Stadium Atmosphere: It’s About Time

One of the comments on Tim’s post about the Michigan Marching Band really surprised me. In it Anonymous wrote:

3:30 games are obviously better atmospheres than noon games. We should only play once or twice at noon.

I will go on record that I really dislike 3:30 games. In the interest of full disclosure, I was one those assholes who left probably the greatest game in Big House history early, Michigan vs. Michigan St. my freshman year (2004). Everyone I was sitting with wanted to leave after the last huge shotgun-counter back breaker. I succumbed to peer pressure and left. I ended up sprinting back to Mary Markley Hall and breaking in through the window of my buddy’s room because the door wasn’t working. I caught Braylon killing the will of MSU and all of overtime (which is the only reason that people seem to think Tim Massaqoui was worth a damn). So, it could be argued that my hatred of 3:30pm games is a result of my natural self-loathing for leaving early.

Now that I feel freed by confessing my biggest Michigan Football related sin, I hate 3:30pm games. Part of it comes from being a member of one of the State street fraternities (it may or may not have a volleyball court). My football Saturday’s generally start at 7am when I hop in a car and head over to whichever sorority we are Pregame partners with to wake them up and invite them over. This happens every game (except Homecoming) no matter when the starting time. Noon games are beautiful because it’s the perfect amount of time to get into a proper level of pre-game preparedness and there is time to rest between either celebrating a victory or self medicating a loss (the Year of Infinite Pain probably cut a good 5 years off my life span). Also, I definitely feel more into Noon games. There’s something inherently college football about it.

The arguments for 3:30pm games seem to be:

  1. OMFG was the MSU game amazing under the lights (I FEEL ASHAMED STOP RUBBING IT IN)
  2. More national exposure for recruiting and general Michigan viewing purposes.
  3. You don’t have to wake up early.

I’ll concede point one to an extent. Having that game end under the lights added an element of coolness and novelty for Michigan fans who aren’t used to night games. But, realistically, that changed the game from a 9.998 to a 9.999 (always have to leave room for a better game). Arguably, the fact that the game was a day before Halloween and there was everyone from Waldo to a man sized lobster in the student section had as much value added as the night-ness. What made the game was Braylon Edwards decided he didn’t want to lose, and it would be a top game at the Big House no matter when it was played.

On the second point, I can’t really agree completely. I may not be the best one to judge this since I’ve never lived out of Michigan, but it seems that starting at 3:30pm would be nice because it would be 12:30 on the West Coast, but then you have to compete with the regional games there for viewership. How many people are going to watch a Michigan game in Texas when both Texas and A&M are in action? And does Michigan really have a problem with spreading it’s brand nationally? Also all these points might be moot with the new structure of ABC/ESPN* coverage structure.

Finally, like I said in the beginning, I always wake up around 7am for football games. I don’t like waiting. No matter who Michigan is playing, I’m always wired and worried and need to see the game to relax. 3:30 never seems to come soon enough. Also, I really think it would be cool to have a pregame atmosphere like some of the schools we play. Penn State has the benefit of being surrounded by nothing and hills, but it is amazing to see the caravan of RVs and tailgaters coming in on Friday night. An entirely new city was up and running by 7am when the game starting around 8pm. I really wish there was more of push for a Michigan Football Saturday: presented by Adidas (I kid) feel than the current Michigan Football Game feel. As corny as it is, and how much I hate to credit Notre Dame with anything, the excitement and school pride was shooting through the dome while the Notre Dame football team walked (and Charlie Wiess waddled/rode a golf cart) from the chapel to the football stadium. It isn’t a big thing, but it got everyone fired up a few hours before the game, which is something I feel Michigan lacks. I hope that if the Athletic Department tried to put something together before a football game at like 9-10am fans would show up and get fired up for the game. The only thing Michigan has close to this is the MMB marching from Revelli Hall to the tunnel (see, we still love the MMB).

I am for a night game once a year. I don’t want to a night game for no reason. Ideally we would pick a good team (Penn St., Wisconsin, Iowa?), do it every year (home and away) and make it an event at Michigan. One reason the Admin types have reservations (besides Martin’s comments on travel) is what will the students and many of the fans do during the day before the game. Worst cast scenario: drink themselves into oblivion during the day making it Hell for the crotchety old guys in yellow vests. The obvious solution seems to be provide something! Have a pep rally (do we even know what those are?) Have players address a crowd. Bring in some bands. I don’t know what exactly would work, but if some effort is put into a day full of football related events, I think it could something really special.

So, my ideal schedule would be all Noon games except one exceptional night game with a day full of football related festivities preceding it. Bill Martin, get on that…

Posted under Analysis

2 Comments so far

  1. Tim says...

    Amazing clipart. A++ would read again.

  2. FormerlyAnonymous says...

    god bless that may or may not existing volleyball court, and the may or may not existing 5th of sweeet sweet jager…

    but point taken on the texas area… i tend to get kansas state iowa state over michigan minnesota in years where minnesota had maroney, ie a chance to have a competitive chance… and do i even need to mention missing the penn state last second win to watch texas destroy oklahoma in the red river shoot out… by the by, also a 330 game for michigan.

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