June 28, 2006
In the past week I have received some questions about the 1:00 kickoff time for the Florida Atlantic game. Let me assure you that a variety of factors went into this decision. Fans, weather, coaches, and players were all considered, and after some discussion, 1:00 on September 2nd was determined to be the best time to start the 2006 football season.
From 1957 to 1991, the Clemson Football team played no home night games. During this time period, the traditional kickoff time for home games was 1:00, resulting in the distinguishable tilt of the Tiger Paw in a 1 o’clock direction. One of the reasons for this kickoff time was the preference of the fans. A high percentage of fans must drive over four hours in a day to see the Tigers play. As a result, they are required to purchase a minimum two-night stay in a hotel room when they come to night games at Clemson. With three road games already scheduled for nighttime kickoffs and the attractiveness of Clemson Football to television, I would assume that we will be playing some televised night games and our traveling fans will face a greater economic impact because of those games. The decision to kickoff at 1:00 was definitely influenced by the traditional preferences of fans and the likely economic impact that traveling fans will have to face later in the season.
Despite a predicted cooler than normal September by the Farmer’s Almanac, chances are that the weather on September 2nd will be warm. Water-cooled oscillating fans and water fountains are available throughout the concourse area of Memorial Stadium, along with many concession stands. Nevertheless, fans must yield to their own discretion when deciding to come to the game, but, we anticipate a tremendous crowd to kick off 2006. As for our team, they will have trained all summer in much warmer conditions than will be present on game day, and the depth of our roster should be to our advantage. Coach Bowden and his staff will also be looking to get the team acclimated to the heat in a game day setting before traveling to Boston College for a 3:30 game on September 9th.
Finally, the coaches and the players favor earlier kickoff times. Sitting around all day in a hotel room is draining. They will have prepared all summer and preseason for Florida Atlantic and will be ready to play the game as soon as they get up on Saturday. They will also be ready to spend time with family and friends following the game, before the coaches start preparing for Boston College on Sunday after church.
Certainly there are advantages to alternative game times, but the 1:00 start time for the Florida Atlantic game seems to be the best choice with the most advantages. Hopefully, you will be in the Valley, wearing orange, drinking plenty of water, and cheering really loud as the Tigers begin the 2006 season.
In Solid Orange,Terry Don Phillips
P.S. Again, as a point of emphasis, the water-cooled fans we have installed in the North and South concourses were solely for our fans to have relief when games are played in the afternoon. And, under the “for whatever it’s worth category”, I’ll be observing the game from the field myself. Go Tigers!
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