The first game of the college football season is always a big deal, especially for Michigan. This year, however, it is an even bigger deal because the season opener is going to be the first game played in the "new" Michigan Stadium. Almost three years of construction are in the books, and Saturday will be the first time a game is played with all of the luxury suites and club seats and the new press box up and running. It will also be the first game played on the new FieldTurf that was installed this summer.
While everybody will be focused on Michigan vs. UConn come 3:30 p.m., in the half-hour or so leading up to kickoff there will be quite a scene in Michigan Stadium. Here is a rundown of the planned festivities, via MVictors:
- Video piece on the Stadium project
- Video piece on Brock Mealer
- Ribbon cutting (with Bill Martin, Dave Brandon, the Regents)
- Brock Mealer will lead the team out, walk under the banner. The team will follow.
- Looks like two flyovers (sounds like MGoShoe has it right.)
- TBD – but possibly some type of pyrotechnics(!)?
- There will also be set video pieces throughout the game
It sounds like the pre-kickoff spectacular will be divided up into a few phases. The first is commemorating the "new" Big House by having a rededication ceremony, which will reportedly include a flyover. Next will be the band's usual pre-game show. Then, Brock Mealer, who couldn't even walk following a car accident in 2007 that took the lives of his father and his brother's girlfriend, will lead the team out of the tunnel. Many may be unaware of this whole story, but for those who have followed it, the scene will be quite emotional.
After Mealer leads the team onto the field, another flyover will happen during the national anthem and then it will be time for football. Kickoff is the moment everybody is counting down to, but the pre-game festivities will definitely add to the game day experience on Saturday.