Social media and message board reactions came fast and furious not long after sports media scheduling expert Matt Sarzyniak posted his week two schedule predictions for the college football season. What turned most heads was Sarzyniak’s prediction that Alabama vs. Texas would be a noon game (ET, 11 am local time in Austin), broadcasted on Fox. As always, Sarzyniak’s thinking is pretty sound here and goes like this:
– Fox and ESPN rotate years in which they get the first pick of game in a season.
– This year Fox has the first pick.
– Almost every year, the network with the first pick selects Texas vs. Oklahoma which means ESPN/ABC airs the rivalry game in odd years with Fox/FS1 airing it in even years (although ESPN/ABC picked LSU vs. Texas in 2019 with allowed the game to air on Fox).
– Similar to 2019 when ESPN had first pick and passed on the Oklahoma vs. Texas game in favor of LSU vs. Texas, Sarzyniak believes Fox will instead use their first pick for Texas hosting Alabama (logic checks out here). With Fox putting their best games at noon eastern (a concept that is still not grasped by 75% of mouth-breathing college football fans), Fox will almost assuredly place the game at noon which has been a growing source of frustration for fans who have grown accustomed to bigger games being played later in the day.
Think of it like this. FOX tries to start with a big audience and hold it as long as they can during a Saturday. ABC builds most weeks to a primetime max.
— Matt Sarzyniak (@mattsarz) March 8, 2022
The reasons why Big Noon is mostly loathed amongst fans is that it does affect the local economy with less tailgating and food and beverage sales around the stadium with less hours before the game. Additionally less people are able to drive or fly in the day of the game (including recruits and family members of players) so it nixes the game to many who can’t take off work on a Friday to ensure they get to the game in time. And in this particular the case (if it does come to fruition), it’s going to be HOT. The weather last year on September 10th in Austin….yikes!
Going back nine years, I can find only two other noon games ET in Austin. Last year there there was a Texas Tech game at noon but it came towards the end of the month when it’s usually a bit better in terms of the heat. There was also a Sept 2 game vs. Maryland in 2017 which the Longhorns lost with reports being that the field temperature was well over 100 degrees. The bulk of home games for Texas, and especially in September, usually kicked off at night with a few afternoon games.
With such a big game for both programs, the reaction to a midday in game in Austin was not received well.
Flashback to me passing out at DKR during one of these games https://t.co/ymCKKLBITA
— Box me out, King ♌ (@Mynue_Jeens) March 9, 2022
An 11 am Texas-Alabama game sounds horrible. Not a soul on earth is signing up for a 100 degree second half.
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) March 8, 2022
Agreed. that’s a horrible idea to play at 11am at DKR Vs bama. If that’s what happens you’ll mass well just watch it from home or a air conditioned bar cus mannnn that shit would be hell. A beating and a terrible sunburn. https://t.co/YHxBniNiof
— Simon K (@SimonSaysSport) March 8, 2022
Unfortunately though complaints about Big Noon have fallen on deaf ears as fans, conferences, and schools have complained in the past. Oklahoma even cited Fox’s Big Noon as a reason it was leaving for the SEC. It doesn’t matter as Fox pays a ton for these games and schedules them to optimize ratings. Essentially, that’s what the money is for. It’s not their problem, so here we are!