July 28, 2006
The Florida-State Miami football game will be played again this year on Monday night, but that will not be the case next season as the game will shift to a Saturday at some point later in the schedule. Many fans have asked questions about the Monday night game and what role FSU would play. Although the Seminoles and Hurricanes will not face each other in that game in 2007, there will be an ACC team featured which could involve one of the schools or two conference teams. Last year’s FSU-Miami game was the highest rated television game of the regular season. The Monday night slate from 2007 and on has not yet been set. Florida State Director of Athletics Dave Hart gives some insight on the Monday night game and what role FSU and the ACC will play.
“I thought it went extraordinarily well and I like the game there. I remember when Loren Matthews of ABC flew to Tallahassee to talk about this concept a few years back to see if it had merit from our perspective. We were not an expanded league at that time and I wasn’t hand-clapping enthusiastic about taking the Miami game and moving it. The more we talked, the more sense it made from a pure exposure perspective because it was a first – a college football game on a Monday night moving into the window before the NFL began their regular season Monday night package. It became even more attractive when we expanded the conference. When we had an opportunity to do that against a conference foe in Miami, who happened to be a longtime rival and one of the greatest rivalries in the game, then to me it made all the sense in the world to do it. I took the idea and concept that Loren proposed and put it in front of Bobby to get his reaction. He liked it immediately from the same perspective, the exposure. We had validity in terms of what we thought would happen through the ratings numbers. Last year’s game was the most watched game of the football season. So, exactly what we thought would unfold, pretty much did. We were excited about it. From the inception of the proposal and talking through the concept, we initially said we’ll do this for two years and then we will assess at the end of that two-year window if we want to it another two years or not. Everyone agreed and that’s how we entered into it. Then the landscape shifted. Not only were we a 12-team league, that part was a positive, then we went to a 12th game. When we went to the 12th game, in my eyes, it changed the picture substantially. Now we had 12 games in a 13-week window. The NCAA and presidents that sit on the board of directors did not want to extend the season. I am very much a proponent for extending the season if we are going to play 12 games. At this point in time we don’t have that, we have 13 weeks to play 12 games. That, coupled with our Thursday night package, makes scheduling very, very complex in the Atlantic Coast Conference. For us to have a reasonable chance to heal and have an open date that does not fall after that Labor Day night is important because nobody wants to play 12 straight games. That’s not fair to the student-athletes, the fans, or anybody else. We had a situation with Florida prior to 12th game where every other year, our players could go home for Thanksgiving. They liked that and I liked the fact that we could do that. Well, the 12th game forced our hand there too. Now we had to play Florida on Thanksgiving weekend in order to make the season work. The combination of that landscape shift, at least caused me to pause and take a different perspective on playing Miami annually on that Monday night. There’s still a side of me that loves the exposure, but when we sat down with Miami and talked about it, and I won’t speak for them, other than to say that they felt like it was time that we moved it off of that date on an annual basis. We agreed and then shared that with John Swofford at the conference office. However, Miami had not had the opportunity to host the game because the Hurricane had forced us to play that following Friday (in 2004). So in fairness I was willing to do one more year and to allow Miami to have that same opportunity we had last year and that was to play the game on Monday night. Beyond that, we are just going to move away from it for now. The ACC has that window so we can have an ACC game in that window or an intersection game in that window. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see us play in that window again, even against a conference opponent other than Miami as the next few years unfold. We’ll certainly be open-minded to that conversation. To have a steady diet of it because of the landscape shift, it simply no longer made as much sense or was as appealing as it was initially related to our series with Miami, at least not a steady diet of that game on that date. “