Monday, July 6, 2015

Speculating in the Dark of Night (Games)

So if Columbia is going to play a night game on a Friday this coming season because of the structure of the expected NBC Sports Network deal, which game or games are most likely to get that spotlight slot?

Here's a breakdown of our schedule game by game

Week 1: at Fordham

This wouldn't be a bad choice for NBC since Fordham is becoming more of a national FCS power, but this is Fordham's Homecoming and I doubt the Rams will be able or willing to change the schedule of all their corresponding events from Saturday afternoon to Friday night.

Week 2: Georgetown

I can't imagine this game will be much of a draw for a national audience, but the real giveaway is that Georgetown's game the following week at Harvard is definitely scheduled for a Friday night. No way NBCSN is going to want to feature Georgetown two weeks in a row,

Week 3: Princeton

This would be one of my favorite personal choices for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that early season games at Princeton during the day can be scorching hot. The Tigers have a night home game the week before against Davidson, but Princeton is used to playing multiple night home games early in the season.

Week 4: Wagner

Wagner is actually a strong team with D-I transfers and lots of other weapons. But this is not the game NBCSN is going to want to feature.

Week 5: Penn

Now this is the game I'm sure NBC would LOVE to have as we have the much-awaited first meeting between new Lions Head Coach Al Bagnoli and his old Penn Quakers. The problem is this is Columbia's Homecoming game and I just don't think things can be moved to a Friday night to accommodate.

Week 6: at Dartmouth

It's an intriguing game for many reasons, but I'm not sure fans would appreciate a night game in Hanover in late October. Plus, I think there's a good chance the Dartmouth-Harvard game the following week at Harvard could be the featured game for NBCSN and I'm not sure it will want to put Dartmouth on two weeks in a row.

Week 7: at Yale

There are some reports that Yale is ready to bring in portable lights for the Bowl this season, so this is at least a possibility. But again, we have an overexposure issue. Yale is going to have its game at Penn the week before this game broadcast on NBCSN's Friday night schedule.

Week 8: Harvard

November 6th could be a chilly date for a night game in NYC, but the odds are it won't be too bad. And Harvard is the only team NBCSN probably does want to overexpose. So this could be the winner in the sweepstakes.

Week 9: at Cornell  

A night game on November 13th in Ithaca is an entirely different story. I would say this game has no chance of being moved to a Friday night slot.

Week 10: Brown

With NBCSN all locked in on the Harvard-Yale game Saturday, there's is officially no chance this game gets on the network,

So the bottom line is that it looks like the Princeton and Harvard games have the best chances of getting the Friday night treatment. Of course, that does not mean Columbia won't get another game broadcast on NBCSN on the regular Saturday afternoon slot. If we're talking afternoon games, then I think the Columbia-Penn game is not only the most likely NBCSN broadcast for the Lions, but also the most potentially lucrative for the network.

As for the argument that these night games on Friday disrupt tradition... well, I think one game out of 10 per year is not a threat to anything.

And we also need a preemptive strike against anyone in the neighborhood who will launch some kind of bogus protest about a 7pm kickoff. Granted, Columbia can make sure the recorded music and canned noise is kept to a minimum, but with the game likely to be over before 10pm, I just don't see this as a real issue. Plus, Inwood is becoming a home to more and more neighborhood restaurants and bars that will be open long after the game is over.


3d5786cc-878d-11e3-b68e-000f20980440 said...

Watch it, Jake. Your attitude needs some correcting when it comes to how you approach neighborhood relations.

oldlion said...

Jake, for the life of me I cannot understand why you think a night game would be good thing for us. We have beautiful daytime venue. Why give that up for a night game. Columbia football is meant for Saturday afternoons.

alswingman said...

No Columbia football game would be worthwhile for a national audience this season unless the program had an immediate renaissance and the transformation was a story. The football was so bad last year it would be a catastrophe to put on stage if there was any semblance of that remaining.

Let the program find its legs before reaching for something entirely premature and unnecessary.

DOC said...

Gee one night game a year wont kill the program.
Might get better attendance from those late-rising
students from the College !