Raucous Big House crowd could turn on Hoke, Wolverines early


When Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon concocted the first night game against Notre Dame, he envisioned a friendly atmosphere to showcase the Big House, Michigan football and the Notre Dame rivalry.

More from Michigan Wolverines

Three years later, Michigan again will host an “Under the Lights” classic when Penn State (4-1. 1-1 Big Ten) travels to the Big House Saturday night (Oct. 11, 7 pm) for a Big Ten clash.

Only this time, the atmosphere might be anything but hospitable.

Plenty of anger

From the Wolverines record (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten), the displeasure toward head coach Brady Hoke, and the distaste for Brandon himself, there’s plenty of anger to spread around.

First and foremost are the student ticket holders.  When the students began showing up late to games, the few thousand empty seats in the northwest corner of the Big House didn’t sit well with the athletic department.

To “punish” the students Brandon made probably the biggest mistake of his directorship by changing from the reserved seat policy to general admission. Students who enjoyed sitting with a block of friends now had to round everyone up and enter at the same time.

Student power

The students not only made enough noise to get their reserved seats back, six thousand or so decided to stay home this year. Others may even boycott Saturday’s opening kickoff.

Non-student ticket holders have been angered, too. It hasn’t been long since Michigan not only significantly raised its ticket prices, it also originated costly “seat licenses” for premium seats.

The disdain has nearly dried up the season ticket waiting list and while it won’t happen Saturday night, sometime this season Michigan will fail to draw a crowd over 100,000 for the first time since 1975.

Traditions lost

The erosion of Michigan traditions have angered others. Piping in loud music might be done to excite the younger fans, but traditionalists prefer spending football Saturdays with the Michigan Marching Band.

Fans are even angered over these so-called throwback uniforms. Since the late 1940s, the Wolverines always dress in their basic navy jerseys with maize pants to complement the most recognizable helmet in all of sports.

There’s also the possibility Michigan will take the field against Penn State in all-blue garb for the first time in its history.

Penn State scandal

Two more things come to mind where the athletic department might actually get a pass. First, it’s only been a few years since the Penn State child-abuse scandal, and the student section may have fun with that.

Second, Michigan could score early and often so the forgiving crowd will temporarily forget all that’s wrong in Ann Arbor.

Tickets remain available through the Michigan Athletic Department and various aftermarket sellers. Las Vegas sportsbooks list the Wolverines as current one or two point favorites.


[table id=27 /]

To voice your opinion, comment on this or any other Detroit Jock City article below.