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Posted on Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Night football at Michigan Stadium will be electric, loud and memorable

By Michael Rothstein

The fans will be loud. Oh, yes, the fans will be loud.

If there is one guarantee a night football game in Ann Arbor, it is that.

Night games bring the noise - even at usually quiet-for-110,000 people Michigan Stadium - all around the country. Thursday, newly installed athletic director Dave Brandon announced that Michigan will play host to Notre Dame in an 8 p.m. game on Sept. 10, 2011.

At Michigan, a night game will represent something more than merely a day of drinking and tailgating and watching the rest of the Big Ten play football before a nighttime rivalry crescendo versus Notre Dame.

This is the first step toward the Wrigley Field-ization of Michigan Stadium. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Much was made when Wrigley Field, long the epitome of historic stadiums in American sporting culture, added lights and hosted its first night game in 1988. It was viewed as a shift in culture. If Wrigley could add night games, any stadium could and would.

Now, Michigan will.

Times change. Stadiums grow. And Michigan Stadium, nearly done with the biggest facelift in its history, is one of the most tradition-filled stadiums you’ll find.

For one night in 2011, the old girl will look different: She’ll be the Big House After Dark.

This should excite, well, almost everyone. There is something magical about night games in college football. The atmosphere is electric. Fans and players enjoy it.

About the only people who don’t are some coaches - no one likes sitting around all day waiting to play a game, and that’s understandable.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives, media deadlines notwithstanding.

“I think everyone likes to play under the lights,” Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin told before Michigan’s night game at Iowa in 2009. “High school, college, pros, whatever.”

Now, he’ll get his chance under the lights in a place that forever seemed like it’d play home games during the day.

That the first night game at Michigan Stadium will come against Notre Dame, one of its bigger rivals, also has some symmetry.

Around South Bend, the Irish rarely play night games, having played Michigan three times at night, the last in 1990. As part of its NBC deal, there is a stipulation that no night games be scheduled at Notre Dame, and it is part of the reason for the Irish’s yearly “off-site” game on the network at night.

Provided this goes well for Michigan - and considering how it works across the country, there’s little reason to believe it won’t be a success - Brandon said he’d like to make this a yearly occurrence. This would bring it on par with the rest of the Big Ten. Every other Big Ten school plays night games.

Often, they play them during the Big Ten season, and that likely won’t be too far off in the future, either, for Michigan.

No matter what, day or night, fans will come. Michigan has proved that. It’ll just be a bit louder this time.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.


Terry Star21

Mon, Mar 22, 2010 : 11 a.m.

It must be awful tough to visit Michigan Stadium and see intelligent people sitting politely, enjoying themselves, cheering for ABC cameras, then quietly reading a book... tough to see after visiting the horseshoe and see 80,000 obnoxious truck drivers spitting and swearing at people, hiding a bottle under their coveralls, and threatening visitors after the game - whom are literally scared for their lives. Me I always enjoy a good book at the Big House while watching histories very best team play.


Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

"even at usually quiet-for-110,000 people Michigan Stadium" Ive been to games, my michigan buddies have spent allot of time trying to lure me away from the dark side, and yes it is quiet, and yes everybody sits. even in the student section. they put on a big show when coming back from a commercial and the ABC cameras are pointed up at the stands, but then they all sit down and read a book or something. Also the seats are all 9 inches wide no matter where you sit.


Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 6 p.m.

Night Game?Dark at 7:00 PM,Stadium Blvd Bridge falling down,Cutting back Police personel,Parking on lawns and driving out at night,residence having young children in bed at dark and football fans partying at 11:00 PM.WOW a good deal for a robber,rapeist or strong arm tactics.


Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Michigan: Infinity ND: Negative Infinity Could it get any more lopsided than that?

Terry Star21

Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

I love you guys Theo and Blue, come by my barbeque April 17 for a cold one and a cigar on me - then get ready to preview the most exciting UM football team in action, oh... and watch the Alumni game as well (think Harbaugh will show!) The night game will be exciting in 2011. Michigan 201 ND 0.


Sun, Mar 21, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

Think it will be that close?