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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Under the Lights, Let's Do This Right

This September, a special event dubbed "Under the Lights" will occur in Michigan Stadium filled with anticipation. Not only will this be the first night game in the Big House's 84 year history, but also offers an exciting match up against a ranked Notre Dame team. Both teams will sport throwback jerseys. Michigan's jerseys encompass many aspects from team uniforms of the past. Along with these historic events, the media has fully embraced the game's significant. College Gameday, ESPN's Saturday morning college football broadcast, has already been scheduled to arrive on campus to hype up students, fans, and the nation for a spectacular game.

Although this seems to be quite a filled day for fans, the team, and the media, there are more historical aspects for September 10th. The first night game in stadium history signals a step forward, but Dave Brandon and the athletic department have also taken a moment aside to honor the past. Desmond Howard, former Michigan Heisman trophy winner, was named a 2010 inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame along with 14 other individuals and is in the process of releasing a book titled "I Wore 21" which will be released the day before Under the Lights. Desmond will also be doing a book signing on Friday, September 9th at the M Den located on State Street.

Hype has built to such extremes that some have even resorted to video games to pass the time. In a recent post, I talked about a great simulation created on the NCAA 2012 Football game of the match up between Notre Dame and Michigan including accurate replica jerseys and the nighttime atmosphere. Here's the post:

Along with the hype of video game users, ticket brokers have also shown the amount of interest in game tickets. The lowest tickets on StubHub are already up to $275 a piece and the season has yet to begin.

Student groups have also begun organizing special events to commemorate the occasion. The Michigan Student Assembly has created an "Under the Lights" Tailgate event on Facebook which includes all sorts of free giveaways for students all day.

So not only can fans enjoy special pre-game festivities from ESPN's College Gameday and the Michigan Student Assembly, the first night game at Michigan Stadium in 84 years, witness one of the Michigan's three Hesiman trophy winners honored during the game, and one of the most valuable tickets on the market, but fans can also sport new gear to the events. The M DEN has created an entire line of clothing to honor the event with phrases such as "It's Better Under the Lights.

Most Michigan fans can get hyped for almost any Michigan football game, but before we watch this special game "Under the Lights," I think we should take a moment to realize the historical significance of the events in Michigan football history. Things such as high ticket prices and student tailgates may seem quite common, but things such as College Gameday's appearance, the first night game and Desmond Howard's recognition are far more unique.

For those of you unfamiliar with College Gameday, it is a Saturday broadcast on ESPN that rotates across campuses for the football "game of the week." Though some would assume it hits Ann Arbor quite often, the show has only been to Ann Arbor once (excluding its planned September 10th appearance) since 2003.

The athletic department stated that College Gameday will be appearing at Ingalls Mall, which is located between Burton Tower and the Michigan League on Central Campus. This is a great location because it will have a scenic view of Michigan's "Diag" and have plenty of space for the numerous fans sure to show up for the event.

The night game aspect is also quite unique. For instance, Michigan may opt to add a night game every couple of years, or perhaps more often, but there will only be one "first" night game. On a similar note, there may be more honors for Desmond in the future (a jersey retirement has often been rumored), but this type of on-field recognition will likely only occur once, especially considering his recent induction to the College Football Hall of Fame.

So, as I said, enjoy the game thoroughly (hopefully a victory), but don't forget to appreciate the historical significance of this moment because for the majority of the day these things won't happen again. I've included a list of special events of aspects to the game against Notre Dame:

Under the Lights:

  • Desmond Howard Book Signing (MDEN) - Friday, September 10th
  • College Gameday (ESPN & Ingalls Mall) - 10am
  • Parking Lots Open - 12pm
  • Under the Lights (ESPN) - 8pm

Video Credit: AdamEvensVideos