The Michigan Experience
I venture a good bit north of the Mason-Dixon line today...
Driving to the gym this morning, I was listening to Bill King's Rivals Radio on Sirius. This show is not good which is disappointing given the high quality of Bill's Nashville radio show. This morning Bill had the Michigan AD, Bill Martin, on the show. I was shocked with what I heard him say.
Now, I have always wanted to watch a game in the "Big House," but after hearing the interview, I must admit my expectations for the gameday experience at Michigan dropped immensely. Bill stated that they don't like playing night games at Michigan because it tends to lead to fans tailgating too long and promotes excessive drinking. At Michigan, they prefer the noon to 3:00 start time.
I fully understand the game and action on the field is the most important aspect of a college football Saturday. However, watching a game is often much better via a television than in-person. The reason fans pack the stadiums and cities on gamedays is because of the atmosphere, and nothing can top the atmosphere both on campus and in the stadium of a night game. Tailgating on campus is one of many aspects of college football that makes the experience so great, and evening kickoffs create the ultimate opportunity for tailgating. Throw in the fact that Friday nights often entail a good time, and a noon start makes for a crowd that is often sitting on their hands hoping their cobwebs will clear.
College football was traditionally played between noon and 2:00. Had Bill Martin used that for the reason that Michigan, given the program's excellent tradition, plays their home games during that time slot, I would fully understand his reasoning. Throwing in excessive tailgating as the reason was bush league. So Michigan fans, take advantages of the night games in Happy Valley and Minneapolis.