Friday, March 27, 2009

Some thoughts on the new schedule

Like anyone else, the first thing that jumped out at me when I saw the 2009 schedule was that all 12 games are on Saturdays. ESPECIALLY the Utah game. It's been such a power-down the last few years to have the biggest home game of the year fall on a Thursday night (or worse, a Thursday afternoon like in '06).

That being said, though, it's not completely perfect- but I'll get to that. A few of these were shared by Sir Wesley Willis. First, the positives:

-As mentioned before, every game is on a Saturday. It's like we're a real college football team!

-Utah game on a Saturday night. Double up on your blood-pressure medication for this one, boys. This could be a memorable night at Amon G.

-A home game on Halloween against UNLV. I got dibs on dressing up as Grimace. Residents of Fort Worth: guard your pumpkins.

-GREAT Television coverage, with 9 games on TV so far:

  • 4 on Versus in HD (Colorado St, @ BYU, UNLV and @ San Diego St)
  • 2 on CBS-College in HD (Utah and @ Air Force)
  • 3 on The Mtn (SMU, @ Wyoming and New Mexico...since only one away game is on The Mtn, their lackluster distribution isn't too big a deal. You'll have to find a friend with DirecTV for the Wyoming game on November 7th though...I'm looking at you, Sir Wesley)
  • The Virginia & Clemson games should both be on TV as well, although the ACC doesn't announce it's broadcast assignments until just a few weeks prior to the game. Only the Texas State game will end up being "radio-only".

-Great opportunity for travel- Virginia & Clemson will both have a good Southern atmosphere (although Virginia is pretty far north, no?). BYU's 65,000 fans will be looking for revenge. San Diego is self-explanatory and Colorado Springs is beautiful, as well.

-No back-to-back road games. The MWC office has finally decide to not do us wrong here, unlike last year when the Frogs played a Saturday night game in Las Vegas, then had to turn around for a (rather important) game in Salt Lake City just 5 days later.

But, because I'm a TCU fan, I have found negatives and am going to bitch about them. Starting with:

- No game the first week of the season. As maddeningly anxious as every college football fan gets toward the end of the summer, how unfair is it that we'll have to wait a week longer than everyone else to see our team play? Maybe it'll be nice, though, to consume the first weekend of college football while not moving from my couch. Or maybe the Rangers will still be in the pennant chase...ha!

-No off-week. 12 games in 12 straight weeks. That could take a physical toll, especially if the injury bug hits. It should be noted, though, that each of these first two frownies could be erased if the Texas State game (currently scheduled for September 19th) gets moved to September 5th, as some posters on Purple Menace seem certain it will. Having heard nothing from anyone actually associated with the program, though, I'm skeptical as to whether that will actually happen.

-Home game on Thanksgiving weekend. While most of you reading this site are probably thinking that, oh well, family time will get cut short this year, TCU-New Mexico doesn't have the same draw to casual fans like Florida-Florida State, Texas-Texas A&M or any of the other rivalries that are generally played over the holiday weekend. We've been lucky enough to avoid this attendance-killer since the ill-fated '04 season, when 24,000 showed up to watch the Frogs face Tulane. In 2002, with a conference championship on the line, the same number showed up to watch the Frogs clinch a spot in the Liberty Bowl. Yikes.

-Home game on Texas-OU weekend. Again, to any die-hard TCU fan, this isn't that big of an issue. But the 'Horns & Sooners annual clash in Dallas is a big event on the average Metroplex resident's football schedule. TCU has been able to avoid this attendance-killing conflict since 2000. The effect will be even worse if the UT/OU game kicks off at 2:30 (vs. TCU/CSU's 3:00 kick). Hopefully, and more likely, the UT/OU game will be picked up by ABC as a National broadcast at 11:00am. Also, the administration would be wise to 0ffset the damage by making the CSU game either Homecoming or Parent's Weekend, which usually boost attendance of any given game by a few thousand.

(Of course, both of the above attendance issues can be minimized if the team is playing well and is ranked highly).

-Late November trip to Laramie. When the Frogs play Wyoming on November 21, they could be in for some harsh weather. The average November high in Laramie is 42, with the average low being 17. Plus there's always the potential for fairly heavy blizzards. Luckily it's a day game, but still something to be aware of.

All in all, though, I'd say it's a very managable schedule and I can't wait.