What happened to noon games?

Submitted by IncrediblySTIFF on November 11th, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Should we blame it on Dave Brandon?

I personally love noon games (especially against teams from the central time zone, or west).  I do wonder if Dave Brandon had any influence in this (likely if he desired to leverage game start times he could have).

Under Brady Hoke, we are 11-3 in games starting at noon.  In 2011 both our losses came during games starting at 3:30 or later, and we tallied 6 wins.  In 2012 we did not lose a noon kick-off, going 3-0.  In 2013, the lone outlier during the Hoke era, we went 1-2, with one loss @Iowa (ugh, that game) and against OSU the next week.  This year we are 1-0 at noon (AppState).

I skipped over the RR years to look back into the later half of the Carr era.  In 2007, the Horror, @WIS, and OSU all started at noon.  In 2006 we were undefeated in games that started at or before 12:30.  In the six years before that, we only lost 4 times in, well, I'm sure I could go on.

I understand the reasons behind late games (the added dollars spent in the community are hard to argue with), but it seems we should be playing earlier more often.




November 11th, 2014 at 9:21 AM ^

B1G allows home team to determine 1 home game or homecoming time slot per season.  Notice how last several years the homecoming game time has been set before the season. And if Dave Brandon said he prefers noon games to 3:30 games I question that because the last several homecoming games where Michigan controlled the starting time have been 3:30 pm kickoffs.


November 11th, 2014 at 9:22 AM ^

Michigan has very little influence over the start times, with some caveats.

If Michigan wants to play a night game, and the broadcaster wants to show it at that time (like with Penn State this year), they will get their wish.  Michigan gets to pretty much name their time slot for the homecoming game (as long as it is at noon or 3:30 or at night--no 2:00 games), and they picked 3:30 for the Indiana game this year. 

All of the other games, though, they are pretty much at the mercy of television:  if TV wants a noon game, it will be at noon.  If TV wants a 3:30 game, it will be at 3:30.  If TV wants a night game, they need some buy-in from the school.



MI Expat NY

November 11th, 2014 at 9:11 AM ^

I bet you won't find many traditional top-25 programs that play many games at noon.  

More games used to be at noon because 3:30 was the "primetime" slot for college football, with the exception of an SEC night game on ESPN.  That has changed.  Now the primetime slot is 7:00 or 8:00 and is likely to see a big game on Fox, ESPN, and ABC, with possible big games on CBS or NBC.   With slightly lesser games on ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1.  That has bumped most of the better noon games up to 3:30 leaving primarily the dregs for the noon slot.  Michigan, even when awful like this season, only seems to qualify for the dregs if we're playing an FCS or MAC-equivalent.  The Ohio State game is the lone exception and that is more out of tradition than anything else.  


November 11th, 2014 at 10:59 AM ^

Yes.  With the exception of a few traditional games - Michigan-Ohio State on rivalry Saturday - noon games are for losers.  Noon games would get you Joey Galloway and Pam Ward.

It's a credit to Michigan that we're usually on at 3:30.  That means it's a big game.  Because we are in it.

The day when Michigan starts playing lots of noon games is the day that we've really sunk to second tier status.


November 11th, 2014 at 11:03 AM ^

The dregs of the dregs are at 3:30 on the BTN.  The BTN puts their best game at noon and their second or third best at 3:30.  Having the Miami (NTM) and the Indiana games at 3:30 on the Big Ten Network is no credit at all--it means those games were of no perceived interest at all.

In general, the 7 games a week are ranked thus:

(1) 8:00, ABC
(2) 3:30, ABC
(3) noon, ESPN2
(4) noon, ESPNU
(5) noon, BTN (main network)
(6) 3:30, BTN
(7) noon, BTN (secondary feed)



November 11th, 2014 at 10:12 AM ^

I believe a fair number of the conference network contracts are second-tier to ESPN / ABC (not sure about the relationship with Fox), so basically ESPN goes through and makes their picks among available games and then BTN, SEC Network, and the like do the same with the remaining games in their conferences. I could be way off, but I have a suspicion that at least some teams that consistently play at noon nowadays find their TV coverage sporadic at best, but obviously not all of them necessarily. 

Bill in Birmingham

November 11th, 2014 at 10:35 AM ^

This may well be overly simplistic, but I beleive it is about ratings. Even in the most down period of on the field quality in five decades, Michigan has a huge fan base that generates ratings. For whatever reasons, the networks tend to show the more desirable (i.e., ratings) games later. Unless they are really good, the Indianas and Purdues of the world are going to get the 12:00 games.


November 11th, 2014 at 8:35 AM ^

and there are less time slots at noon to back channel unwatchable football games to.

FWIW Dave Brandon said he preferred noon games, and probably tried to get noon starts - but the $dollahs$ drive the time.


November 11th, 2014 at 8:35 AM ^

I can't remember a season that had so many damn late starts. I guess part of it is we're so terrible and I just want to get it over with, but somebody is trollin us hard this year.


November 11th, 2014 at 10:14 AM ^

For those that live on the west coast, like myself, the noon kickoffs suck. I hate waking up at 830am and trying to get into the game. But the 3:30 (12:30 California time) kickoffs at least give me time to wake up fully and enjoy a beer during the game. I love the prime time games as well. I fly back for the home night games, but the road ones are just as fun. I enjoy feeling like all the "JV" games lead up to the "varsity" game at prime time.


November 11th, 2014 at 8:40 AM ^

We have a better record in noon games because many games have start times that are set by our broadcast partners and they generally select our more competent, bigger name foes for later start times and bottom-dwellers that have less national appeal for noon.


November 11th, 2014 at 8:48 AM ^

Noon games are against lesser competition so that's why we are good at them. Michigan gets afternoon and night games because we have a large fan base thus equalling higher TV ratings.


November 11th, 2014 at 9:05 AM ^

I agree.  As I student, I loved the 3:30 starts.  I had to sleep off the Friday drinking...er, I was recovering from the late/all nighters I pulled studying all during the week.


Now, as an old cranky alum that drives out to the games, I really detest these late starts.  I don't get home until 9-10 at night, and by then there's a ton of kids on my lawn that I have to kick out.  Seriously though, it seems like the 3:30 games demand a total day commitment.  I mean, sure I devote my entire Saturdays to college football, but I've had people bail out of going to games with me because of the late start.


November 11th, 2014 at 9:40 AM ^

That's why it was great when he had both.  Not every weekend had to be a total commitment.  For the IU's and App. State's of the world we get a noon kick, a light tailgate and time to get home and do something with our lives.   Every home game being late is a grind for your season ticket base.