K-State Football Is A Saturday Event

Please note: I do not want everyone to think I read Tim Griffin's ESPN Big 12 blog looking for chances to disagree with him.  But when I have reasons to disagree, they will be aired.  This is one of those times.

Griffin starts every day's links post with a lead-in, a short commentary on some topic or other.  Today, his topic is Thursday-night college football games.  More specifically...

The bigger Big 12 schools traditionally have not wanted to move their games around. But it would seem that a school itching to build some national notoriety -- are you listening Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas State? -- would like to jump into a programming slot where a lot of people would be watching their games.

Let me just go ahead and say it.  K-State home football games are, and should always be, a Saturday event.  Period.

Griffin notes that the bigger schools, presumably the Oklahomas and Texases (or is it Texasses?) are reluctant to move their games around.  There really is no need for them to be creative about their scheduling.  Their games will be on TV more often than not.

Later in the story, Griffin notes that the Thursday-night model has worked well for the schools in the ACC and Big East, whose teams you almost always see on the WWL on Thursday nights.  The reason the model has worked well for these schools is precisely the reason it works well for the "big" schools of the Big 12, and why it is a terrible idea for the "smaller" schools of the Big 12:

These schools are, by and large, located in (or near) large cities.

Below is a list of ACC and Big East schools, followed by the city in which they are located, further followed by the city's population:

ACC

Boston College, Boston, Mass. (590,763)

Clemson, Clemson, S.C. (11,393, but part of the Greenville metro area)

Duke, Durham, N.C. (208,816)

Florida State, Tallahassee, Fla. (159,012)

Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Ga. (519,145)

Maryland, College Park, Md. (24,657, but part of Prince George's County, with an overall population of more than 800,000)

Miami, Coral Gables, Fla. (Miami population: 409,719)

North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. (49,919, but part of the Raleigh-Durham metro area)

North Carolina State, Raleigh, N.C. (380,173)

Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. (40,437)

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (39,573)

Wake Forest, Winston-Salem, N.C. (222,682)

 

Big East

Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (332,252)

Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. (10,996, part of Tolland County, population 136,364)

Louisville, Louisville, Ky. (713,460)

Marquette, Milwaukee, Wis. (602,782)

Pitt, Pittsburgh, Pa. (312,819)

Rutgers, New Brunswick, N.J. (50,172, Middlesex County population 750,162)

South Florida, Tampa, Fla. (342,060)

Syracuse, Syracuse, N.Y. (147,306)

West Virginia, Morgantown, W.Va. (29,361)

 

As you can see, only three of those schools -- Virginia, Va. Tech, and West Virginia -- can in any way be considered remote.  The remaining schools are either located in large population centers, or near them, anyway.

 

By contrast, let's look at Manhattan, Kan.

Population: 51,707

Riley County population: 62,843

Nearest relevant cities (Lincoln is irrelevant):

Topeka (58 miles, population 122,113)

Kansas City (117 miles, metro population 1,947,694)

Wichita (130 miles, 361,420)

 

Students account for about 7,500 seats in Snyder Family Stadium.  That leaves about 42,500 seats for everyone else.  The majority of those seats are filled by K-State fans from KC, Wichita and Topeka.  The typical Thursday-night football scenario would involve a game kicking off around 7:30 p.m., Eastern Time, which would be 6:30, Central Time.  Even if the WWL decided to be charitable and bump the game back to 7:30 local time, any Thursday night game would be a real pain for K-State fans from KC, Wichita, and Topeka to make.  Further, the constrained schedule would virtually eliminate a hallowed K-State football tradition: tailgating.  And that's all to say nothing of those folks getting back to KC or Wichita after midnight and having to go to work the next day.

 

For this reason alone, K-State should never give in to playing games on Thursday night.  However, there are more reasons.  When it was announced that K-State was moving its home game with Iowa State in 2010 to Arrowhead Stadium, a lot of K-State fans reacted with...dismayManhattan business owners weren't happy about it.  You could argue the business owners owe K-State more than K-State owes the business owners, but I'm not ready to make that leap.  The business owners really won't be happy if they start losing out on game weekends for Thursday night games for which nobody stays overnight and nobody sticks around to eat, drink and be merry.

 

The primary argument Griffin makes in favor of schools like K-State playing Thursday-night games is that it will increase exposure.  While I certainly agree that K-State needs more exposure these days, I strongly disagree that we need to play Thursday-night games to gain that exposure.  Back in 1989, the only exposure we got was when magazines talked about how bad we had always been

 

Bill Snyder changed that by winning games, division titles, and conference titles.  The same can happen under Ron Prince.

 

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