Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is Charlotte too cold for ACC title game, bowl game?

Well, the first ACC football championship game in Charlotte didn't exactly get Chamber of Commerce weather.

Sleet pellets and even a few snow flurries fell around daybreak and again Saturday afternoon in the Charlotte area, and while the precipitation likely will be cold rain -- not the frozen stuff -- for tonight's kickoff, it certainly won't be attractive weather.

I realize some people believe football should be played in Green Bay-esque weather, but I suspect the majority would prefer temperatures at least in the 50s for a championship game, and for the bowl game played annually in Charlotte.

All this begs the question (which has been raised many times before): Is Charlotte too far north for an outdoor football championship game? And is it too far north for a bowl game?

We'll dismiss the bowl game question immediately.

When the NCAA can sanction bowl games in New York City (the new Pinstripe Bowl) and Washington (the EagleBank Bowl) -- and, for that matter, the bowl game in Boise -- it's silly to question holding such a game in Charlotte.

Our weather is roughly similar to several other places that host bowl games, including Nashville and Memphis. And besides, the worst snow I ever saw at a bowl game happened once in the early 1980s, when North Carolina played Texas in the Sun Bowl in El Paso. I think it was in 1982. It was a whiteout.

But the ACC title game is another matter, because it was played the first five years at Florida sites, where sleet and snow almost certainly won't be a problem.

I went back and checked Charlotte's weather for the last seven years on the first Saturday in December, and I found -- perhaps not surprisingly -- that it's wildly inconsistent. The evidence:

2009 (Dec. 5): High of 47, low of 28, with .05 of an inch of rain. That's pretty crummy weather.

2008 (Dec. 6): 42 and 31 degrees, with a trace of rain. Once again, bad weather.

2007 (Dec. 1): 62 and 47 degrees. Fantastic!

2006 (Dec. 2): 59 and 36 degrees. Once again, fantastic.

2005 (Dec. 3): 50 and 27 degrees, with .05 of an inch of rain. Mediocre, but good enough.

2004 (Dec. 4): 35 and 33 degrees, with .21 of an inch of precipitation, some of it as freezing rain. Uhhh ... I don't think so!

2003 (Dec. 6): 82 and 66 degrees. That set a record for the latest 80-degree day in Charlotte history. Obviously, few people would have complained.

So over the past seven years, the weather was mediocre or better four times, and not good on the other three years.

Supporters of the effort to bring the ACC championship game to Charlotte note that the average temperature in Jacksonville, site of several of the league's title games, is only a few degrees warmer than here. That's correct, and I recall bad weather in Florida at least once.

The average high and temperatures at this time of year in Charlotte are 57 and 37, which is fine for football.

So let's hope the weather is better next year, and chances are it will be. Besides, as long as fans show up, the ACC will be happy, no matter what the weather.


Anonymous said...

This is perfect weather for a championship game. Everyone should have to "earn" their right to go to a nice weather location for a bowl.

mmarkh said...

I think the weather is fine. While I wouldn't mind if it was warmer and dryer, I have no problem with being a little cold and possibly wet. Due to the ACC's geographic range, I think that having the game accessible to more fans distance-wise is worth the possible unfavorable weather.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's too cold for the ACC Champs game. The winner gets the reward of the Orange Bowl in Miami. This is a moment to just get the job done.
Having said that, it's a shame the powers that be didn't make BofA Stadium a domed stadium. Charlotte misses out on a lot of high profile tourneys and events because of being limited to 6-7 months out of the year. We will never see the NCAA Basketball Final game here, as an example.

Anonymous said...

The Hokies can handle it!! Go Hokies!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Who cares this about a meaningless ACC game. Everyone is watching real football Auburn and South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

I was downtown today, and the visitors looked like they were having a good time, in a safe and accessible city. Charlotte is an easy place to visit. There are no bad blocks, no unspoken issues or concerns.

From the CIAA to the NRA we've treated them all as honored guests, an advantage of being a purple state, and because of that they're having a good time. I only saw smiling faces today -- no one was checking the weather. This is football we're talking about, not NASCAR!

Charlotte really should tout itself for its civility and graciousness. I don't think we're selling that aspect as much as we could. The money being spent downtown today is terrific for an otherwise throw away December Saturday.

Anonymous said...

The dumbest article I've ever seen. Charlotte too far north???? Have you looked at a map? It was a bit unseasonably cold here. I get that. We basically have the exact same weather as Atlanta. Is Alabama too far north??? Should we have the game in Mexico? Goodness...And the guy who wrote this is From southern Canada.

Anonymous said...

Got news for you. I was in Tampa last year for the ACC Champ game and it was just as wet and cold.

Anonymous said...

Well, a couple of years ago when Virginia Tech was in the Orange Bowl, it was unseasonably cold in Miami. Never got out of the 30's the entire time we were there.

Ron from Ranlo said...

I don't think the time of year is a big problem. It would help for it to be a daytime game though.

Anonymous said...

Fair story. Dome the Charlotte Stadium and make it the permanent ACC home. Otherwise you have to consider other influences that negatively impact the game and attendance. this was well attended because FSU and VaTech were in it. I wonder how it would look with Miami and Wake on a cold rainy nite? Think you'd get 70,000? Not likely

Many of us are not traveling to NC with my kids so we can all get sick in a cold wet environment...yuk!

Playing on that torn up and wet field absolutely increases chances of injury to players. Why increase the chance of hurting a kid?

The SEC and Big 12 play in domed stadiums..why cant we. It would be so much more enjoyable all the way around.

Anonymous said...

Folks, it's just a silly ball game.

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