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Post You’d think there had never been a night game before

Tuesday September 26, 2006
Katrina Damage
North Campus or Gulf Coast?

The Red & Black has a lighthearted editorial today about yesterday’s news of a 7:45 p.m. kickoff for the Tennessee game. They introduce a theme we’ll start hearing a lot as soon as the Ole Miss game is digested:

The combination of an SEC rivalry and a late start time will serve as a true test for the new gameday regulations and intramural field parking situation.

While we hope things will run as smoothly for University police as they have for the past three games, history has shown that evening games are more debauched. While the administration should prepare for the worst, fans should accept personal responsibility for their actions and those of their fellow tailgaters.

That’s pretty mild for what I think we can expect next week. This "prepare for the worst" stuff will stop just short of some columnist calling for FEMA to stand ready for – get this – a "night football game". Yes, night football games have been a part of the Sanford Stadium experience since 1940, but now the whole process will be put under intense scrutiny.

This reminds me of the current hysteria over drinking on campus. It wasn’t too long ago that they drove beer trucks right up on the lawn, but now all of a sudden it’s a major crisis. It also wasn’t too long ago when fans would begin arriving on Thursday or even earlier for big football games (ask around about the 1976 Alabama game), but now we’ve got a powder keg brewing over a few extra hours of tailgating.

If anything, this is much more about the University than it is the fans. Football fans haven’t changed much. There might be more of them, but that’s about it. They’re fairly predictable. We know what a night game is like and what the tailgating scene is likely to be. It’s not as if we haven’t had a few of these before. The University has time to plan for trash and can even encourage local law enforcement enforce littering laws as diligently as they do open container laws.

Let the needless hype begin. Fear the night game!!!

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