Empty seats for ‘Bama, Clemson

      Sometimes a plan just doesn’t come together. There was concern early on with the new playoff and bowl setup what would it mean in terms of attendance, like what if your team in the national semi-final wins, and then the following Monday the national title game is 2,000 miles away on the left coast of the land. Unless they come up with a reason to give away some free tickets before kickoff this evening, there will be empty seats, possibly as many as 5,000 in Santa Clara’s Levi Stadium, home of the NFL 49ers. The facility seats less than 70,000 already. The national championship game will likely have a crowd similar to a Virginia Tech home game in Lane Stadium.
    On top of that, the weather the past couple days has not been good, lots of rain and high wind, it is an outdoor facility, the temperature is expected to be around 50 at kickoff, 8 pm eastern time, but the humidity will continue to rise during the day and should be 92% at kickoff. So rain during the game is likely.
     I mentioned in my Locker Room column in The Patriot last week that everybody who was an Alabama or Clemson fan was “tickled as a tick on a dog” about being in the national championship game. However, many of those fans have just been through the Christmas season, New Year’s, and some of those fans traveled to the semi-final which could have also been considerable expense. Now across the country, finally it’s get back to work and school day. The game is on the left coast. Just how many Alabama and Clemson fans can get to the game unless they live a charmed existence. It’s Monday. It’s a long way from Spartanburg to San Francisco. I wouldn’t want to make that trip in the first place. Best seat is at the house.
      But the seats really aren’t going to cost that much unless you were a fan that knew you were going from the get-go, and could afford such activity and bought early. Tickets for tonight’s title game started as high at $475. Two weeks ago they dropped to $350. Last week they dropped to $135-$115. Likely, fans can hang around the gates outside a couple hours before kickoff and easily see the game for less than a hundred bucks. Simply put, the stadium is not going to be filled with Alabama and Clemson fans for obvious reason. It also doesn’t appear that the ‘Frisco area cares that much.
       Maybe the game should be located somewhere around the central region of the nation in the attempt to be fair. If tonight’s game were in Atlanta the house would be full. But it’s in Santa Clara, and it won’t be. If it is, a lot of people got to watch free. Location, location, location. Maybe they need a new plan.
By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot