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The Stadium Atmosphere: 2008

For the rest of the Stadium Atmosphere series, see the sidebar.

With a new headman roaming the sidelines in Ann Arbor, and a facility in transition, 2008 will likely see several changes in the overall atmosphere at The Big House.

Rich Rodriguez brings an exciting new style of play, both offensively and defensively. This may mean that fans in the seats are more into the game, but it could also bode poorly. Transitioning to new systems is always difficult, and the radical change expected of Michigan will likely lead to major struggles, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The fans need to understand this, and support the team through tough times early in the 2008 season.

At West Virginia, Rich Rodriguez's teams consistently played under the lights, and many fans are hoping the concept of a night game will follow the coach to Ann Arbor. However, this may not be as likely as presumed. While Lloyd Carr never was a proponent of late starts, the general issue stems from the administration. Michigan's athletic department has routinely stood against night games for several reasons, including national exposure (which is no longer the case with primetime network coverage), alumni preference, and preventing all-day drinking. While Rich may be able to cast one more vote for later games, it would take a minor miracle to make a change in year one.

Michigan Stadium will feature a new look in 2008, as it works through phase one of renovations. New concessions, first aid, and bathrooms will be present, along with a metal frame for the luxury boxes. During the season, work will continue on non-gamedays. The stadium won't be aesthetically pleasing, but the wait will be worth it for the final result.
It will be an interesting dynamic to see how players and fans (and visiting recruits) will respond to a stadium in transition.

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“The Stadium Atmosphere: 2008”