Students may not be able to attend the game because of a night class. It’s tougher for fans with full-time jobs to get out to the stadium. Players miss class as well.Never mind that the student college experience suffers, and the alumni aren't able to connect with friends or mix business with pleasure, and local businesses don't get as much pre-game dinner and post-game imbibing trade. It's all about the television exposure.
However, like it or not, that’s life in the Mid-American Conference.
And I know it’s unpopular among Northern Illinois fans, but I’ll come out and say it – midweek games are ultimately a positive for NIU and the rest of the MAC.
When the game is over, there’s a good chance NIU actually gets some play on SportsCenter, when the Huskies have to compete with pointless NBA games rather than the rest of college football.Never mind that by any objective market test, the weeknight games fail. The weather forecast is for a taste of winter. Expect to see a lot of empty seats as the cameras pan around the stadium.
Playing during the week isn’t perfect, and the 8 p.m. start time Wednesday is pretty unfortunate. A normal 7 p.m. slot would help. However, such is life in the MAC, something Huskies head coach Dave Doeren certainly understands.
“In our conference it’s just something you have to do, and it’s part of our television package. At the end of the day, it’s what’s best for the university and the program to be on national television as much as possible,” Doeren said during Monday’s MAC coaches teleconference. “So, there’s certain things that you can’t really get bent out of shape about because nobody’s going to listen, and all it does is help you anyway. So we’re excited to be on ESPN Wednesday night.”
There is also a public forum on Passenger Rail to the Quad Cities nearby. It's my plan to attend that, and raise the possibility of Free Rein to 110 on another Illinois line.