|Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 11:47 AM- -|
Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
View Full Profile brought up the idea of Clemson playing Georgia on Monday night to a reporter from USA Today. Georgia's athletic director Greg McGarrity said he doubted that would be approved from the Georgia side of things.
Like most, I don't see how that would work in this case. The main problem is the fact that Georgia hosts South Carolina the following Saturday in Athens. It is easy to understand why Georgia would not want to play a division rival with such an impact on the SEC East with two days less preparation time. My guess is Georgia head coach Mark Richt would not be in favor of that idea.
The Clemson game is huge to Georgia. Both teams should be in the pre-season top ten and the nation will be watching. Georgia is thinking that game could be the kick off to a national title run and perhaps Aaron Murray or Todd Gurley's Heisman campaign. However, the South Carolina game is a much bigger deal to Georgia. The Gamecocks are division rivals and winning the SEC East is the top priority.
Clemson fans will look at Georgia as the enemy in the opening game and then turn right around and become the Dawgs' biggest fans the following week. So by that rationale, Clemson would not want to hamper Georgia's chances against the Chickens the following game and Clemson should not want to move the game to Monday. Hopefully Georgia can break their losing streak to South Carolina and pave the way for Clemson to do the same in November.
Weekday games have been frowned upon at Clemson even though we have had three in the last fourteen years. Clemson lost both Thursday night games here. They lost a heart breaker to Georgia Tech in 1998 and were pounded by NC State in 2002. The Tigers beat FSU here on Labor Day night in 2007.
Clemson has played on Thursdays many times in the past on the road. The Clemson-South Carolina rivalry was played on Big Thursday in Columbia for years. Clemson played road games on Thursday nights often at places like Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Virginia and NC State. The Tigers played a neutral site game in Charlotte on a Thursday night against Temple in 2006. Even Clemson and Georgia met on Labor Day night in Athens in 1983.
Home weekday games have been a different story though. In the past the administration and most Clemson fans tried everything in their power to avoid home weekday games.
Clemson is a great place to visit on a Saturday in the fall. That is the reason so many fans make the trip from Charleston, Columbia, Charlotte and Atlanta. On game day Saturdays I-85 turns a beautiful tint of orange as you approach the upstate. But Weekdays are tough for those fans that live outside of the immediate area. Some fans have a difficult time taking the days off of work that weekday games require.
Until recently, hotels were an issue. Clemson and the surrounding areas now have more hotels to accommodate fans but that was not always the case. Still most fans are against home games on weekdays at Clemson.
The television execs have pressured Clemson in the past and that pressure was usually met with resistance but that may be changing in the future.
I asked new Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich his thoughts on hosting Thursday night games. I asked the question before he took over the position full time but Radakovich said he would have to get in the job and look at the logistics of the campus and the fan base. He said it was too early for him to make his own personal opinion but it was something he would be interested in looking at.
Radakovich was at Georgia Tech when the Yellow Jackets hosted Thursday night games seemingly an annual basis but he said a game at Georgia Tech inside the perimeter of Atlanta in a 50,000 seat stadium was a different animal than a game at Clemson with an 80,000 seat venue.
Senior Associate Athletic Director Bill D'Andrea said on my radio show last year, before Terry Don Phillips' retirement, that the administration was a little more open minded on the idea of hosting Thursday night games than they were before. He said they were still opposed to the idea but were willing to be a little more open minded than in the past.
My interactions with Clemson fans leads me to believe that most are still very much against the idea of hosting Thursday night games. Many I talk to enjoyed beating FSU on Labor Day but still have a bad taste in their mouths from the Georgia Tech and NC State Thursday night games. My guess is that Labor Day is an easier sell than Thursdays and FSU and Georgia would be easier sells than most ACC schools. My other guess is that Clemson-Georgia will be played on Saturday instead of Monday.
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