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Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

Michigan football will host night game against Notre Dame in 2011

By Dave Birkett


Michigan's LaMar Woodley fights off Notre Dame's John Carlson in 2006. (File photo)

It didn’t take Dave Brandon long to make his mark as Michigan athletic director.

A week and a half after taking over for Bill Martin, Brandon announced plans to bring the first night football game to Michigan Stadium.

The Wolverines will host Notre Dame in an 8 p.m. game Sept. 10, 2011.


Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon announces that the university will host a night football game against Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10, 2011. (Photo: Melanie Maxwell |

“For us, obviously, this is an experiment, this is the first time we’ve done it,” Brandon said Thursday. “Hopefully we’ll just get better and better at it, and if all goes well we’d love to at least have one game a year scheduled at Michigan Stadium. It’d be a terrific tradition to start.”

Michigan is 22-11 all-time in night games, but the school has long resisted playing in prime time at Michigan Stadium.

Brandon said he started working on some of the logistical issues that come with hosting night games a couple weeks ago, then met with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick when he was in Indianapolis last week for the Big Ten basketball tournament.

Michigan and Notre Dame have played three previous night games - in 1982, ’88 and ’90 - with the Irish winning all three at Notre Dame Stadium.

“(Playing night games is) part of what creates a big, exciting atmosphere in college football,” Brandon said. “To play those games, if you listen to the coaches and the players and just as a fan, I know that being out there under the lights, in primetime in front of a national audience is something special. And we want to be a part of things that are special at the University of Michigan, so I’m pleased and proud that we’re doing this.”

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez hosted a number of night games at West Virginia, and has long been a proponent of bringing the primetime experience to Michigan.

“Our guys have been involved in night games the last couple years, as coaches we’ve been involved in many of them throughout our careers,” he said. “It’s Saturday night, primetime college football is probably as popular as anything that’s out there on television. So it should be a great thing for our program, should be a great thing for the University of Michigan.”

The Wolverines lost their only night game last year at Iowa, 30-28.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Tue, Mar 23, 2010 : 5:44 a.m.

Well let's see, they'll all be drunk by games end, those students will get lost in the dark their not to smart ya know, they'll walk on home owners flower beds, they will be so loud that Ann Arbor PD will probably have to write noise tickets, yabba dabba doo, geez let's at least give it a try folks. I've been watching this team since the 50's and the first thing that came to my mind about nite games was, hell yes, let's rock and roll boys and girls. Why the hell not at least give it a try????????


Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

I love it! I could get all my errands done and get my kids to their soccer games without having to leave an hour early and get stuck in football traffic. I wouldn't have to plan my day around the time the game starts and ends because by the time it starts I'd be done with all my errands and I might actually get to enjoy watching the game (or even going to it myself!) I wish all games could be played at night. I'm usually home at midnight and so the traffic wouldn't bother me! Also,I really don't think anyone who lives by the stadium has a right to complain-you bought (or rented) your house knowing that you would have 100,000 people in your yard on football Saturdays. Deal with it.

Terry Star21

Sat, Mar 20, 2010 : 5:43 p.m.

Wow.. did Porksword just say 'pounded on National TV by Notre Dame', and did Stunhsif just say 'two former great teams, now just hollow shells'... sounds like my two little brothers missed their nap! Sure there are some minor negatives - neighbors, drinking, etc. but America loves these two teams (even my little brothers and UM bashers will watch this game - but they won't admit it). This is a fantastic opportunity, not to be missed - bravo to the UM & Notre Dame brass for scheduling this. One home night game a year is just what the doctor ordered! Please, EVERYONE come to the Spring Practice Game on April 17, tailgate & enjoy UM football!


Sat, Mar 20, 2010 : 5:16 p.m.

I'm sure RR had no objection to Brandon about having night games. Good to see these two are in sync. I've been to a lot of USC night games out here and if USC can do it Michigan sure as hell can. USC is in a bad area, lots of homes all around, you can drink same laws apply, great atmosphere. I used to go to a lot of night games at the coliseum, USC, UCLA and the Rams and Raiders and USFL I never heard of it being a problem. Geez boys and girls Mich. is finally getting on track, fresh stadium, a coach that's getting us on track with the rest of the big boys, a new innovative young AD, who says we've got to be followers aren't we the leaders. As much as I love Michigan football I never once have given up on them or thought RR should go and you ask why???? becuase boys and girls we have been in a slow sinkhole which is going to take some work to get out of. We are all going to have to sacrifice and deal with a little thing called humility something I'll bet your not used to but it hits us once in awhile in fact it's slapping us around right now. How's it feel boys and girls? Well, wipe your noses and quit your bellyaching cause RR's gonna make it all better. This season your beloved Wolves will get back on track. I'm not stupid enough to predict how many wins and losses that's a losers game I said,"Mich. will get back on track".


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 8:55 p.m.

One advantage to the night game - when they lose, they can slip away in the darkness and avoid the spotlight.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 11:25 a.m.

"how night games will affect the people who live in the neighborhood next to the stadium." I'm sorry but once again not everything has to be run by the public and get their ideas on things. If you bought a house near the stadium, you must reliaze it's a big place that can cram 100,000+ people into it...there just might be a chance they have events there (amazing I know!). They should play night games, they should have night concerts, they should do all types of things in there.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 10:13 a.m.

I'm not sure that playing at night 'exploits' players. I would think they would look forward to an occasional home game under the lights.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

After living near Camp Randall in Madison, I say bring it on! Saturday football there is an amazing experience night or day!! Michigan fans are so BORING. That whole living in the Michigan Tradition is over and done.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

I played night games in Pop Warner...why is this such a big deal? Its still on is it again we're exploiting these guys by playing at night?


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

If it's a day game, the students will be drinking after the game as well as before the game. So I really don't think their overall consumption will be much more. If they drink too much, they may not even make it to the game. As for the neighborhoods, wasn't the stadium there before you bought your house? You didn't think about the inconveniences of buying a home near the stadium?


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 5:51 a.m.

Everyone wants it... no they don't. I think it's more a matter of money..that prime time TV almighty dollar.. To those of you that say get with the times..give me a break.


Fri, Mar 19, 2010 : 12:55 a.m.

Thank you Brandon! This is going to be such a fun time! One of the most honored programs in college sports, with the most college football wins is FINALLY trying to shed some of its cobwebs off itself! The students drink all day anyway, what's the difference? They drink before the game, after the game and well into the night anyway. Maybe now those less respondsible will pass out before the game begins and not make it to the game!

Old West Sider

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 11:44 p.m.

Football as well as professional baseball was originated to be played out of doors on grass in the afternoon. College sports now has down to how much money can we make on any given game day,be it a noon game a mid afternoon game or a night game,just as professional sports is.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 9:56 p.m.

I am amazed at the people opposing this game! Excuses like the law enforcement budget...what diffence does it make? the game will be played one way or another. The cops will all work the same hours, just more night hours, less day hours, big deal! and the traffic!? Don't the 330 games already end in the dark anyway? Later in the season anyway. The only ligit reason I can see is the drinking, and how the fans handle themselves with "extra preparation", but that's a minor blip compared to all the ligit advantages! Hey, the players, coaches, and AD want it! That should be the end of the story, otherwise your agenda is in question!


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

Ugh. There is a direct correlation between how late a game is and how many drunken fools cause problems at the games... it's going to be a VERY long night for some of us. Hey, at least we get to sleep in that day, we're going to need it.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

Tradition? Better watch out, someone will eventually want to hold a hockey game at the Big House. Saturday Night Lights--Great move, as a fan I love it.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

Who cares? Two former great teams that are now just a hollow shell of what they used to be. Adding a night game is just a marketing ploy and shows how desperate the U of M is.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

If you're that worried about the traffic / drive home, STAY IN A HOTEL! I can't believe some of the negative reactions to this. Get with the times, people. The Cubs started playing night games a long time ago, and it seems to have worked out pretty well for them...


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 6:45 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a college town. If not for UofM it would just be another map dot. Plus, it'll be 1 or 2 games per year maximum. Get with the times people.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

No parking at my house for a night game. By the way, thanks to U of M for consulting the neighborhood about the night game issue as you promised you would in all of the stadium construction meetings. Yet another fine example of the U of M "community engagement" plan. Who is going to paying all of the A2 police department overtime considering the currently proposed public safety budget cuts under consideration by the city council. I would also like to see where they are going to park everyone. I can't wait to see the first car wrecks at Pauline and Edgewood, Pauline and Fifth, Pauline and Hutchins, etc. when people follow their usual post-game behavior patterns. You cannot call me a "U of M hater" for writing this since I am a U of M football fan, U of M alumni, and proud U of M employee.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 6:08 p.m.

People just look for things to fight about on these sites. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. By the way, DUDE, if you can't stand opinions that are not the same as yours, two words for you: DON'T READ! Get over it. Personall, I could care less when they play the game, just start winning the damn games. Problem is, RR will never make up for his two losing seasons here unless he wins an NC and dominates OSU, neither of which I foresee happening. I'm sure that classifies me as a 'hater' by the ignorant minority who defends 8-16 as RR maximizing talent, but I'm confident I'll be proven right.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

Bruce said it will be very hard on the reporters to write in the dark.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Oh yeah we need more hours for the drunks to drink on game day..' can't wait to see how this out. Beef up that overtime for the already strapped law enforcement budget..clearly someone isn't thinking.....


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

heartbreakM, Yeah, Im clearly yelling at you. You talk like the team is yours. Its not. If you cant handle a night game once a year then the simple solution is dont go. You only talk about the drawbacks (which every other school in the nation manages to overcome) and ignore all the benefits (recruiting, atmosphere, ect.) that it would bring about. The atmosphere at Michigan Stadium sucks compared to most SEC schools, and if it werent for the students, the place would be dead quiet. its a fball game, your supposed to drink before, supposed to expect to sit in traffic after the game. i bet you are the same guy who got mad at lloyd for removing helmet stickers b/c it messed with 'tradition.' The only tradition i know is winning. hopefully rich will do that just soon here. other than that, get with the times man, night games are part of it.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:50 p.m.

How is getting pounded on national tv at night by sorry ass Notre Dame going to help recruiting? Why is Richie even commenting on this when he probably is not going to be here in 2011? Just some questions....


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

"And regarding atmosphere--yeah, let's improve the atmosphere for the students who (a) come to the games late, (b) leave the game early." They bought the tickets, it's their team, they can show up when they want and leave when they want.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

Dude: Do you sit with me at games? Do you know that I tell people to sit down? Actually, I'm the one who gets yelled at to sit down, so don't make bad assumptions. I gave my reasons why I don't like the night game in the college game, particularly in A2. I suppose all you people attacking me also want a Thursday night game, which I am also opposed to. I think there are some special things that I don't want messed with. And regarding atmosphere--yeah, let's improve the atmosphere for the students who (a) come to the games late, (b) leave the game early. How about this: Let's improve the atmosphere, students, by actually cheering loud and leaving the crowd. I see too many weeks and years where they are the first to bolt. Don't complain about us "blue hairs" (when actually I wish I had enough hair left to dye it blue). Look in the mirror and lead. But, no that's too hard. Let's just yell at someone who respectfully gives his or her opinion.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

Many in Ann Arbor hold the belief that the team is 'theirs' and should only do the things they like. Always on threads like this we here peole refering to "those students" like an old man shaking his fist on his front lawn. Those darn students will be up to more drinking with a night in the national guard! There go those wacky students again at THIER football game. It's their college, it's their team, let them have fun with it.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

Are Michigan fans really this lame? "Tradition--I really love the tradition of an afternoon game, with the morning walk around A2, off to the stadium (w/ or w/o the band), then watch game in daylight, then night time in Ann Arbor or the drive home. Drinking: Much as drinking is a big part of the college football experience (especially for students), night games just give people a chance to drink longer and really become foolish drunk Traffic: I don't even want to think of traffic at midnight around A2 after another of those 4 hour games. This is coming from the same guy who tells people to sit down at the Big House for standing up and cheering. Seriously, people think just b/c Michigan is Michigan they will win. Oh no, what will we do, drinking for a few more hrs? Traffic? the horrors! My god, how does any other school have a night game. Michigan stadium needs to liven up the atmosphere ALOT. This will help recruiting and the atmosphere when recruits visit will be outstanding. If you are against this, then two words for you: DON'T GO!


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 4:03 p.m.

"Tradition--I really love the tradition of an afternoon game, with the morning walk around A2, off to the stadium (w/ or w/o the band), then watch game in daylight, then night time in Ann Arbor or the drive home." This is also a joke right? Michigan fans are so weird. How could anyone be against their home team having a night game?


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

I am glad it will be 2011 -- the defense can be rebuilt.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

Wersch213, So you are counting Coach Bo as one of the michigan haters given his legendary opposition to home night games.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

Wersch--why is it that anyone who disagrees with you or is critical of Michigan, that makes them a Michigan hater? I actually agree with SAB that night games at Michigan stadium are not a great idea. I don't like it for the following reasons: Tradition--I really love the tradition of an afternoon game, with the morning walk around A2, off to the stadium (w/ or w/o the band), then watch game in daylight, then night time in Ann Arbor or the drive home. Drinking: Much as drinking is a big part of the college football experience (especially for students), night games just give people a chance to drink longer and really become foolish drunk Traffic: I don't even want to think of traffic at midnight around A2 after another of those 4 hour games. As far as RR's comments about how it will be a 4 hour recruiting commercial, well, I would respond by saying that winning is a bigger recruiting commercial and he should concentrate on that first. Michigan is not WVU and does not need night games, or music piped in, or cutesy phrases (all-in???) to be a powerhouse. They just need players coached well. And yes, Wersch, I don't like the music piped in either. I am someone who loves the tradition of college football and some of its uniqueness and specialness is what sets it apart from the pro level.

Steve the Wookiee

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

This is a great idea! Plus other Big Ten teams play night games that have student bodies much rowdier than U-M (Wisconsin, Penn St., Ohio St.)


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

Your telling me the big house doesnt even have lights? They should have plowed that noise free wreck to the ground. Way to start a new "tradition." Well 22-11 should fit nicely.

Blue Marker

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

Count me in as another long time fan who loves this idea. Brandon is making his mark in a hurry. Go Blue!


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

This is a great idea!!! It will create an atomsphere like never before in the Big House. The early September games as always so stinking hot this will be a nice change. Why would this create anymore problems or cost more than a 3:30 game? I knew their would be at least one wet blanket in the crowd.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 2:50 p.m.

jeffsab - your kidding right? It's a great idea and I love it. Obviously Michigan haters just try to find any speck of negativity to spew.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 2:43 p.m.

This is a bad idea. Four more hours for students to drink, and all those out-of-towners now in even more of a hurry to get home in the pitch dark. Not to mention that the city wants to trim the costs of traffic enforcement related to the stadium.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

Macabre, I attended a game against Minnesota that, I think, started when it was dark...definitely a later start than 3:30PM...lots of rain I remember. Not sure if that was late 80s or early 90s, but we didn't get out "late" as in 11PM-ish, so probably not considered a night game by tv standards.

David Briegel

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

They always bring in portable lights for the 3:30 games which frequently last till 7 or later. It gets dark around 6 or so. I have been at many games that are like night games at the end. Mich has played many night games on the road! I vaguely remember a political rally or some similar event in the evening. Yes, it will be crazy! Imagine being a student. All day to "prepare" for the game.

Mumbambu, Esq.

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

Can't wait! Macabre - the portable lights were always brought in for 3:30 games. Think of the MSU game in 2004 it was nearly dark by the time the game ended.


Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 1:14 p.m.

will be crazy at the big house.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Mar 18, 2010 : 1:13 p.m.

Didn't they bring in portable lights one time back in the '80s? Or did I dream that?