Duke Football has a huge ACC matchup tonight in Wallace Wade Stadium. What are the pros and cons of playing Friday night college football games?
The Blue Devils host the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes tonight for a huge ACC Coastal Division game. There will be several important matchups to watch in what should be a very exciting game.
This is the second straight year Duke Football will play on a Friday night, competing against Louisville last season. Additionally the Blue Devils have played a non-Saturday game for four straight seasons, facing Tulane and UNC on Thursday nights in 2015 and 2014. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Friday night games for Duke Football?
The main advantage is that Duke will be able to receive national exposure. Tonight’s game will be televised live on ESPN. With no other major games going on simultaneously, college football fans from around the country will be tuned in to watch the Blue Devils play tonight.
This also helps in recruiting, with prospective players able to watch the Duke program compete in a high-profile game on national TV. This will also be the first-ever Friday night contest at home for the Blue Devils, who will be able to show off their renovated and improved stadium to a national audience on ESPN. Team captain and redshirt senior cornerback Bryon Fields, Jr. had this to say about Duke playing on Friday night:
"“It will be a lot of fun. Friday night on ESPN. You couldn’t ask for a better time to showcase who we are as a program and as a team. It will be a great challenge for us.”"
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The primary disadvantage is a short week to prepare for a Friday night game. Duke is coming off a significant win against rivals UNC on Saturday afternoon, with a huge game against Miami tonight. The team only had two practices this week to prepare for a key conference matchup, and is focused on making sure players stay healthy and rested. Fields describes the schedule changes for the team this week to get ready for tonight’s game saying:
"“There’s a little less rest. We normally get Mondays off, but worked this one, and Sunday. We’re dialing it down a little here later in the week so it’s starting to feel like a normal week. It’s not too much different.”"
Another big issue is that while Friday night games will bring in a huge national audience, it’s harder to get local fans to the game. Duke Football’s hot 4-0 start and matchup between undefeated ACC teams may help attract fans. But still, the Blue Devils are having trouble with attendance this season. Head coach David Cutcliffe is not a huge fan of Friday night games, apologizing to high school football programs in the area.
Duke (4-0) will face off against Miami (2-0) tonight at 7:00 pm. The winner of this game will take early control of the ACC Coastal Division. The Blue Devils are also looking to start a season 5-0 for the first time since 1994.