Jeff Gravley

UNC fans have no excuse on 'Zero Dark Thursday'

Posted October 16, 2013
Updated October 17, 2013

Turn on the lights!! North Carolina will host Miami Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. (ESPN).

The nighttime starting time snaps four straight weeks of noon or 12:30 p.m. starts for the Tar Heels. Two of those games have been on the road, and two have been at Kenan Stadium.

There has been a lot of chirping out of Chapel Hill about the distaste for playing games at noon or 12:30. Historically, these games have been poorly attended by Tar Heel fans. I vividly remember Nov. 22, 1997 when a 9-1 Tar Heel team jogged out of the tunnel on Senior Day to play Duke.

The look of amazement on Coach Mack Brown’s face said it all. He was stunned to see so many empty seats. Brown left after the season to take the job at Texas.

This past Saturday, Brown and the Longhorns beat Oklahoma in Dallas. The game started at 11 a.m. Central Time, but folks didn’t mind getting up early to be in the stands for that game.

This Saturday, there will be several top-25 teams playing at noon or before. South Carolina visits Tennessee at noon, Florida is at Missouri at 12:21 p.m., Georgia visits Vanderbilt at noon, Texas Tech and West Virginia is a nooner and TCU is at Oklahoma State in a game that will begin at 11 a.m. locally in Stillwater.

I will venture a guess that these games will be well attended. Fans show up to see a good product.

If you want a gauge of how your football team or program is perceived, take a gander at the TV listings on Saturday. The prime location is 7 or 8 p.m. on ESPN or ABC. ESPN also likes to put attractive ACC games on at noon.

After ESPN sifts through the schedule, the ACC Network gets to pick the game for 12:30 p.m. Then Fox Sports Regional takes over in the selection process. The rest of the games are left for computer-based ESPN3 or the dinosaur days of no TV at all.

If schools don’t like playing games at noon or 12:30, something can be done by your team. Play better, win more games and get ranked.

Right now, North Carolina, NC State and Duke aren’t appealing enough to play on TV Saturday night or in the ESPN 3:30 p.m. time slot. So that leaves them as prime targets for 3:30 p.m. regional or 12:30 p.m. ACC Network selections.

The Miami-North Carolina game was on the Thursday night schedule long before the Hurricanes were ranked 10th in the country and the Tar Heels were 1-4. 

Regardless of its record, Carolina gets to showcase the program on national TV in their home setting. It’s not a noon game, so there is no excuse for fans not to show up for “Zero Dark Thursday.”


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  • state13 Oct 18, 2013

    View quoted thread

    attendance reported at 56639
    yeah ouch

  • NCSU84 Oct 18, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I like that idea, giving free tickets after kickoff. Why not, the tickets won't be sold and might as well have bodies in the stands who might buy concessions?

  • Hosscat Oct 18, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Maybe that is why the smaller DUKE school continues to hold on to Cameron....Attendance not determined by a bunch of old prima-donna's......

  • carrboroyouth Oct 17, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I really wish they would offer free tickets a few minutes after the game starts. I know so many grads who can't afford to attend the game that would go (as well as other fans who would come).

    However, like most colleges, UNC wants the money. It infuriates me to see empty seats at basketball games too - the security guards will NOT let students/fans in the nosebleeds move down into empty Rams Club seats, even though they remain empty after halftime!

  • carrboroyouth Oct 17, 2013

    View quoted thread

    For me, it's UNC's fall break and many students choose to go home to visit family or take a trip somewhere (as I have). Not the best excuse, but I needed a break from school. I'm pleased to see many students attending though and I am so glad they did.

    Watching the Heels from afar, though! I wish we had more events like Zero Dark Thursday. Makes it fun and inclusive in my opinion.

  • WPIDHv.35 Oct 17, 2013

    View quoted thread

    It's certainly not easy being as revered as I am in these parts.

    My company = in demand



  • concernedincary Oct 17, 2013

    I enjoyed reading the posts until I read about Duke filling up Wallace Wade stadium. Excuse me, but Duke is a heck of a lot smaller and does not have a local fan base. There is no excuse in the world to see aluminum at UNC.

  • huxter72 Oct 17, 2013

    For the most part the posts I've read are true on why attendance is bad. The fact that UNC is sorry and the noon and 12:30 games ARE a problem, especially the early September games, MTSU, which I attended 90+ degrees combined with 90+ humidity, combined with the aforementioned parking issues, makes a wasteful Saturday to say the least. It's too expensive and time consuming and to aggravating for such a terrible display of football, if one can call it that.

  • Go Lee County Oct 17, 2013

    really ?????? state fans are jackazzzssss, and TruthB has made a showing after the cuse took care them women beaters, ped users, and bus driver beaters last sat.

  • Buck you Oct 17, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Well, it certainly wouldnt be the "first" one you`ve backed out of
    from what i read..... Lets see, you`ll tell him to email you at an
    address you "rarely" check lol, yep, thats wanting to meet alright.




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