Jan 29, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Whit Babcock speaks during a press conference to introduce new Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies are off to a 3-2 start this season but have had kickoffs at either 12:00 or 12:30 for the past three games, all of which were at home. That streak will continue to four this week with a 12:30 kickoff at North Carolina and while this doesn’t impact the Hokies in terms of selling tickets, it is annoying to once again have an early kickoff.
Most Virginia Tech fans have been annoyed with the high volume of early kickoffs this season though the only home game left this season that could still possibly have an early kickoff is against Boston College. However, Virginia Tech fans are not the only people annoyed by the early kickoffs.
Whit Babcock said this on Tech Talk Live and he is also frustrated at the fact that the Hokies have had so many early kickoffs. Babcock realizes that this really isn’t an issue that can be solved due to how Virginia Tech is at the mercy at the scheduling of ESPN.
Also, the ESPN seems to put SEC games in primetime a lot of the time and noon kickoffs aren’t realistic in Big 12 or Pac-12 country. This limits the options to mainy be focused on ACC and Big 10 games in the noon spots with the occasional SEC game including this week’s showdown between Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
However, Virginia Tech has been one of a few schools that have had a lot of noon kickoffs this season and Babcock hopes to limit that number in the future.
This seems to be something that would make a lot of sense especially since it might help schools sell more season tickets if fans knew that there would be some Saturday games that didn’t have early kickoffs.
However, what doesn’t make sense to me is how the ACC Network has had 12:30 kickoffs. Yes, the 12:30 kickoffs does help set up a 3:30 and 8:00 kickoff schedule. However, the ACC should get that early kickoff pushed back to 1:30 with the other two kickoffs staying the same. On top of that, the ACC Network could join the mid-afternoon game in progress.
Starting games in the early spot only an hour later can have a big impact as fans coming down to tailgate could do a more normal tailgate. Meanwhile, fans might also not have to get up as early on a Saturday to get to a game.
The Hokies’ fans should not have to deal with as many early kickoffs as they’ve dealt with and Whit Babcock agrees.