Thursday, July 23, 2009

get the hell off my lawn

I belong to the first generation to really grab hold of the Internet and grow up with it, as well as one that thinks Motley Crue is classic rock (they basically are), but I still tend to be really crotchety about my college football. You've already seen me go all-out in my insistence that there should not be a playoff, and what's setting me off now is the emergence of the neutral-site game as a fixture in early-season scheduling.

Our rivals from up in the hills are embracing this neutral-site thing like few others. They have a game in Atlanta this year, and recently hooked up with Boise State to play at F***x Field for next year.** Army's got them beat, however - games at Yankee Stadium basically every year for the foreseeable future, including Notre Dame. And speaking of Notre Dame, they'll be taking on Washington State in - what the hell??? - San Antonio. San Antonio?

I mean, I get it, yeah? Money money money. The Alamodome is huge and the game would get way more exposure than in Pullman, Washington. The revenue for Notre Dame will be like an eighth home game. But still. Look. Let me make this clear for you kids who are running all over my lawn: College football should be played on college campuses, in college stadiums. OUTDOORS.

Some colleges, of course, fail to do these as a habit. Miami and Pitt borrow the nearby NFL stadium. UConn built their own stadium, but it's 25 miles away in Hartford. Syracuse commits the cardinal sin of having a dual-use basketball/football arena/stadium. It's a big reason I didn't apply to Syracuse. All of these are lousy, in my opinion, because they take away from the whole experience. And worst of all, the student body should not have to arrange caravans and drive across town or across the state or across the country to see what should ostensibly be a home game. Neutral-site games are the same thing. I'm glad UVA decided to schedule a home-and-home with USC; had we done it like Tech did with Alabama, the students are deprived the chance to see a marquee opponent in their backyard, and that ain't right.

Somebody somewhere, I totally forget where I read this otherwise I'd link, offered a list of neutral-site games and neutral-site opponents they wanted their team to play. I got such a list too, here's the neutral-site games I want to play: Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl. Sound good? Sounds good. About as good as getting to see Penn State, USC, South Carolina - all excellent games we have played/will play - right where they belong in Scott Stadium.

Three other items for your rumination:

One, congrats to the boys at TheLegacyx4, who are now the boys at From the Rumble Seat. Got their own URL and their own SB Nation blog. Golf clap and a round of whiskey, clear.

Two: Heather, Heather, Heather. She was doing pretty well as far as UVA went in her preseason unit rankings - at least, I found I couldn't put up an argument with them that didn't involve my orange and blue glasses - but the preseason predictions are just .... ugh. Prediction #3 is sound enough, but Heather - when you say Al Groh will not lose his job (prediction #1), you don't sound as if you mean to add "if he does well this season." Heather is now on record as basically the only person to write a word about UVA and suggest Groh will stay coach even with a lousy year, and that's quite a position to be in. Bully for her if she turns out right, but as she points out, this is a transition year and we lost a lot of talent - but you know, it's not like we did real well last year, either. Making a transition from bad to worse, which she clearly thinks we're set up for, does not typically save coaches' jobs. Prediction #2 suggests we don't have the playmakers to execute the new offense, which uh I don't know what that makes Vic Hall then.

Oh, and sixth-best secondary in the conference? No, no, no. The aforementioned glasses turn it into the best in the league, but it's still top three without them.

Three: remember to read and heed the programming notes in yesterdays post below. No content for the next few days and not much for the next week, but if you're not back and ready to roll with the rest of us on August 3 I'm afraid you'll be missing out.

**Tech gets a little bit of a pass for the Boise State neutral-site game. Can you imagine them going there, with those hideous colors, and playing a game on that violent blue field? It might not be so bad if you still have rabbit ears on your TV, but HD viewers would get a full blast of visual assault and battery and would risk total blindness.


Winfield Featherston said...

Thanks for the golf clap. And a hat tip to you good sir.

As for the neutral site argument...I don't know man. I like the idea, but then GT never seems to get invited to these so maybe that's why it would be fun.

Mike said...

I agree that a lot of these neutral site games don't make sense, but there is NOTHING more old-school in college football, save the triple option, than neutral site games. Before TV it was the only way most teams got to play on a big stage. I remember UNC played a lot of road games at neutral sites in the 40s. Choo Choo Justice wouldn't have lost the Heisman to SMU's Doak Walker if he was healthy enough to play UNC's November game against Notre Dame in NYC.

Perhaps in the era of TV, most of these games are no longer necessary. But part of the point of these types of games is to get people to watch or go to a game when they normally would not. It may seem kitschy to us die-hards, but more often than not it brings in a few new fans.