Written By: Steve Macy, NM State Associate Athletic Director
As I was thinking about what I wanted to write today, I considered a great April Fool’s Day joke blog. But, then I remembered….. I’m not that funny, except to my four and seven-year olds, who think I am hilarious. So, instead of going down the path of writing about a Sidd Finch, let’s just chat about the football schedule.
The schedule arrived on my Blackberry mid-way through football practice yesterday and while I had a sense of some of the particulars, until it hit my appendage, I was not certain what it would look like. I liked what I saw, and also knew that it presented some challenges.
Here are the highlights as I see them:
• Start with three-straight home games to start the Walker Era
• End with three of four games on the road against the upper half of the WAC
• A Halloween date at The Horseshoe
• Two-straight home games to start the WAC season, albeit over a month apart
• A Bye Week right when we need it….. after Ohio State and before Hawaii
• Last home game is the week before Thanksgiving week
As the schedule was being developed (see previous blog about how this works), we were faced with either starting the season with a WAC game, or playing 13-straight weeks. The bye week was better for us and it comes at a perfect time in the schedule.
From an attendance standpoint, the first home game being a WAC game presents a couple of issues for us. Our historical attendance pattern has been that we tend to have strong crowds for the first home game of the season, despite the quality of the opponent, but that IAA (sorry…. Football Championship Subdivision) opponents later in the season hit the walk-up attendance numbers. So, by having the Prairie View game as the second game instead of the first, I am a bit concerned about the level of interest in the community for that game.
We also play at home against Idaho on the holiday weekend, which we have done each of the past two seasons. But, instead of trying to play on a Thursday to avoid the holiday travel of our fans, we are going to play on Saturday. I am not convinced that a Thursday night, and a school night, is best for our fans. So, we are going to stick to Saturday.
We are also going to play all home games at 6PM. In the past, we have shifted to afternoon games late in the season. I want fans to have the opportunity to tailgate during the day and get used to a set game time during the season. Of course, ESPN can always change a game time if they elect to take one of our home games, but on the game times we control, we will play at 6PM.
Overall, I am VERY happy with the schedule. We have a great opportunity in front of us to start the season off great and generate some local buzz for the team. Go ahead; post your thoughts below…. I like hearing what you are thinking.
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