A timely follow-up to a point of discussion in the comments to my last post can be found in the most recent of Bill King’s Mailbags.
Bobby Flannagan writes: Bill, like you I go way back with the Dawgs and remember the days when you could count on games in Athens kicking off at 1 p.m. (or, for years before that, 2 p.m.). Nowadays, you have to keep your plans on hold, sometimes until only a little more than a week ahead of time when they finally announce the kickoff time. And when they do, it could be noon, could be 3:30 p.m., could be 6:30 p.m — you never know! Those noon games all but kill the gameday experience since they just about rule out any meaningful pre-game tailgating. And in the case of a cupcake game like Louisiana-Monroe, that’s taking away just about the most enjoyable aspect of the day! Sure, you can tailgate after the game to wait out the horrible Athens traffic, but by then most of us would just as soon be on our way home. Is there any hope of sanity being restored to kickoff times?
Short answer: Nope. Television calls the shots when it comes to kickoff times, and, with the addition last year of the SEC Network, now that applies even the games against lesser opponents. It’s the downside of the Faustian deal college football has signed with the TV networks: you take their money, you give up control. Just be thankful that (so far) UGA has made it clear it doesn’t want to play on Thursday nights like so many other schools are willing to do. If they ever relent on that, you’re going to hear howls from the fans in South Georgia.
Actually, I’m more grateful not to be the fan of a school in the SEC’s Western Division. There you get the pleasure of having to show up for cupcake games with starting times in the morning.
What’s really sad about this isn’t that King is right – he is, of course. It’s that we’re all so resigned to it. There’s no way to fight Mickey, and we know it.
We’ve lost control of the schedule and sooner or later it’ll be the program that pays the price. Michael Adams may be happy that the tailgating experience is shrinking, but at the end of the day, if you take that away from the fan base, what do you have left to offer? My home WiFi works better than Sanford Stadium’s does.
No wonder there was a preference for stadium food over tailgating in that study I linked yesterday. You can’t lose what you never had.
15 responses to “Mad dawgs and Georgia fans go out in the midday sun.”
As every day passes, it just seems the powers that be are aware they’re sending the sport full speed into the mountain but don’t care because they’ll have pulled their golden parachutes before it hits.
For all the good the WWL has brought to college football with exposure, I fear it has done irreparable harm to the long-term health of the sport.
I’ve said for a while now, college football today is about in the same place NASCAR was in the 90’s. Incredibly popular, money is pouring in, the public doesn’t seem to be able to get enough. This is creating the same hubris in the people who run college football as it did in the people who ran NASCAR. They don’t think they can ask for too much in money or inconvenience from the fans. When the fans reach their limit and decide they have had enough, the fall will be sudden and steep.
Noon kickoffs, terrible home schedules, higher and higher costs to attend, more and more rules and limits on tailgating, four hour games due to commercial timeouts that completely destroy the flow of a game and DVRs that allow the fans to watch when they want and to skip the commercials are all conspiring to destroy the things that made college football popular.
Yep. College football will never survive TV with the noon kickoffs. I mean 12:30 kickoffs on TBS were fine, but noon! That 30 minute difference eliminates the ability to tailgate and will kill this game!!
You can keep your head in the sand if you want but people are becoming less and less tolerant of the early kickoffs. The attendance trends show that.
I would like to see a breakdown of noon kickoffs by division. Due to the 11am CST start time, does that mean SEC East teams play the majority of the early games? I think that we as fans expect noon games early in the season while playing cupcakes, and that’s fine. Don’t lose and you will avoid the 12:00 kickoff. So for us Dawg fans, expect lots of noon games going forward.
Just did a quick search to answer my own question, and it appears that the Early season noon start times are spread around somewhat evenly.
It sucks when reality mucks up another “Dawgs are losers” narrative, doesn’t it?
The “losers” are those who choose to wallow in misery while others enjoy life and, most all, Saturdays in the fall. With the “only applaud undefeated and championship seasons” crowd, CFB would collapse because only 7-8 programs would be satisfied only every 10 years or so. All these teams could play in the primetime slots and everyone else could fold up and sell off their facilities.
I have no right to complains since I have all but given up attending games live, but I feel for those attending afternoon games before mid-October in the South. As a viewer of TV games in the comfort of my home setting my major bitch is the overlap of key games of interest. But since I grew up in the days of one TV game a week from the entire nation’s slate, I have to maintain a perspective of how much better we all have it these days.
Small price to pay IMHO. I remember having to wait for the Vince Dooley show to air on Sunday mornings so I could see the game that Munson had described to me the day prior.
I am now in my 45th season of being a season ticket holder and want to make it to 50 more than I am tired of paying several thousand dollars a year to be an extra in a TV show. I would not go to an NFL now because of the excessively loud music, time outs that are too long and too frequent but that is what the college game is now. Only the ticket holders are the losers.
I’ve said before I never warmed up to the social aspects of going to a game…it is, to me, like the glad-handing and socializing before the church service starts. If that’s important to you, by all means, enjoy. I find all that a distraction.
And yet, I wonder if the damn Dawgs can hear me as clearly sitting in section HD? Does the Vulcan mind meld work from 300 miles away?
If I am on my knees in supplication, do the football Gods know if I am not in the stadium?
I believe the answers to all those questions is yes.
I believe that Hugh Durham was right when he talked about the “little guys huddled around the radio in the gas station in Tifton” having an effect on the outcome of a game.
Sometimes riding the tractor mowing a field, I can hear the poetry of Larry Munson.
The only thing that will ruin college football for me is to stop caring.
Sitting in a deer stand in Putnam county with my dad listening to Larry on a little transistor radio is one of my earliest memories.
Well Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad GTPers out there. Seems like Mother’s Day always gets so much more attention. Noon games are too hot for me early season any more. Interesting email and this mornings breakfast conversation with my youngest son per Bluto’s blog yesterday . A grad and now back in school at Georgia. Per the student participation.
The student section by the band was pretty full by the time I got there. The section in front of the score l scoreboard always takes longer to fill. The notion that our academic reputation somehow impacts the student turnout at football games is absolutely ludicrous. Academics and a great football atmosphere are not mutually exclusive. The tech students don’t fill up their stadium not because of academics, but because their team isn’t that great and the option is boring to watch. If a school had the best academics and the best athletics, people would still go to the football games. It’s not like students go, “Man our school rankings are through the roof! I think I’ll pass on the game.”
For some reason the older bulldogs refuse to identify the changes in the student ticket process. When I was a kid on the 90’s, all my tickets came from students. Any student that didn’t want to go to the game would sell his ticket to the general public. The section was not exclusively filled with students. These days, the students can’t sell their tickets, and anyone without a student ID isn’t even allowed in the students section. This obviously narrows the number of potential fans who can fill up the seats. The student body loves the bulldogs just as much as the rest of the bulldog nation even though we have never even seen a UGA national championship. The only difference is that it’s much more noticeable when students don’t show up.
Umm seems like we all have forgotten our history here. It was UGA’s & Oklahoma’s lawsuit in the early ’80’s that kicked off this TV madness.
Dumb question. I am sure there is some easily pointed out rule on this… But if we have a cupcake game that is not on TV, why do we still have to play at 1:00? Can’t we set (or at least influence) the start time?