Alabama AD voices concern about abundance of daytime kickoffs in September
The latest TV schedules for upcoming games on the SEC schedule were recently confirmed by the conference and their television partners. Among the games locked in for a noon kickoff in Week 4 is Alabama’s home game against Southern Miss, and apparently Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne is not particularly pleased about it.
In a statement released by Byrne and Alabama on Monday, the AD of the Crimson Tide says the program is disappointed in having another daytime kickoff time added to the schedule. The game against Southern Miss will be the fourth straight afternoon game for Alabama in the first four games of the season, although this will be the first noon kickoff while the others have been mid-afternoon starts.
“We are disappointed that our game against Southern Miss has been selected as a daytime kickoff at home,” Byrne said in his statement. “We realize we’ve played more non-conference day games at home in September than any other SEC team since 2014.”
While Alabama has played a good handful of day games against non-conference opponents, the Crimson Tide have played just five games at noon (Worth noting Byrne didn’t single out noon games and could be including mid-afternoon start times in his rationale, but we’ll focus on noon kickoffs as they tend to get the worst brunt of the weather during the day in September).
- In 2018, Alabama played two noon games against non-conference opponents (Louisiana and The Citadel), one at 3:30 p.m. ET (Arkansas State) and one in primetime on a neutral field (Louisville in Orlando, FL).
- In 2017, Alabama played Florida State at primetime in Atlanta and then played Fresno State at 3:30 p.m. and Colorado State at 7:00 p.m. A later game against Mercer was played at noon.
- In 2016, Alabama played USC in primetime in Arlington, Texas, Western Kentucky at 3:30 p.m. ET, Kent State at noon, and Chattanooga at 7:00 p.m.
- In 2015, Alabama played Wisconsin in primetime in Arlington, Texas, Middle Tennessee at 4:00 p.m., ULM at 4:00 p.m., and Charleston Southern at 4:00 p.m.
- In 2014, Alabama played West Virginia in Atlanta at 4:00 p.m., FAU at noon, Southern Miss at 6:00 p.m. and Western Carolina at 4:00 p.m.
Byrne’s concern was largely focused on playing day games in September, which of course can raise some concerns for fans attending games with the weather. But even if you include just September games, Alabama has played just four games at noon since 2014 in the month of September. They have also played 6 games in primetime in September in that same span. Regardless of the logic behind the concern, Byrne says the concern has been shared with the SEC.
“There have been a number of conversations with our conference office, and they also recognize the challenges these kick times present for our student-athletes and fans.”
The problem with college football scheduling is TV partners are trying to cram in games wherever they can, and there are only so many time slots to fill for 130 FBS teams. Teams in the east will have to take some noon kickoffs at some point in time, and if you aren’t playing an opponent that is worthy of a game that should get a better time slot, that’s just something you have to deal with. And at Alabama, the fans will show up anyway.