In 2013, The University of Michigan will travel east to face the UConn Huskies in football. The only question -- at least in Michigan's mind -- is where. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Wednesday that the school's proposal to move the game to MetLife Stadium (home of the Giants and Jets) was declined by UConn, according to the Detroit Free-Press.
Which means that the Wolverines, who regularly play in front of 100,000 people, will get to enjoy the cozy confines of the 40,000-seat Rentschler Field.
"We've made specific proposals that I would consider more than compelling financial incentives to move the game, but life is politics," Brandon said Wednesday.
"My understanding is the state of Connecticut, when the state appropriated dollars for that stadium -- because it's not a university stadium, it's a stadium state-supported, and I think the university pays rent to use it -- when they appropriated a significant amount of capital, they put in the legislation that UConn could not move a game away from that stadium."
As SNY.tv's John Silver points out, while the Huskies would make more money playing in MetLife Stadium, the decision is also a political one. "The issue, mainly, (is that) the state spent $90 million to build a stadium so UConn could play," Silver wrote Thursday.
And for now that appears like what will happen. And Brandon shouldn't undersell the Rent. Yes, there's more money to be made at a larger venue but the Huskies' home stadium can be a great place to play. Former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, who was drafted second overall by the Redskins in the NFL Draft, had this to say about Rentschler when Baylor faced UConn his freshman season.
"The thing that people think is when you go to these big stadiums and they have 80,000 people or 100,000 people, that these are the toughest stadiums to play at, but really, those aren't," Griffin said. "When you have that many people, most of the time, the fans are pretty far away from the field. The toughest places to play are the ones that are jam-packed, are really tight to the field and sit about 45,000 people. …
"When we played at UConn my freshman year, that was the loudest place I've ever been as a football player," Griffin continued. "The stands are right next to the field, it was packed, and everyone was yelling. That was probably the coolest place for me to play at aside from Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska."
So, no, bigger isn't always better.