at 12:59 PM ^

OK, VT I can see having a gripe, but Clemson is a two hour drive at most. I know a lot of college football fans that make trips longer than that every week to see their team play. The only expense is gas and one night in a hotel (which is optional as you could just drive back after the game).


October 8th, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

The length of the drive isn't the issue for me. For students going to a home game, the logistics usually stretch no farther than "when should we put down our beers and walk to the stadium?" Granted, if there's one demographic of people that can pile into a car with very little idea of where they're going or how to get there or what they're going to do upon arrival and pull this off with some degree of success, it's college students. But once you take the game out of town, the logistics annoyances (who has a car that will carry all of us without breaking down; where do we park; who has any money; who's staying sober; and all the rest) jump into the picture whether the game is two or eight hours away. That's not how football games should be. A major road trip shouldn't be involved unless it's a bona fide road game.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:59 PM ^

...with the indoor thing, but I gave you +1 for your passion, and would give more if I could. I do agree, though, with the general sentiment that UM has the best stadium in the country, and that moving games from there to inferior facilities is ludicrous at best.

For teams with ardent fanbases, run-of-the-mill facilities, and a rival that they could play in a truly neurtal site that is close enough to both schools, it is a winning proposition. But for UM, it's basically a lose/lose/lose proposition. They lose a home game, they lose seats, and the game loses prestiege because it is in an inferior facility.

Also, it is almost impossible to find a truly neutral site where one team and its fanbase wouldn't have to travel a lot further than the other. Florida vs Georgia is close to being that way, because Jacksonville has as much Georgia in it as it does Florida, but that is pretty much the only great example of it being fair for both bases. However, Georgia still has to travel further than Florida does.

I guess the bottom line is that the college game is better than the NFL at this point, and using their stadiums for anything would be counter-productive.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:26 AM ^

That works mainly when a big team plays an away game with a lesser opponent, and the home team's stadium is too small to accomodate the fans' demand to attend the game. Similarly to tUOS playing Toledo at Browns Stadium, I could see us playing Eastern or Western at Ford Field as an away game. Playing ND in a neutral field would not make sense for either team, I think. Even playing, let's say, Texas, USC, or Georgia at a venue far from both respective campuses wouldn't make sense.


October 8th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

plays the University of Baghdad, I hope they secure the new Wembley Stadium as the venue. Flying to Iraq would definitely be too far of a roadtrip.

Raback Omaba

October 8th, 2009 at 11:45 AM ^

of Michigan - OSU being played at the University of Toledo's Glass Bowl Stadium.

In all seriousness, I think that this would be a stupid idea for us. I love beating ND at home and love it even better when we go there and kick their ass.

The only neutral field games I would like to see are:

Vs. Illinois/NWestern at Soldier Field

Even then, I'd still like them at our place.

Wide Open

October 8th, 2009 at 11:55 AM ^

PRO: It'd be cool to have Purdue give up a home game against us and play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indy. Or for Notre Dame to give up a home game against us and play at Soldier Field. I think you see where I'm going with this.

Plus, there's the ability to get liquored up during the game, chairs with backs in them, etc.

CON: Giving up the infusion of tourist dollars that a home game provides, as well as the frenzy on campus generated for a big rivalry game.

OBLIGATORY SNARK: We already got canned music so that would just be the next logical step, wouldn't it?

Flying Dutchman

October 8th, 2009 at 12:40 PM ^

I enjoyed watching my WMU Broncos whip Illinois' asses in Ford Field last November. But that was in lieu of playing it at tiny (35,000) Waldo Stadium, and I bet Illinois had something to do with the search for neutral location.

The Wolverines should never, ever give up the revenues and home field advantage that comes with the Big House. If MSU, CMU, WMU, or any other MU wants to invite them to a Ford Field for one of their 4 road games sometime, go for it.


October 8th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

since the game with Uconn was announced it will be moved to either Gillete Stadium or the new Jets Stadium in New York...possibly even the Meadowlands.

Really can't see Uconn hosting a game like that on campus.

I imagine someday one of our MAC schools could convince Michigan to play at Ford Field........but its still a losing proposition money wise. The MAC school is still probably better off just letting Michigan host.

I think Michigan/Northwestern could be at Soldier Field, even though I find Ryan Field charming and very old school. Michigan/ND would be nice, just so we avoid going to South Bend where weird crap always happens. But even then its a smaller attendence. Not going to happen.

Otherwise there just isn't a compelling reason for M to ever play at a pro stadium.......although it would be cool to play Oklahoma in Dallas at Jerryworld


October 8th, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

Really can't see Uconn hosting a game like that on campus.

Neither can UConn, as they have no on-campus stadium any more ;) Rentschler Field is in suburban Hartford. Which - again - I think sucks for the students. But I think partly for that reason they've yet to move a home game against a nonconference opponent to a neutral site. They haven't played as high-profile a game as Michigan, though, so who knows.


October 8th, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

If Michigan and Texas can schedule a game to play at the new Cowboy Stadium it may be worth it. Other then that I can think of no other situations (besides the UConn game where playing at a larger neutral location may be a necessity) where playing at a neutral NFL stadium would benefit anybody, or hold any kind interest.


October 8th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

This might be off topic, but I think it would be awesome if the UM-UConn game in a few years is played in the Yale Bowl. Yes, I realize this will not happen.

Section 1

October 8th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

The Wisconsin Badgers wanted to play (?)Fresno State (I think) at Lambeau Field -- the trick was that they wanted to play Fresno's half of the home-and-home at Lambeau, and Wisconsin's half at Camp Randall. AND an unnamed Badger donor was going to pay, in cash to Fresno St., the full amount of whatever they'd make from a home game in their own building.

Fresno State said no.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:12 PM ^

The atmosphere of a college campus is a large part of the allure of College football. why pull that out and instead replace it with a sanitized, character free experience of playing in a pro stadium surrounded by a parking lot?

Michigan should never be willing to give up a home game, and any opponent that would be willing to do that, should not have been given the opportunity to have a home-and-home in the first place.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if NFL teams started trying to play a couple games at College Stadiums.

I would much rather watch a Lions/Packers game at Michigan Stadium then at Ford Field. Of course I don't really want to watch the Lions no matter where they play.


October 8th, 2009 at 6:49 PM ^

I don't follow this logic at all. Why would we want to do this? We play our home games in one of the most legendary stadiums in the world. Why give that up for some NFL team's stadium?