Exporting Home Football Games? And The Big Finish

College football coming to an M&T Bank Stadium near you. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Brian: The Maryland football team recently made a big splash by announcing that the Terps will play West Virginia (2013) and Virginia Tech (2014) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Via umterps.com:

"The Terrapins will face interstate rival West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 and Atlantic Coast Conference foe Virginia Tech in 2014 at the 71,008-seat stadium. The date for the Virginia Tech game will be determined when the ACC releases its schedule in early 2014.

[snip]

"While Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium will always be our home, having the opportunity to take some games to venues around the state enables us to generate positive exposure for the entire university, to take Maryland football to new fans and recruits, and to enable our fan base and players to have a high-quality experience at another outstanding venue. This opportunity is part of our commitment to strengthening our home football schedules in future years."

Now while these games will likely be good for the Terps bottom line and exposure in Baltimore, I'm not sure Maryland will benefit much from a home-field advantage against those two programs. What's more concerning is that Maryland is exporting two of its marquee games in 2013 and 2014 to an NFL stadium, despite recently renovating Byrd Stadium to include 64 new luxury suites.

I'm all for scheduling tough -- apparently Edsall wants Penn State now, too -- but is moving two marquee home games to a nearby NFL stadium really a good idea for Maryland? How about for BC? Can you think of any opponents you'd rather see BC trade a home game away for playing in a larger, neutral site venue? Your thoughts?

Jeff: I like it. First of all, I think everyone north of Virginia should try to schedule Penn State. Second, I like playing neutral site games. In recent memory it hasn't worked too well for BC because the Eagles' one neutral site game was in Ohio against Kent State. As it turned out fewer Kent State fans turned out for that game in Cleveland than would have if it had been just a regular home game for them.

I think BC's next neutral site game -- against Army at Yankee Stadium -- will be a huge success and will prove that BC won't have to play Notre Dame in order to fill a neutral site venue. As much as I like neutral site games, two in one season might be pushing it. Navy always plays its home games against Notre Dame at a neutral site because the Midshipmen's stadium is rather small. Navy has also played Air Force at FedEx Field and always plays Army at a neutral site. Last season Maryland actually played Navy in Baltimore also. 

My brother is a Navy season ticket holder and their neutral site games are not something he looks forward to anymore since it has gotten to the point that any decent name opponent is played away from their home field. Maryland fans will be excited about scheduling these games this year but the excitement will wear off. If this is some sort of temporary idea until Maryland gets a new stadium, I think their fans will be happy. But if they have to travel to a neutral site two or three times a season we will quickly see the attendance at such games drop and Maryland will always be relying on West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State and whoever else they schedule to fill the seats, losing any home field advantage they might have had.

Brian: Sorry, Jeff, but I just can't get behind this idea. I get that these games will help fill the Maryland AD's coffers -- at $2 mil a pop ... indoor practice facilities don't pay for themselves -- but I don't like the idea of playing two marquee opponents in back-to-back years on a neutral field. Especially when one of those home games you are giving up is against the best ACC football program over the last half-decade. Now while games against Coastal Division teams don't have as big an impact on the Atlantic Division race, they do count towards the standings and playing an ACC game on a neutral site field negates a lot of the home field advantage you enjoy if the game was played in your home stadium. You have to think there will be as many Hokies fans in the stands as there will be Terp fans.

Plus, this sucks for season ticket holders. Maryland just renovated Byrd Stadium adding many new luxury boxes. If I'm a Maryland season ticket holder or a donor that helped fund the renovations, I gotta be asking what I'm paying for when West Virginia and Virginia Tech come off the home sched. 

I'm trying to come up with a BC equivalent of this move using the future schedule. The best I can come up with is if the Eagles move their 2014 home game against USC to Gillette and then followed that up with agreeing to move the 2015 home game against Florida State to Foxboro, too. Other than financially, it just doesn't make all that much sense. It sucks for season ticket holders and removes some of the home team's home-field advantage (especially important for a conference game).  I'm all for the one-off non-conference college football game at Yankee Stadium, Foxboro or the Meadowlands, but Maryland gave up too much with this deal. Besides, college football is meant to be played on campus; not in cavernous NFL stadiums and MLB ballparks.

 

Big Finish

Brian: Speaking of playing football games in NFL stadiums, DeFilippo has offered UMass two-for-one deals over a six-year period. You a fan of this offer?

Jeff: Not a huge fan because you know the years we play UMass on the road we'll schedule a I-AA opponent at home.

 

Jeff: It's great to be lumped with Stanford, Northwstern, and Penn State -- some of our favorite schools outside the ACC -- right?

Brian: My alma maters are two for two in the zero NCAA major infractions department. I must be good luck.

 

Brian: Donahue's right-hand man Joe Jones was named the next head coach of BU hoops. Will Donahue be able to weather the storm a little better than when Skinner lost two key assistants to local programs? 

Jeff: I sure hope so.

 

Jeff: According to HD, separation is occurring in the Atlantic Division. I can't disagree with what she's saying in principle, but I know it pisses you off to read it so just tell me how much it does so.

Brian: Apples and oranges. Don't pay any attention to this.

 

Brian: Kentucky coach John Calipari wants 64 or 72 schools to secede from the NCAA and form four 16- or 18- super conferences. You down with this plan?

Jeff: No, but thanks for the thought, John.

 

Jeff: Reggie Jackson drafted with the 24th overall pick in last night's NBA Draft. How about that? There was certainly a time we debated whether RJ would be drafted at all.

Brian: I'm happy for Reggie and hope he catches on in OKC. Will be nice to see an Eagle play for a winning franchise.

 

Brian: Last one. John Swofford made $1.1 million in 2009. Is the ACC getting what it pays for? 

Jeff: Yes, the ACC got a big TV deal.

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