When Virginia Tech and Clemson finally kicked off their primetime showdown in Week 5, it was 8:21 p.m. ET — the latest a game had ever started in Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium.
Tuesday, Virginian-Pilot sports columnist Harry Minium took issue with the late opening kick.
He isn’t the only one to criticize the abundance of late games this season.
Minium’s column comes a day after Washington head coach Christ Petersen ripped the Pac 12 conference for the fact that his team hadn’t had a single game begin before 5 p.m. PT — or 8 p.m. ET — all season.
“I just want to say something to our fans: we apologize for these late games,” Petersen said Monday, according to the Associated Press . “And I’d also like to reiterate it has nothing to do with us or the administration. We want to play at 1 p.m. It hurts us tremendously in terms of national exposure. No one wants to watch our game on the East Coast that late, and we all know it.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney also pointed out that his team has played more than its fair share of night games this season, having played three in the first five weeks with a fourth, at Syracuse on Oct. 13, already scheduled.
“(ACC) Commissioner Swofford may one day give us a road game in the afternoon,” Swinney said in his postgame press conference. “If you’re listening . . . but he’s probably asleep by now.”
Minium’s issue with the late start is that it is unhealthy for both the players and fans. Clemson’s team likely didn’t arrive back in South Carolina until well past 1 a.m. Meanwhile, Minium wrote, “Traffic was bumper to bumper on Route 460 from Blacksburg to Christiansburg and Interstate 81 past 1:30 a.m.”
Minium correctly pointed out that night games are not going anywhere — they’re too profitable for TV networks to do away with entirely. However, he suggested games not start past 6 p.m. local time, and certainly no later than 7.
“The safety and well-being of players and fans should take precedence over ratings,” Minium said.
The post Virginia Tech-Clemson the latest game to draw criticism for late kickoff appeared first on Diehards.
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