Friday, May 03, 2013

The Dark Night (Game) Rises

It was announced earlier this week that the Purdue-ND game -- Coach Hazell's second home game and first against a FBS program -- will be an 8 PM start on September 14. I have to be honest -- I love this. Much like Danny Hope had some early night games to make a strong first impression (and despite how things ended for Danny, the close calls vs ND and Oregon early in the 2009 season had a lot of us juiced), this is a terrific opportunity to inject life into the Purdue football program quickly. Joe Tiller took advantage of Notre Dame in this way; so can Darrell Hazell. (And really, given their history, wouldn't like to take advantage of ND football players? Usually, it's the other way around.)

According to Purdue sports information, this is the 36th night game Purdue has played since 1935 and only the 8th home game under the lights. That feels like such a low number, but maybe that's because we all remember the night games so clearly so it feels like there have been more of them.

It's indeed been a dark time for Purdue with regard to night games. In fact, Purdue has only played four games under the lights at Ross-Ade since 1996, with three of those against Notre Dame. The Boilers are 0-4 in those games and 1-6 overall. Maybe this is the real reason Morgan Burke is against permanent lights: he's worried the Boilers may never win again. The only win in a home night game for the Boilermakers was a game I've sat back in my rocking chair and regaled you about before. It was a crisp, clear night on September 10, 1994 and a young and handsome J attending his first Purdue football game. This game was so long ago, Tim still liked sports! Boilerdowd still had hair! I'm talking a long time ago! (Try the veal!)

But seriously, 1-6 at home all time under the lights? That's a trend that needs to be changed. The Boilers are 16-18 all-time in games starting at 6 PM or later, including bowl games, which I think are a little bit of outliers in this. In bowl games at night, the Boilers are 5-1, leaving them (for you math majors) at 11-17 in all regular season night games.

We'll obviously talk more and more about the 2013 season and what it can mean and what will constitute "success," but this game if nothing else provides a tremendous opportunity for Coach Hazell and the new brand of Purdue football to make a splash on national television.

Choo choo!


Ben C said...

This is terrible! How am I supposed to get home in time to watch Matlock and take my Metamucil?

BoilerPaulie said...

Knowing our record in bowl games at night, I hope we never have a daytime bowl game again.

conk said...

Wisconsin 2004....two words that immediately result in my crew bowing our heads for a moment of silence followed by a toast of collective anguish.

WinamacBoiler said...

Does the IU game to clinch the B1G not count? I remember it was dark at the end, but don't remember what time it started.

Yeeaahhhhh - it was a long day......

zlionsfan said...

Sample size, ladies and gentlemen. Let's not jump to conclusions unless we have a mat. After all, Purdue won the first night game they ever played - in 1935 (!!) at Northwestern (???).

I might actually have been to the first night game in Ross-Ade history: 1986, vs. Ohio State. That game was typical for night games: they're either going to be high-profile opponents (because why else would TV want the game, especially in older days?) or openers (to get more attention). If it's the former, then Purdue is much more likely to lose ... so it's not a surprise to see a losing record in home games.

Purdue's lone win was the 1994 opener against Toledo: since then, they've lost to West Virginia (1996), Notre Dame (2005, 2009, 2011), and Ohio State (2007). The Mountaineers were ranked as high as #12 in 1996 (at 7-0, before losing at home to Miami and Syracuse), Ohio State was its usual self in 2007, and only the 2009 edition of the Irish was truly a peer of Purdue.

The key to winning night games? Build a better program. Hopefully Hazell is on his way to doing exactly that.

I have heard, in the context of night games at other schools, resistance to permanent lights (meaning regular night games) because of the possibility of students drinking all day and going to the night game. (Alumni, naturally, are "never" a problem ... although it should only take one NFL night game to demonstrate that alcohol, not age, is at fault.) Burke's backup response is probably the cost of the lights: if there are restrictions on how often you can play night games, which is entirely possible given how TV rights work, then it might not make as much sense to put money into something you'd use twice a year at most. (Who wants to go to a night game in West Lafayette in November? No, you don't.)

Steve Evans said...

Maybe the reason that the Boilers Bowl night game record is so good is that a GOOD team makes it to a bowl. I can remember going to a Sunday basketball game when it was a rarity. Now it is quite common.

The iu and Wisky game started at 3:30 or 4:00 pm. The record of 1-6 is just for games started after 6:00 PM. In September, I think night games are great. November, not so great. However Bowl games started at night are wonderful and that is the goal of this team.

J Money said...

I disagree about not wanting night games in November. If the team is fun to watch (or dare I say it, good) then you bundle up and love it. Still a fun atmosphere. and all day tailgating is never a bad thing. It's very hard for us to make all our appearances when games start at noon, after all.

Purdue Matt said...

"And really, given their history, wouldn't like to take advantage of ND football players? Usually, it's the other way around."


WinamacBoiler said...

So for that IU game I started drinking at 7a for a 4p game. shift it to 7p and I could've gotten a few more hours of sleep before starting at 10a.

I would dare say the kids are actually drunker at an 11:30am game then they would be at a night game, especially in warm weather.

zlionsfan said...

The thing is that the alcohol position is actually a red herring. Yeah, there are drunk kids at 8:00 games ... but as you imply, few people can drink for 12 hours straight and manage to go anywhere. The ones who are drunk probably started a few hours before gametime, or else they just paced themselves, just like at every other game.

If those ADs actually wanted to control the crowds, they would. They would hire security to actually screen out drunk people with tickets. (I haven't been to a game in years, but I would imagine it hasn't changed much - they'd stop you if you're falling down drunk, but other than that, no.) They'd hire security to police the sections closely ... all sections, not just the student section.

But that costs money, and they don't want to spend it. They want to assign blame as though they had no control over the situation. So they do. (Same thing at NFL games, but worse, because they sell alcohol there. If the NFL were serious, they'd strictly control or even ban alcohol sales along with the things I mentioned above ... but that would cost them money, so they don't.)

Hmm. If kickoff is at 8 PM, when does Breakfast Club start?

WinamacBoiler said...

z - to my point, it would be more of a brunch gathering. It would have made the ever popular "do harry's til 3:30, XXX til 5, have some drinks on the porch of my house on Chauncey, do breakfast club, then pass out before the game ever started" routine considerably more difficult!

Wow - I'm cashed at 10p now. What the hell happened?

U-P Boiler said...

The Indiana game to clinch The Rose Bowl birth was the coldest home game I remember...and because of the win, I didn't feel a thing.