Last season, Boston College played Wake Forest in a Week Two, Friday night special event. Having played the home opener the week before against Villanova, the Eagles entered #therivalry matchup looking and feeling like a different team. Despite this, the media and people hadn't quite taken notice, resulting in only a slight bump from the prior week's 30,000-fan number as 32,465 fans watched the BC beat up the Demon Deacons, 24-10.
There is some appeal to playing on Friday night. From a marketing standpoint, playing on a Friday night gives the national network an uncontested marquee game. While you won't find Florida State-Clemson on a Friday night, ESPN can agree to televise the game and give national exposure to a middle-tier game from a big time conference. It's one of those things where BC can gain more exposure by playing on Friday night uncontested by the NFL or by any other regional games than it can by playing Saturday afternoon. Somebody, somewhere will want to watch that Friday night football game simply because it's football and simply because they can recognize those two ACC brands.
That media exposure comes at a significant local cost. Anyone trying to navigate Boston traffic for a 7 PM college football game at a stadium located off Comm Ave. and the general Soldiers Field Road/Storrow Drive area can objectively state the following - it sucks. Anyone riding the T on a Friday night can can objectively state the following - it sucks. Traffic on a good day in Boston is brutal. Factoring in an early September weather night where people are bustling about makes this that much tougher. Any of us with work either have to take the day off or plan to leave early just to make it in for what will turn out to be a 4 PM tailgate time.
There are plenty of people who say, "Take the day." There are plenty of people who say, "It's not worth it." But there's enough of an impact to change the way we can look at the attendance. With a forecast of a hot, muggy, humid night, it'll be interesting to see if people simply decide to stay home. I've said through the week that Pitt falls at a weird time in the schedule. UMass unexpectedly turned into an event because of the marketing push from both schools behind it, and USC is on the horizon next week. I can see substantial amounts of people choosing to stay home simply because they feel meh about Pitt.
But it's the first game. It's the unveiling of a renovated Alumni Stadium with heavily marketed new initiatives. The video boards are going to be great, and there's the promise of a better show. What does that mean for attendance? Who knows. But either way we'll be sure to notice.