You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Dave Brandon says Brady Hoke loves the idea of opening 2015 season on Thursday night

By Nick Baumgardner

Story has been corrected with proper time zone information.

For the first time in Michigan football history, the Wolverines will kick off a game on a Thursday night.

Michigan will open the 2015 season at Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3 -- something that's uncharted territory for the program and its fans, but perhaps the team's most important person is a big, big fan of the concept.

That person? Brady Hoke, of course.

"He loved it," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told on Wednesday. "The game is before school starts, it's got zero impact on classroom activities and it gives us a couple extra days to prepare for our second game.

"The coaching staff was very much in favor of it."

Hoke's no stranger to season-opening Thursday night games, either.

During his six-year tenure at Ball State, Hoke and the Cardinals opened up the season on a Thursday five times. Ball State went 3-2 during those games.


Utah players celebrate a 25-23 win against Michigan in 2008. The programs will meet again at Michigan Stadium in 2014 and then open the 2015 season on a Thursday night in Salt Lake City. file photo

Michigan announced a home-and-home series with Utah -- part of a Big Ten-Pac-12 scheduling alliance -- on Wednesday. The Utes will visit Michigan Stadium in 2014.

Brandon said Utah approached Michigan with the idea of opening 2015 on a Thursday night. Because it will be the first college football game played that season, it was a unique opportunity he said he couldn't pass up.

"Utah had the date and Utah offered it up," Brandon said. "It's the first football game of the 2015 season, and that opening Thursday night gets a huge national viewing audience.

"It was a big-stage opportunity for our program."

Brandon said the fact that the Thursday start is on the road, in Utah, means it won't be an issue for Wolverines fans who would have to worry about heading to Ann Arbor before going to work the next morning.

As far as game time is concerned, Brandon said there hasn't been any formal discussions on when kickoff will be -- but he doesn't expect it to be an issue.

Salt Lake City is in the Mountain Time Zone, meaning a primetime kickoff there would make for a 9 or possibly 10 p.m. kickoff in Ann Arbor.

"I know that game gets a huge national television audience," Brandon said. "I don't know the specific start time of the game, that'll be up to the networks.

"I would anticipate the networks do what they always do: Hold the Eastern coast's huge viewing audience (as its priority). I would be very surprised if that wasn't a primetime game for those watching in the Eastern Time Zone."

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


Steve McQueen

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

Wow. Many of the posts here are pathetic. Michigan football is now entering in to a New era of Domination and all you can do is complain about change? Well then ask yourself...why not go back to the 1970s Michigan that you miss so badly? God save us from astroturf again.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Most decisions are made for the benefit of the Las Vegas Odds People (which is sick). There should be a law against betting on College games. As for the argument regarding TRADITION - we need to get away from superstition and avoid keeping to the past. NEW is often times better and more fun.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

based on the turnout for this incredible announcement, it looks like we are running out of things to get pumped up over.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.

Yeah, but 3 - 2 win/loss records won't cut it on the national stage, especially not here because: this IS Michigan. ;-)

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

I agree with what Dave Brandon has done 100%. Mr. Brandon has brought excitement to the team, fans and America - which is not easy to do for college footballs most marketable and successful team. I'll always believe Bo was the master of college football and I very much agreed with his belief in college football being played at 1:00 pm on a Saturday afternoon. We travel to all the games, but not real excited about the night games. I'm following what ever Michigan football does and positive I will make amends and enjoy....I'm sure Bo will as well. MgoBlueForTiM...following the best, rain or shine.

Joshua Nagelkerke

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

Thanks Hailmary... It's a hard struggle between finances, tradition, and keeping up with all of college football. I'm 25 years old so, I'm one of the younger college football fans. However, I am very well aware of the Bo Schembechler and Bob Ufer, thanks to my dad - (...the hole that Yost dug, Crisler paid for, Canham carpeted, and Schembechler fills...). I LOVE the tradition that Michigan has but, we need to keep up because recruits these days don't care as much about tradition as they do playing for a school that has the best facilities and plays Prime-Time games. I love what Dave Brandon is doing and with Brady Hoke's coaching, recruiting, and accountability, I believe we are on the right track to winning a lot of games without being a "thug" program.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Thank you Joshua!! Well said!


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

The thing is Joshua: I think the players learn to love the traditional stuff a lot when they get more seasoned, and especially when they leave. That is what connects the years and years of Michigan players and really, alumni. The big press boxes needed to be done, no questions--and it was done the right way, within the tradition of M football and stadium. (It doesn't look like Penn State's press box for example). The uniforms? They have changed through the years, for sure, but too much of what Brandon does is pretty much for the gimmick and the money--and that is not what I want my university to be. There is trying new things, and then there is "kitsch". And Brandon is crossing that line a bit, especially with the approach of a "new theme for every game", or "new uni for every game". We are special because we don't need it (makes us unique among many programs at this point)

Joshua Nagelkerke

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

I was born in Maize n' Blue and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

Great reading, nice story Hailmary......and Joshua, congrats - you are hooked on Michigan football forever......


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

Your 25 and I wouldn't want to go back to that age. I've been an avid or rapid fan since the 1950's. I was at the Rose Bowl game when Charles White fumbled the ball before entering the end zone and of course USC won that game. I was on the 10 yard line in the USC student section. I was at the game for Archie's last game in Mich. stadium with ohio state. As a kid I got hooked on Mich. football listening to Bob Ufer on Saturdays and I've had a love affair with the Wolverines ever since. I live in the High Desert in Calif. now and on football days I fly my Mich. flag and always barbecue. Ya Joshua, I love em. Go Big Blue !


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

Joshua, your on the money.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

A lot of good issues are being raised here and I respect all opinions whether or not I agree. This is a difficult time with the economy and all and I wouldn't want to be in Dave Brandon's shoes regardless of how much he is compensated. I sometimes feel like my opinion is valid above all others but I know that's truly not the case. This is truly a business of magnitude that requires a great amount of skill and money to operate. I would give Dave Brandon a B+ at this point.

Joshua Nagelkerke

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

I can appreciate a B+ from you. You mentioned you are retired so I'm guessing you are part of the older generation of Michigan fans. I can see that some of the things he's doing with BIG PRESS BOXES and SUITES as well as BIG scoreboards are frowned upon. On top of that, he has added some night games and allowed changes to the uniform. But, it is the BIG HOUSE and the updates were needed. As for the uniforms, I thought the home ones against ND were very cool but, the ones at MSU were ugly. The fact of the matter is, we are fans and they are players and I heard that the players voted on them. It's their team, let's let them pick some fun uniforms for special games.

Joshua Nagelkerke

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

... and by "below" i meant "above." This was my first time commenting and I didn't realize it was formatted this way. Thanks.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.

Joshua, your commentary is very valuable to the overall picture.

Joshua Nagelkerke

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

I love all the hatred below. RELAX! It's the 21st Century and like it or not, college football is changing. I'm a huge fan of Michigan Football and college football in general. I'm sorry that a football game is going to ruin your weekday sleep cycle hail2thevict0r. It's one night, get over it and enjoy watching our beloved Michigan Wolverines defeat a team that shouldn't have beaten us in THE BIG HOUSE a few years back.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Joshua, I couldn't agree with you more. There is a much bigger picture here than just my wants and desires for my beloved Wolverines. We are in a new cycle and we, Dave Brandon has to look out for the financial interest of the whole athletic program. Prices on everything including the grounds keepers is skyrocketing and all the costs have to be offset by primarily the football and basketball programs.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Dumb idea, we've seen Utah just because the schedule permits doesn't mean it should happen. what about USC or Texas? see, that would be a good game that could be interesting. and you're tng ND OFF the schedule for those two years!? this is turning into a circus.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

I am retired and besides that my television works just as well on Thursday as it does Saturdays. Look, they could offer t he fans free tickets and free food and there will still be the boo birds. Dave Brandon better use all his know how and that includes gimmicks to offset the cost increases of operation. Has anyone been to the gas pumps or grocery store lately ? How about t he interest rate increases on your credit cards the last few years ? Dave is a marketing guru and that is why he was hired. I believe Dave is doing exactly what he was hired to do and yes some of those practices will rub some people the wrong way, I say to you, get over it and support the program.

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

Very well said......


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Blue Marker and Heartbreak, you both raise some very valuable points, thank you.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

Dave was hired also because he is a big donor to the university, was a former regent (can't get more inside than that), and he was an ex-football player. Also, he is oft mentioned as a gubernatorial candidate. Now with that background--who at the university is capable of checking him? That was a concern I raised when he was hired, and I still have. He has done different types of things, but I worry that he is running amok. There is something quite valuable about tradition and he seems very little concerned about most of it.

Blue Marker

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

You can support the program and still question their actions. It's not one or the other. Furthermore, some of us value tradition more than other, obviously.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

I'll tune in and watch. The days when Friday NIGHT was High school, SaturDAY was college and SunDAY was the pro's is looooong goooone


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I miss those days, Craig. Keith Jackson on the tube with the hum of the blimp either on the TV or in the sky over Ann Arbor. Man...


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 2 p.m.


Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

"The game is before school starts, it's got zero impact on classroom activities" Basketball has no shortage of Tuesday and Thursday games. Other sports travel during the week too. It probably is a "school night" for Utah as well who seems to start their academic year somewhere around the 20-24 of August. So I'm not sure what the relevance of the statement really is.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Most fans don't mind night games on Saturday, since most have off both that day and the next one. With it on Thursday night, it complicates things and will take out the enjoyment for many fans. Not to mention the fact that the U closes the parking lots down in the vicinity of the stadium. In the middle of the work week, this will prevent the majority of the staff from parking where they usually do.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Tha game is in Utah.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

The Thursday game in 2015 is AWAY... not in Ann Arbor


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Dear Mr. Brandon, Michigan football is not a cardboard pizza. The more gimmicks you pull off the more you cheapen the "brand." For someone who constantly talks about expanding our brand and managing our brand, you sure seem to be completely clueless as to what gives that brand any true value.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

All I can say is wow! You act like he's eliminating the winged helmet or something. It's a Thursday night game for crying out loud!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

@Forever: I agree with everything you wrote here. Brandon seems to be all over the place in doing "gimmicks". I was always proud that Michigan had not "stooped" to Thursday night games for sheer publicity, and yet, here we are. I am encouraged that we are actually travelling--especially to a beautiful city like SLC, and Utah has been good more often than bad in the last 20 years, so that's good too. (Better than UConn as far as I'm concerned). But it is yet one more gimmick that Brandon is doing. Michigan's value is its tradition and excellence, and continually splashing on that is not good long term, despite the naysayers.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

How is having a game on the opening night of the season, with good travel conditions before school starts, with an extra two days to prepare for the second game of the season not a win-win situation for all?


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

That's great that Hoke is OK with it, or even likes it, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm going to have to watch a Michigan game, starting at 8:00, on work night. I hated doing it for the sugar bowl and I'm not going to like it for the season opener in 2015. And while any game is fun, it certainly limits the fun by having it on a weeknight.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Why NOT just record the game on VCR and then play it back at a later time? No one expects you to lose your beauty sleep unless you are truly determined to stay up late and watch.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:48 p.m.

Thank you Justfor! I swear the average age Michigan fan on this website is 80!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

You poor guy. Well, consider this. You could take a day off the next day. Or you could write Dave Brandon a letter and explain to him how your concerns are more important than an awesome Thursday night game that will be the talk of the nation.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Thursday night game? OK, that's interesting because it's the first Thursday game for Michigan ever. First game of the CF season? Eh, whatever. But...Utah? Really? Can't we arrange a more interesting home and home? How about Oregon or USC? Heck, Arizona would be a bunch more interesting.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Utah is in the PAC 10. They are a solid football program. They beat us in 2008 and almost in 2002- both games in the big house.. Playing Utah at Utah is going to be a very tough opener.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

UM is waiting for the BIG10 / Pac12 deal to kick in for the big boys.... the ADs already know who the opponents will be for the first 4 years of the deal, so they aren't going to schedule them now.

Blue Marker

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

Can we get a Jet-Pack guy to fly in and maybe multiple fly-overs? Firework, clowns and a man spinning plates. Maybe they could play on a Tuesday morning at 9:15, that should get them some attention. Make sure to play Don't Stop Believing and Seven Nation Army too. My God, Bo is rolling over in his grave!

Steve McQueen

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Why do you have a problem with Jet-Pack guy? What did he do to offend you? Jet-Pack guy is cool and should be a part of every football game.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

Holy crap you guys sound old! Lighten up. Things change in college football and in life. If everything stayed exactly the same it would be a BORING world. Enjoy the ride!

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

Blue...completely agree. 'College football should be played at 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon'.....I'm sure Bo would accept the 12:00 noon games though. He had it right !

Blue Marker

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

I did a face-plant as soon as I read your post. How could I forget!!!!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

You're clearly not a true fan... you completely forgot Sweet Caroline!

Paul R Lamse

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

And by 2015 his recruits will be ready to play. It should be great! Go Blue!

Paul R Lamse

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:13 a.m.

They'll play the first game and the last game of the 15/16 season! :)