Monday, December 7, 2009

JSU goes head-to-head with Tide's national title game

Now that the football bowl schedule is set and Alabama is playing Texas for the national championship, more than a few local fans have wondered how the Tide playing in the Big Game will impact the crowd at Jacksonville State’s first home date of the new year.

The BCS National Championship Game is Jan. 7, the same night JSU plays Eastern Kentucky in a conference doubleheader.

While the rest of the world won’t stop, in this state at least the goings-on in Los Angeles that night are sure to draw more eyes (and bodies) than anything going on in Pete Mathews Coliseum. There may be more people in line at one of the concession stands at the Rose Bowl that night than there are in attendance at the JSU-EKU games.

The Gamecocks have played on the night of the national championship game before, but never when the game involved Alabama.

The Gamecocks played their conference-opener doubleheader Saturday at the same time Alabama and Florida were playing in SEC Championship Game. A quick head count recorded less than 100 on hand for the women’s game. There was slightly more for the men’s game, although the official box score listed the attendance at more than 500.

JSU athletic director Oval Jaynes said Saturday he hasn’t made any decision about moving the game to help the gate, and the way he talked, it sounded unlikely he would.

"The issue is more than going head to head with this game," he said. "There are other teams involved.

"You certainly don’t want to play Friday and Saturday back-to-back; I don’t think that’s fair. They’re on the road. That’s another day of missed classes."

The Gamecocks, who are on the road the Saturday and Monday (at Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri, are one of two Division I programs in the state with home basketball games that night – South Alabama entertains Western Kentucky (Troy is at Florida Atlantic).

It’s uncertain if USA has any plans to alter its game, but the bottom line at JSU seems to be this:

"I can’t run my program based on what Alabama does," Jaynes said. "It’s not fair to our kids."

No comments: