The Proliferation of Non-Saturday Games

Football used to be organized neatly into three days: Friday for high school, Saturday for college, and Sunday for the professionals. Sure, sometimes the pros played on Thursdays or on Saturdays after the college season was over, but they’re money-grubbing professionals. Maximizing profit is what they do.

Then, the past few seasons drove a huge semi truck of disorganization through the scheme as colleges figured out that by playing games on days other than Saturday, they could get more exposure. Drum up some more interest in the program, as it were. ESPN, being run by money-grubbing professionals, has been more than happy to accommodate the trend.

Of course Thursday night college football has been going on since at least 1997, but in the rush to saturate life with as much football as possible, we’ve been getting football on nearly every night of the week. This fall, it continues as we will have college football on every day of the week at some point.

I’ve been going through schedules and though I haven’t finished yet, I have found some Sunday games. Louisville and Kentucky play on the Sunday before Labor Day, which makes sense seeing as how that’s before the NFL begins. UCF appears undeterred by the pros though, as it has two Sunday games in a row: at Tulsa on October 26 and against East Carolina on November 2. As far as I can tell, Labor Day is the only Monday to have a college game.

Tuesday games are rare, and a bad idea in general, but that’s not deterring Houston from meeting Marshall on Tuesday, October 28. Wednesday games also are a bad idea, but Kansas State is still traveling to Louisville on Wednesday, September 17.

There are more Thursday contests than ever it seems, as schools demonstrate a lack of understanding of the law of diminishing returns, and there’s a smattering of Friday games as well. So much for letting the high schools have their day.

The astute observer will note that Louisville’s name came up twice. There is a good reason for that – the Cardinals play only 6 Saturday games all season. Half of their games are elsewhere in the week, with three Thursday games, and one each on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I suppose there must be some sort of bonus for this, more TV revenue perhaps, but if I was a Louisville fan I’d be upset. I mean, playing that many games on non-Saturdays is like begging for attention. Louisville has won a BCS game and just put a quarterback in the NFL. It shouldn’t feel the need to get so much extra attention. Plus, after what happened last year, Louisville might want to shore up the defense some before putting it on proud display.

If nothing else, the proliferation of weekday games shows that university presidents are just blowing smoke when they say that academics are part of why they oppose a playoff. We knew that already, but West Virginia sending its team all the way to Colorado for a Thursday game or Navy of all schools visiting Northern Illinois on a Tuesday proves once and for all what a sack of lies that excuse is.

Just ask Louisville.

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