The Univ. of Michigan will open its football season “Sept. 1 against defending national champion Alabama at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas” and the school will “receive a $4.5 million payout,” according to Angelique Chengelis of the DETROIT NEWS. Michigan AD Dave Brandon said, “We were asked to play a really big-time opponent in a really big-time venue. ESPN wanted it to be us, Alabama wanted it to be us. Two historic programs -- that's what we do.” He added, "I wasn't going to tell them 'No' if we could work out the details and make it financially viable for us. When we give up a home game, that's a significant impact on our budget and our year. The fact we were able to work something out to smooth that over made it a viable opportunity. Why wouldn't we play the game?" Brandon continued, “I said, 'This is a terrific idea, but you can't afford it.’ Early on, I didn't think they could make it work. ESPN worked with (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization and they figured out a strategy that could make it work." Chengelis notes there will still “be a slight loss of revenue for Michigan.” Brandon said, “We think some of the greater good in terms of the excitement, and the fan interest, the travel parties, the development opportunities, the merchandizing -- there's going to be lot of positives too” (DETROIT NEWS, 8/23).
DENIED: Brandon said that UM “proposed moving its 2013 football game at Connecticut to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, but UConn declined.” In Detroit, Mark Snyder notes the game is now “scheduled for Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., which seats only 40,000 people.” Brandon said, “The net of it is we’d like to be playing that game in a big stadium. We think we could fill that stadium, we think we could generate a significant amount of money that could help UConn, but right now, they’re in a position where they can’t consider it” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/23). Brandon said of UConn declining to play at MetLife, “We did a contract, and they control the game. It's their decision, ultimately." The DETROIT NEWS' Chengelis notes previous Michigan AD Bill Martin “scheduled the home-and-home series with the Huskies” (DETROIT NEWS, 8/23). In Ann Arbor, Nick Baumgardner notes when asked whether or not UConn AD Warde Manuel, “who is a Michigan graduate, had any interest in trying to go to the Connecticut state legislature to move the game, Brandon replied that he did not know.” Brandon: “He understands economics like we all do in this business. He knew (how) compelling the opportunity was, but as I understand it, they're just not in a changeable position” (ANNARBOR.com, 8/22).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Brandon said, “We’ll have a night game in 2013.” ANN ARBOR NEWS’ Baumgardner noted UM hosted its “first ever night football game in 2011 against Notre Dame, a contest that ended with a 35-31 Wolverine victory.” Brandon “wouldn't say who, exactly, Michigan would host for its second night game in 2013 -- but did confirm several times that the current plan is to host one.” He said, "My plan is to play one night game at Michigan Stadium (every year), it didn't work out this year." He added that he “would not schedule a home night game for November, due to potential weather risks -- eliminating Nebraska and Ohio State” (ANNARBOR.com, 8/22). The DETROIT NEWS’ Chengelis writes it seems “the logical choice for 2013 is the Notre Dame game on Sept. 7.” Brandon said that mid-October “likely would be the cut-off for potential night games” because after that, the weather “could be an issue.” Brandon said, “We want to make it a celebration, positive event, not a toughness test” (DETROIT NEWS, 8/23).