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Posted on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

Dave Brandon: No plans to turn Michigan State, Ohio State games into nighttime contests

By Nick Baumgardner


The first night game at Michigan Stadium was played on Sept. 10.

Steve Pepple |

The Michigan football team made history earlier this season when it hosted the first night game in Michigan Stadium history, a thrilling 35-31 win over Notre Dame.

At the time, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon firmly maintained he would not schedule any future night games unless they were deemed as "special."

On his blog Friday, Brandon stood by his previous statement. Also, he shot down the notion that the Wolverines would host rivals Michigan State or Ohio State at night in the near future.

"If asked, the answer will be that Michigan regular-season home football games will always be played on Saturday and a night game will only be scheduled if it is a "special game" with significant fan interest," Brandon wrote. "We are not going to schedule a home night game just to play a night game.

"In addition, we have no plans to move Michigan State or Ohio State to a night game in Michigan Stadium."

The Wolverines will host Michigan State in 2012 (Oct. 20) and Ohio State in 2013 (Nov. 30).

Brandon did not specify whether any home night game was planned for next season.

In 2012, the Wolverines will host Air Force, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa. Michigan's season-opener against Alabama will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Brandon went on to explain how all night games are scheduled in advance of the season, and the decision to start Saturday games at noon or 3:30 p.m. are made by television networks, not him.

Michigan won't be hosting the Spartans or Buckeyes under the lights in the near future, and there's no word on when the next Michigan Stadium night game will be.

Brandon may still have a few surprises, though.

"Even though television determines our game start times," he wrote, "we will work hard to make them a 'wow' for our fans regardless of what time they begin!"

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Mon, Dec 5, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

The early game is to prevent the all day binge drinking that happed a few years ago in East Lansing. 8pm UM - OSU game, well They start drinking Monday morning in Columbus.... I'm serious, these universities have major problems with binge drinking.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

For the fans in the stadium- day games in the big house are magic. Night games are great for the TV audience but not so great for the ticket paying fans. I went to an SEC game at night and it sucked. Kept thinking-I'd rather be home watching it on TV. Lousy visibility. Atmosphere of a cheap rock concert.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 7:07 a.m.

I don't think the nation cares about watching a Michigan vs Michigan State game like fans of either team do. Michigan can carry their half of the national audience but Michigan State is lacking. Enter Notre Dame into the equation and now you have national interest. It's just not good entertainment at the "national level" to broadcast a regional rivalry in a primetime market. Breaking the tradition of the noon kickoff vs Ohio would make me sick even though it's a 9am start for me on the West coast. While I get it and would watch Michigan take on Sparty anytime of the day/night, nationally it wouldn't draw enough interest. No team on next year's schedule is worthy of a primetime slot for national exposure. If you think State will be good next year I have some real estate for sale. Go Blue!


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

While I don't agree with the insults, I cannot disagree with the general sentiment of SEC fans comment. The Michigan fanbase's geriatric mentality is nauseating. We're scared of rival fans, who'd be in the minority of the 109,901+ fans at Michigan Stadium, fearing they'll get rowdy? I've lived among the people who live near Michigan Stadium, and they complain about the fans anyway, even if it's a 12pm start time. I'm not suggesting we turn every home game into a night game, that'd be ridiculous, but if the networks saw a Michigan-MSU game as being worthy of an 8pm start, don't rain on the parade before it gets going. It's the networks saying, "Hey Michigan, you have an awesome home game on your schedule that a lot of interested Americans would like to watch. Can we make your game, our primetime game?" It's a huge honor, and probably won't happen very often, anyway. Don't like the networks interfering? Remember, Michigan has had more games televised than any other team in college football, meaning Michigan HAS HELPED put the networks in this position of power more than any other school. Like it or not, Michigan plays big-time college football, and television is now essential to it, and has been for years. I love day games, 12pm or 3:30pm, and think Michigan should continue that tradition, as Dave Brandon advocates. I'm just saying let's not whine and complain about a POSSIBILITY that future home games MIGHT get the night game treatment. Like it or not, it's been a college tradition for the last decade at least. An occasional night game puts the spotlight on Michigan, which helps Michigan with recruiting and beyond. If you're really scared of opposing fans or night time dangers, etc., you can always sell your tickets for this rare type of game and watch it from the comfort and safety of your own home. In no way am I saying throw away our traditions, only to be open to a new, rarely-occurring tradition.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

By conference rule, no night games are allowed after November 1 unless they are played in a dome stadium. Unless the Ohio game is moved to before Nov.1 then it is not possible to play that game at night unless the conference rule is changed.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

I just don't understand why a program spends the amount of money they did on lights and and doesn't schedule more if not all night games, at least BIG 10 and major program games. Michigan fans like to refer to Michigan State as 'Little Brother' but I'm afraid UM making a decision like does nothing more than make the BIG 10 a permanent 'Little Brother' of the SEC. Ever notice that the biggest SEC games aren't played at noon, they always seem to be played at night where the largest national audience can be captured. Tradition is a nice thing but I'm not that tied to it. But if you always tie yourself to the past then all you become is an old story that never improves. It's time to move out of the dark ages of this frame of mind and move on, dare to start a new tradition. Doesn't mean you have to play it at night every year but I think it is foolish to not to. Stop letting the ghosts of BIG 10 past....Woody, Bo and many more.... stop dictating what is best for future Michigan players. There is a reason Oregon has become so popular and is making such a huge splash on the national stage and will continue to do so. I may not care for all the combinations of jersey colors and such but they know that the kids and future players eat it up. These kids never saw a Woody or Bo team and many could care less but those same kids love the uniforms and are changing the image of their team themselves. Always remember the past but don't live in it. As long as the BIG 10 and Michigan live in the past they will have the best regional football team in the nation but the kids from Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon, and California could quite frankly careless about them. BIG 10 football....the SEC's Little Brother.

Howard the Duck

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

"Ever notice that the biggest SEC games aren't played at noon, they always seem to be played at night where the largest national audience can be captured." They play at night because it's too damn hot to play at noon!


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 6:09 a.m.

Says the SEC Fan who is a fan of a conference who allows real questionable recruiting practices just for the competitive edge, who cares about the student-athlete, they're all pieces of meat to you apparently. I actually care about the players and what happens to them after they leave school and how they conduct themselves in the public eye. Nobody said we're afraid of playing in the dark, quit twisting words around for your convenient argument. Nobody is afraid to play in the rain, that decision was a result of the silly state our country has fell into with all the legalese crap bestowed on our society. MSU would fit right in with the SEC with the thuggish way they play, I can see why you admire them it sounds like. Who said we shouldn't have a B1G Championship Game? Huh? I love that we have that now, so quit making things up. I never heard anybody that roots for U-M complain about App St. cheating, I don't know where you got that. The BCS is full of it in many ways, B1G fans are not the only ones who think so, more made up stuff by you. Finally, you have a binky? Really?


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

I agree. The worst part was the negative publicity Michigan received for about a year from the time the allegations were announced to the revealing of the sanctions.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

No problem Jude, thanks for the correction, we were only penalized for practice time however, not scholarships or anything else. So that tells you how egregious we were, which is not very. No tattoos, or payments or houses, etc.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Hate to correct you, Mick, but Michigan is indeed under three-years probation, this season being the first. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

No we're not in a 3 year probation, all they did was take away practice time from us that we already dealt with and satisfied the requirements. We over practiced under that previous incompetent of a coach by like 20 minutes a day, I'm sure the SEC teams don't over practice, yeah right. PSU, I don't know what to say about that my man, that has nothing to do with football, just a sick individual. OSU and MSU would fit in the SEC however, do you want them? They would fit academically too, We'll take Vandy, the only good school in your whole conference, maybe Ole Miss too.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

questionable recruiting practices in the SEC...uhhhh...isn't Michigan under a 3 year probation right now? how about Penn State, Ohio State. or the Spartans of the 90s? Like the Big 10 is so squeaky clean. Need I say more? rain? Notre Dame and Oklahoma St. finished their did EVERYONE else in the country...


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

of course...Michigan is afraid to play in the dark or when it rains and they can't play any away games (only 4?)...and the sun is too shiny and the spartans play too rough...and the refs are mean...and there shouldn't be a Big 10 Championship game...and the BCS is unfair...and Appalachian State cheated....waaaaaaa...where's my binky?


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

you're getting a lot of votes, hmm, seems suspicious to me. I really question that.

Joseph Brando

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

Air Force, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Northwestern. Wow! Top schools are bowl eligible for essentially playing .500 ball against the better teams. Nice.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

The scheduling is something I have commented frequently about, and would love to see it ramped up to be pretty much all BCS type schools with national interest, though all need not be top 10 programs (i.e. would love to see us play Texas schools, Georgia or Georgia Tech, Stanford, UCal, Tennessee, Virginia or VA Tech, Boston College, Maryland, etc. If you must, play one MAC in-state school to contribute some of our money to a colleague in Michigan. I think playing top 10 teams all the time would be tiring and unrealistic for championships, but playing major schools would be much preferable than 2-3 MAC schools and FCS schools. Michigan did this for years until the days of Goss and Martin, and apparently continued by Brandon. I love Brandon's comments about night games--it should be done for special reasons, not done to just do it. I prefer day games for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is logistics but the M crowd did appear very well behaved for the ND game this year. I will say, though, that Brandon seems to be a guy who loves the dollar (as all AD's probably do), and if there is a way for Michigan athletics to earn a pretty penny, he'll do whatever he wants to do to gain it. (Ex: not one but two &quot;legacy&quot; jerseys this year).


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

The Michigan night game vs Notre Dame went great TO A have no idea the number of complaints that came in from people who live in that two-mile radius of the stadium that had to put up with the noise until 3 in the morning... I think the take on &quot;special events&quot; is a good one -- a game every two or three years under the lights -- keep the fans happy, keep Ann Arborites happy...


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

Wanna know about college game schedules and start times? Follow the money - the big, big money. That's all there is to it. Which is why Brandon's blog entries on this topic are not to be taken too seriously. Under the lights? Sure - why not put to use the new permanent lights? As it is, I think they're using those lights to grow marijuana on the stadium field in the off season, keeping them on 24/7. Besides, does anyone remember the darkened little stadium in East Lansing when the Wolverines played there last October? At least Michigan Stadium has a professional, big time look and feel to it. If night games do become a trend, we'll be seeing how far short a lot of Big Ten stadiums really are.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

Come on, we just got our lights installed this year, and have only used them one time. We also had our electricity turned off for a game 2 weeks ago. I think its a little early to start calling out the other teams and their &quot;Short&quot; stadiums until we can get a couple night games and a couple seasons if uninterrupted electricity under our belt. We have our own infrastructure &quot;Shortcomings&quot; to deal with, the road into the stadium bot being able to carry RV's is one big deal that needs to be addressed before it turns into a national disaster story.

Terry Star21

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

Thank you....I know Bo would be happy, and I have to believe perles and hayes would support this. There is nothing like a Michigan football game at noon on a Saturday......nothing. MgoBlueForTiM ....Bo; &quot;College football should be played @ 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon&quot;.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

Rude Jude, Sad but true, some State and Buckeye fans are just plain incorrigible and really stink up the A2 jail joints. Day games rulz!


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

Wow, complaints about the costs of the lighting, the game being played too late, and rowdy fans? Really?

Terry Star21

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

It is a proven fact, noon games are safer all the way around.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

and how much did those freakin lights cost? How much does it cost when they're turned on at night when there is no game?


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Having in worked at an institution that had a lot of night games I can tell you that the night lighting is very expensive.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

We need not revisit this but, hey, the next Michigan football game won't be until Jan 2 or 3. 1) MSU fan are way too rowdy (being polite) to have that event at night. 2) OSU is too late in season. A 3:30 kick would be a Twi-night type game in very late November. On a clear day, sunset is already about 5:05 pm local time, remember, we fall back to Eastern Standard time. I suppose Michigan can play OSU at night in Indy for the B1G Champsionship, sooner than later.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

(From Dave Brandon's blog) &quot;With TV comes the fluctuation of game times. All television networks work with certain parameters to select games and game times. The networks make their selections and announce game times two weeks prior to the game with few exceptions. These are network selections that are then forwarded to the Big Ten and then sent to each school. Athletic Directors don't determine start times -- networks do! Scheduling night games is different too. All night games are scheduled in advance of the season. There is no &quot;flex&quot; schedule like the NFL is using this week with the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints game moved to Sunday night. In this case, the NFL and NBC tell the teams when the contest will be played. For instance, with this past year's Notre Dame game, we first had discussions with the conference office and the network to make sure our game would be aired nationally. Once it was confirmed, we scheduled the Wolverines' first night game at Michigan Stadium.&quot;


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

It sounds to me like the television networks will determine if Michigan plays night games or not, and not Dave Brandon. Now that Michigan has the permanent lights, it's an option now. Sounds great to me. The Notre Dame game went over so well, I'd be disappointed if Michigan didn't continue this new tradition. I wouldn't be surprised if the MSU game is chosen as a night game. Like Dave Brandon said, it's a television decision. Keep up the great job, Dave Brandon! Athletic Director of the Year!


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

Michigan won't REQUEST the MSU game, or the Ohio game in future seasons, to be broadcasted at night, but if the network requests it, Michigan gets the final say.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

Read Dave Brandon's blog. If Michigan requests a night game, as was the case with the Notre Dame game, the network first promised it would be national before Michigan and Notre Dame agreed to do it. This was a &quot;special game,&quot; according to Dave Brandon. In future cases, if the network WANTS to do a night game, they will ask for Michigan's permission prior to scheduling it. Michigan has the final say. It's all in the blog linked above. : )


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9 p.m.

you think U-M has NO SAY in its game time starts? You think ABC can tell them to have a night game if they dont want too? please


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

also - to think he, as U-M AD has NO say to the start times of games is a joke - of course he has say, as does the visiting school


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

I guess that's why the start times of the majority of the games are TBA until a week or so before the game.


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

the point of the story was U-M wont be doing night games, for his stated reasons &quot;&quot;We are not going to schedule a home night game just to play a night game. then he says TV makes the calls for start times ... which is it? TV or him?

David Briegel

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

He can only say NO if he doesn't want that TV money and exposure!


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Reda that home schedule again folks - its terrible season ticket holders are already looking to sell tickets for 2012 , sans MSU when you make conference games seem unimportant and make a huge deal of non-con games like Notre dame, normal games are less special and the opening games against MAC teams have zero interest way to plan ahead


Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

I'll buy your tickets! The Northwestern, Illinois and Iowa games have been exciting the last couple of seasons. I'd love to see the honoring of the Air Force at the Air Force game. UMass...okay, we shouldn't be scheduling non-FBS teams, you win that one. And like you said, the MSU game, that's the big home game next year. Next year is all about Michigan proving its worth on the road, and, I'm hoping, earning respect, natinally and conference-wise, with big wins. Dave Brandon and Coach Hoke have a plan. I'll be at the Bama game, ready to cheer them on!!

David Briegel

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

You mean you didn't pay your &quot;premium&quot; to go to Dallas?