GSU 2011 schedule notes

Greetings-

I spoke with Cheryl Levick Tuesday about the 2010 schedule, which you’ve undoubtedly read about, here or elsewhere. She offered a sprinkling of tidbits about this schedule and beyond, which I’ll share here, because, really, who doesn’t love a sprinkling of tidbits?

1. Levick said she, with the help of associate AD Kosha Irby, spoke with “a lot of schools” about the opening Thursday night game, a spot that ultimately went to Clark Atlanta. Once they found out that Clark was interested, she said, that became the top priority.

I don’t know that I’d call it obvious, because it didn’t occur to me until I heard about it, but I think it’s a smart addition. For GSU alumni, it’s, at the least, a recognizable name and perhaps a school that they have some connection to, even if it’s merely knowing people who went or go to school there.

There are plenty of Clark alumni in metro Atlanta and I imagine even alumni outside of the area who would want to see their team in the Georgia Dome against an FCS team and especially one that that they know well.

For the average fan who last year might have passed on last year’s opener for the reason of “I’ve never heard of Shorter,” at least this has some recognition.

2. Levick didn’t know that Georgia Tech was planning its opener for the same night until Western Carolina announced it Tuesday. She spun it as a positive, saying, “Let’s have it be college night in the city of Atlanta,” but this isn’t the ideal. It takes away potential ticket buyers, media space and, at the very least, will make traffic worse for fans trying to get to the dome. That said, how the two games draw could be noteworthy. (If you’ll remember, one juicy detail of last year’s opener was that it out-drew the Braves game the same night.)

I’d think GSU-Clark Atlanta can do better than GSU-Shorter, which was just over 30,000, and apparently could have been higher if not for a lot of fans giving up on understaffed ticket window lines.

Tech is coming off a disappointing season and Western Carolina, while it’s the opener, isn’t going to make the turnstiles overheat. For what it’s worth, when Tech played Jacksonville State in a Thursday night opener in 2008 – which had the added attraction of being Paul Johnson’s first game – it drew 45,706.

I’m not saying GSU is going to outdraw Tech – I’ll say it’d be a much bigger upset than Clark Atlanta beating GSU – but I will say it could be closer than you’d think would be the attendance gap between a second-year FCS team and a tradition-bound FBS team.

3. I’ll add this. I think attendance that game will be one barometer on where things are headed. While I think the game will draw at least in the neighborhood of last year’s opener, if not better, I suppose there’s the possibility that last year’s 30K was an aberration, evidence of Atlantans’ seeming excitement for big events.

Attendance dipped considerably after that. It’s possible that the people who came last year because of the novelty of the inagural game won’t be nearly as interested this year. I don’t think that will be the case, but I do think that the average sports fan in Atlanta, for a number of reasons, can be a bit of a tough sell.

If the number is down notably from the Shorter game, it won’t mean the sky is falling, but I also don’t think you’ll see Mark Becker firing his six-shooters in the air, shouting “Yee-haw!”

4. Levick looked at more Thursday night games over the course of the season, which is something I heard a lot of you campaigning for, but “it just didn’t work,” she said. The one reason she gave – presumably there were others – was missed class time.

5. Among the priorities in building the schedule – Thursday night opener, an FBS FCS game, six home games, a bye earlier in the season than last season, balance between home and road games. Last year, you’ll remember, six of the Panthers’ seven home games were played in two three-week stretches, and it was thought that having so many home games in consecutive weeks hampered attendance. If that was indeed a factor, it won’t be this year. The schedule opens with two consecutive home games – Clark Atlanta and Old Dominion – and then alternates road-home the rest of the way.

Said Levick, “I like the schedule.”

There’s more I’ll get to next week. Thanks for reading.

Please follow me on Twitter!

Ken Sugiura, Georgia State beat

24 comments Add your comment

GSU Mens BB fan

February 11th, 2011
8:55 am

English

February 11th, 2011
9:05 am

Thanks for the update Ken. They’re always welcome so keep them coming.

Jee S. You

February 11th, 2011
9:09 am

Thanks for the tidbits. (In point five, I’m guessing the priority is “an FBS game”….”an FCS game” in kind of a given.)

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
9:14 am

Good work Ken!

I think the biggest loser of the Thursday, Sept. 1st night is the Atlanta Braves. They were indeed outdrawn by us last year and they play a home game vs. the Washington Nationals that night at Turner Field.

[...] AJC.com – GSU 2011 Schedule Notes [...]

Ryan

February 11th, 2011
9:35 am

Ken, thanks for the tidbits. Good information.

Count me as one that was hoping for at least one more Thursday night game. Oh well, maybe they will give us a night game on Saturday to make up for it.

Speaking of which, any mention of game times? Do they plan to stick to the 1PM starts each week?

Coach Finstock

February 11th, 2011
9:39 am

Just need to shoot for another winning record, anything more is cream cheese.

PantherCJ

February 11th, 2011
9:40 am

Thanks for the update Ken. There is so much to look forward to this season! I hope Atlanta will come out and support the Panthers in the Concrete Jungle!

GSUAlumBaseball81

February 11th, 2011
9:52 am

Old Dominion, South Alabama and Jacksonville State need a good whipping by the Panthers in 2011! Revenge time!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

GSU/SWAC Fan

February 11th, 2011
9:53 am

I would love to see GA State play two of the best traveling teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference ( Jackson State University of Jackson, MS or Southern University of Baton Rouge), both of these teams travel with 25,000 to 30,000 fans for road games.For a chance to play in the Georgia Dome, they may bring more. Both teams are competitive, both teams have large alumni that live in the Atlanta area, both teams are FCS members. This would create two very exciting game day Saturdays and Georgia State could make some money from ticket sales and concessions.The halftimes would be extremely exciting with two of the most entertaining marching bands in the country. trust me when I say these two games on your schedule could create some football buzz and help with football recruiting.

Ken Sugiura

February 11th, 2011
10:16 am

Jee (i just got the joke, by the way. pretty funny) – i thought i caught all of them. can’t we just go back to I-A and I-AA?
Ryan – i forgot to ask that about night games. good question. i’ll see if i can find an answer.
Ben – that is indeed bad news for the Braves. you could argue it’s not great news for tech and gsu, also.
SWAC fan – good suggestion.

GSUtimes2

February 11th, 2011
10:52 am

GSU/SWAC Fan could be on to something. However, with moving into our FCS conference play next year, it’s just like with VSU…with a limited number of available games, you have to be selective with who you play. I’d rather see us continue to test ourselves against lower level FBS teams like Duke, NC, or Vandy in the coming years. (if they have openings…) I think playing an FBS team away trumps packing out the dome.

panther prowler

February 11th, 2011
1:51 pm

Cheryl, please move the gametimes to 5 or later. Especially when Tech and Ga play at 12 or 1. The tailgating will be better as we can watch Tech and Ga in the parking lot and then enjoy the State game!!!

GStateBen

February 11th, 2011
3:11 pm

@Prowler Here’s the issue. UGA and GT game times on Saturdays are dictated by their respective conferences based on strength of the matchup. If both teams struggle (which I believe both teams don’t finish better than 7-5 in 2011) then they will be optioned to within 10 days of the actual game.

I’ve heard that we are going to vary game times, which I believe is a great thing. As far as the SWAC connections, it may be a financial impact but I cannot see us too many local FCS school when CAA play begins.

One FBS and 1 road FCS, 2 FCS home opponents per year seems to be way many in the CAA schedule. I’d imagine we’d follow suit.

zgoldatl

February 11th, 2011
4:32 pm

I was there for every home game last year, and one road game (Alabama). Can’t wait for the season. Good home schedule, and some very manageable away games for our fans. I will be going to West Alabama, Jacksonville St., and South Carolina St. The number one thing I wish we could do different is not schedule games while Tech and Uga(y) are playing. Secondly, I would love to have a couple Thursday nighters a year, or even a Friday nighter. Third, I for one would like to play an in-state team or two. A West Ga, Valdosta St, or Ga South, would all be more appealing then a game at West Alabama, or a Lambuth. Regardless, come out and support the Panthers in the concrete jungle. See y’all there.
And thanks Ken for the updates, please keep them coming as often as possible, and find out about start times for us.

jweaver

February 11th, 2011
5:46 pm

Can’t wait to here these future tidbits…

hammer22

February 11th, 2011
6:52 pm

Good to hear from you Ken.

itsmeagain

February 12th, 2011
1:00 am

It’s nice having the blog going again… Thank you Ken

Ken Sugiura

February 12th, 2011
12:28 pm

thanks, all. the rest will come early this coming week.

outSTATEd

February 12th, 2011
6:24 pm

Ken,
Thanks for the insight, look forward to the games this year. Just wanted to comment that it would be great to see more folks at the basketball games. I bought season tix this year and I have to say it has been a lot of fun. In fact, I met Lefty today, got a free T-shirt, two free hot dogs and a drink. I know we all get on the boards the chat about football but I wish people could pack the sports arena too. Parking is free on the weekends, and it’s only a 2 hour commitment.

Tom

February 13th, 2011
9:37 pm

I think having the first game on a thursday can be good and bad. Honestly there’s no reason students can’t come, they’re already going to be on campus. However, a saturday game would give an opportunity for more people to tailgate and not have to wake up for work the next day.

Tailgating can be a touchy and extensive issue. Obviously you cannot have an Athens type of environment at the Dome, but there could be some things done differently. I am cool with the Alumni tent in the orange lot, but the rest of the lot is completely wasted. This lot is for “generous contributors” who pay upwards of $500 or more. so much potential.

Instead you try to squeeze virtually everyone into a dusty, small, gravel lot where you have the 18 and 19 year olds drinking underage among the “I just graduated but I act like I’m still in college” 24 year olds. On top of that, everyone acts like they’ve never been to a football game before. Act like an adult! I’m all for having a good time, but learn some social skills.

Go Panthers!!

February 14th, 2011
8:44 am

I don’t see us surpassing the Shorter attendance until we play Ga Southern at the Dome.

The novelty factor had MUCH to do with that game drawing what it did. You’re right in that Atlanta fans turn out for the Big Event, and that certainly qualified.

I don’t see us putting together such a big PR push again. ESPN isn’t putting us back on the cover anytime soon. And how much did we spend on advertising last year with billboards, AJC ads, radio ads, etc. Is that in the budget again?

Personally, I’d rather draw 20K for the opener and see it only fall to 17K the rest of the season. It was deflating to go from 30K to 15K (ahem, probably 10K) the rest of the way.

Tuscon

February 14th, 2011
9:26 am

Great writeup! Thanks for all the information. The Thursday night classes thing is a great point that I think we all forget to point out sometimes. When FBS schools have Thursday night games(read: Alabama) they cancel classes for the day.

Anywho, GO PANTHERS!

outSTATEd

February 14th, 2011
3:41 pm

@ Tuscon
Agreed most FBS schools cancel classes for Thursday games but that probably would not work @ GSU. The student body in aggregate attends for school, not sports, and giving them an excuse not to drive downtown would be an invitation for disaster. Most would see it as an opportunity to work or study, but definately not come into town. Sad but true.