The Appalachian State-Miami game slated for Sept. 17 sold out its ticket allotment faster than scalpers could scoop up Adele seats last December. Thanks for ruining the Christmas gift I had planned for my wife, jerks.
Anyway, the one-hour window in which fans snapped up seats for the Hurricanes’ historic visit to Kidd Brewer Stadium speaks to the excitement a Power Five program brings when visiting its Group of Five brethren — say nothing of a program with the rich tradition and name recognition of Miami.
Appalachian State-Miami is more than a game for Boone: It’s an event of unprecedented magnitude. The Mountaineers are in just their third year of FBS membership, but have carried over much of their FCS success to the next level. They played in the program’s first bowl game a year, open 2016 as favorites in the Sun Belt, and attracting an ACC member lends additional credibility to their place at the table.
Further, we already know Appalachian State can hang with Power Five competition.
It wasn’t without some hard work on the part of athletic director Doug Gillin, as he explained to the Watauga Democrat:
“If you can name a team, we probably called them. Some were interested in playing in Boone and some weren’t. Miami had an opening and it was just a great opportunity for us and it just worked out.”
Miami’s an outlier among Power Five programs. The Hurricanes made the short trek from Coral Gables to Boca Raton last September for a date with Florida Atlantic. As with the Appalachian State-Miami game, the Hurricanes brought with them a wave of interest, selling out FAU’s home venue.
Arkansas State plays host to Miami in 2017, which is a helluva lot more than in-state counterpart Arkansas will do for the RedWolves.
Miami also traveled to Cincinnati in 2015 — and lost. The Hurricanes’ taking the L at Nippert Stadium lends credence to San Diego State head coach Rocky Long’s assertion last summer that Power Five teams are “afraid” to travel for Group of Five games.
Now, Cynical College Football Guy probably scoffs, because, “LOL Miami more people will seem at Kidd Brewer than Sun Life Stadium.” And perhaps athletic director Blake James’ willingness to take home-and-home dates with Group of Five speaks to Miami’s struggles to fill an NFL venue nearly an hour drive from campus.
But with attendance down around college football, the sport should embrace more events that attract interest on par with an Adele concert.
Speaking of which, after vanished within hours for her tour, the singer added more dates. Hint, hint, Power Five programs. College football could add a few more games like Appalachian State-Miami to the docket every year.
Imagine the excitement Georgia trekking to Statesboro for a date with Georgia Southern would bring. How about a Pac-12 contender like Oregon helping Colorado State christen its new stadium?