To Night Game, or Not to Night Game

Under the Lights 1 in 2011

At the current moment, Michigan has two night games on the 2015 schedule. Road trips to Utah on September 3rd and Maryland on October 3rd. It is likely there could be one more road night game once ESPN/ABC announces their primetime schedule in the coming days.

What is not known is whether a primetime game at the Big House will be on that schedule.

There are a lot of factors that influence this that Hackett addressed during the spring game a couple of weeks ago.
"The rubic around who gets there is not just the athletic director saying 'I love this competitive moment over that,' it's a function of television, it's a function of the social objectives for the universities. It's a function of where the team is with its physical demands of travel at night.
On Wednesday during Michigan's men's basketball banquet, Hackett was asked directly if there was a chance the team simply doesn't host a home football night game in 2015. He opted against answering that question directly, instead saying something should be final very soon.

"Hang in there," Hackett said. "We're a few days away from that news.

"I'd rather you just get it all in one package." 

Not even a few weeks ago, all 7 home games seemed to up for grabs. But as time wore on, it appears now that those options are waining. Ohio State (not surprisingly) and Oregon State seem to be off the list.
"Do you want our incoming students to have their first experience on campus after a few days a football game at night? Maybe not," he said. "Do you want a night game to be in the dead of November at night? Maybe not. There are some physical and social limitations. It's in between that where we've got an opportunity and weather can dictate that."
I'm pretty sure ESPN would love to broadcast a Michigan home game in primetime, as the last 3 have all been very successful. The one remaining jewel on the schedule for the mothership is Michigan State. Surely Hackett, whom over the course of the last few weeks has probably learned, is that those public safety concerns could be a deal breaker.
"Michigan State presents some unique challenges because of the proximity of the campuses. We could end up with us up there at night or them down here at night with a sea of people being part of the game, and that puts pressure on the safety system. We're trying to work through that." 
Sans Sparty, that leaves BYU, UNLV, Northwestern and Rutgers as the remaining night game options. Between you and me, I think BYU is probably the best primetime option of that bunch. UNLV is pretty bad and I doubt Michigan would want to elevate Northwestern or Rutgers to "Under the Lights" status. Plus the BYU game is Sept. 26, which is a perfect time of year to host a night game.

It's also possible, and seemingly more likely that there will be no home night game this season. Time will tell. We'll know soon.

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