Happy 93rd Birthday To ‘The Big House’ [Video]
It was on October 1, 1927 that the University of Michigan football team played its first game in Michigan Stadium.
1927 was a a banner year in the United States -Cherles Lindbergh became the first pilot to fly across the ocean, work began on the Presidential carvings at Mount Rushmore, jazz became the most popular music in America, and Henry Ford unveiled the Model A.
And 1927 was the year the University of Michigan football team moved from the cozy confines of Ferry Field to the largest football stadium in the nation.
October 1, 1927 was the opening game for the Wolverines (yes, back then, the season didn't start until late September/early October) and they celebrated by kicking the crap out of Ohio Wesleyan's Battling Bishops 33-0.
Ohio Wesleyan is currently a Division III school, but back then there were no divisions, so everybody could play everybody.
Back then, the entire stadium was below ground level and could hold 72,000 fans. Since then, the stadium has been expanded to seat 107,000, but can squeeze more in, because the record attendance is 115,000 for the Notre Dame game in 2013.
It is still the largest stadium in the country and 34th largest in the world.
According to Wikipedia:
Michigan Stadium was designed with footings to allow the stadium's capacity to be expanded beyond 100,000.
Fielding Yost envisioned a day where 150,000 seats would be needed.To keep construction costs low at the time, the decision was made to build a smaller stadium than Yost envisioned but to include the footings for future expansion.
It wasn't until 1986 that the nickname for Michigan became 'The Big House' for its huge size. The nickname is weird to some lifelong Michiganders, like myself, who remembered the name 'Big House' associated with the state prison in Jackson.
Traditionally, when the game's attendance is announced, the public address announcer thanks the fans for "being part of the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America today".
So let's go back to that day in 1927 when the Michigan Wolverines dedicated their brand new field.
I'm digging the Glee Club feel of the fight songs on this video, I must say.