When the ACC released its schedules this week, the big point of note was that the Virginia Tech Hokies were not playing host to a Thursday night game. Frank Beamer's team, who built an empire on electric Thursday night atmospheres, now has only home Saturday dates and just one Thursday night game: at Georgia Tech.
For the college football world, that's a major loss.
When the news came down the chute, folks started by pointing fingers at the ACC. That got cleared up real quick when David Teel of the Daily Press reported that athletic director Jim Weaver was the one who requested that the Hokies not host a Thursday night contest. Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times expands upon it, quoting Weaver as saying:
“It’s tough when you have children on a Thursday night,” said Weaver, who didn’t solicit input from athletic department officials or survey fans in making his decision. “If they’re driving any distance, they’re probably going to miss Friday classes in school. … Our fans have been so great and so supportive of the Thursday night game and the Thursday night exposure has been very, very good for Virginia Tech. I just felt we needed to give them a chance to have a season where it’s normal in terms of the fan participation.”
Weaver has a point. A point that gets fleshed out even further over at The Key Play. However, there are also plenty of folks who, as the tweets logged over at Gobbler Country point out, don't like the idea that a Hokie tradition is, at best, taking a year off.
Regardless of the side you fall on—whether you understand and side with Weaver or you think he's a bum and disagree—in the grand scheme of things it's a net "L" on the college football scoreboard. There will be Thursday night games all season long; unfortunately, none of them will be Virginia Tech Thursday night games.
As someone who has been to Thursday night games in multiple locations, there is not anything like a Blacksburg Thursday. "Let's Go, Hokies" is roaring side to side. "Enter Sandman" gets going. The keys are jangling. Folks are jumping around. The Virginia Tech coats are in abundance. The camouflage sprinkled in with the maroon and orange gear. It's a raucous atmosphere from a volume and intensity standpoint, but the most friendly environment from a fan experience and tailgating enthusiasm side of things.
Simply put, not having a Thursday night date in Blacksburg stinks. It stinks to high heaven from an enjoyment standpoint. There will certainly be other Thursday night games to watch; Thursday is a fixture on the television lineup, and kicking off with North Carolina at South Carolina should be fun.
We'll have a good time on Thursdays this year. Hell, we'll have good times from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and on Labor Day Monday too. We just won't be having that very classic, next-level fun that we are used to having in the 'Burg.