LSA sophomore Bri Ward had only one word to describe the recently-announced first-ever primetime game at the Big House: “Epic.”
“We are making school history here,” Ward said of the match-up against Notre Dame planned for Sept. 10, 2011.
After last week’s announcement, many students, alumni and season ticket holders expressed excitement at the prospect of an 8 p.m. game at Michigan Stadium. But some said they wondered whether a night game could mean increased security or a more debaucherous atmosphere.
University alum Alberto Farah, a season ticket holder from Troy, Mich., wrote in an e-mail interview that he was surprised when he heard about the announcement last week, but thinks the decision was a good move for the Athletic Department.
“I felt like it was about time we joined the rest of our conference, and the nation, in showcasing our University and football program in primetime,” Farah wrote. “While I strongly feel that the tradition at Michigan is vital to our program’s image, I also feel that we sometimes cling too strongly to antiquated ideals in order to preserve that tradition.”
Farah added that the game could draw attention to the University by bringing in more fans and potential new recruits.
“From a fan’s standpoint, I think it makes that game a ‘big’ game — regardless of the opponent — and raises the program’s profile among casual fans and, more importantly, potential recruits,” Farah wrote.
LSA freshman Britany Doughty said she is looking forward to the night game and the possibility of future night games because it will give her a chance to sleep in before attending the game.
“Of course I’m going to be there,” Doughty said.
Other students said the atmosphere surrounding the game will be interesting to watch as the game gets closer.
Engineering junior Demetri Golematis said he is looking forward to experiencing a night game at the Big House, adding that he thinks the game will increase student morale.
“I think the game is going to be a huge boost for the Michigan football program,” Golematis said. “It’s something we’ve needed for a really long time. Knowing Michigan fans, there’s going to be a lot of excitement that day — the atmosphere is going to be surreal.”
LSA freshman Devitt Cooney agreed that the game was going to be a major event on campus.
“There’s going to be a lot of momentum building up to the game,” Cooney said. “Night games are the best — all big games are at night.”
But Engineering freshman Sam White said the excitement could lead to increased security concerns on the night of the game.
“I work at the games with DPS,” White said. “It’ll definitely be crazy with everyone drinking all day. We’ll see how this night game goes.”
Engineering senior Chris Hammond said he was definitely going to watch the game — which is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 — on television and questioned how athletic officials will light the field.
“It’s going to take a lot to light up the stadium,” Hammond said, as he mused about the engineering issues involved in holding a night game.
Hammond added that if the Wolverines lose, the experience could be worse than if the team lost the typical daytime football game.
“There’s going to be a lot of security,” he said. “There will probably be a huge proportion of drunken students. It could go very badly, depending on if we win or not.”
According to a March 19 article in The Michigan Daily, Athletic Director David Brandon said the night game would be an “experiment,” and if it proves successful, there may be more night games in the future.
“This is the first time we’ve done it,” Brandon said. “Hopefully we’ll just get better and better at it. If all goes well, we’d love to have at least one game a year scheduled at night at Michigan Stadium. It would be a terrific tradition to start.”
University alum Tom Ringel, from Miami, Fla., has been a season ticket holder for 41 years. He wrote in an e-mail interview that he thinks the game could usher in a “new era in Michigan football” and that the national broadcast of the game will attract athletes to the University.
“The additional exposure of primetime football will be great for recruiting,” Ringel wrote. “The excitement will be felt over the stadium knowing that nationwide television audiences will be watching the Blue.”
Ringel added that he hopes this game will improve the team’s representation in the Big Ten.
“It will be great to put some excitement back in the program to get Michigan football back to the top of the Big Ten,” Ringel wrote.
Though there was a lot of enthusiasm among the students and alumni who were discussing the future game, many students mentioned that the game was a little too distant for them to really get excited.
“It seems a little far away for me to care about right now,” White said.
LSA freshman Brian Green said as it gets closer to the date of the game, the student body will express more fervor.
“It’s exciting — just the idea of being under the lights — but it’s too far away to be really excited,” he said.