It’s finally time for one of the most anticipated games of the year at Cajun Field for Louisiana fans: Homecoming. Coach Billy Napier’s squad will face off against Texas State Oct. 30 at 11 a.m. in Louisiana’s final home game of the year.
The Sun Belt Conference and ESPN announced the game will be broadcasted on ESPNU, giving the Cajuns another chance to showcase their talent on a national stage. Already up to four games this season on an ESPN platform, this will be a whopping fifth televised game for this group.
Despite the chance to play a televised game on ESPN, the 11 a.m. kickoff time sparked controversy amongst Louisiana students and even faculty. Contractual obligations between the Sun Belt Conference and ESPN gives the major sports network the ability to pick kickoff times, but it still hurts the university as a result.
An 11 a.m. start will hurt attendance for the game when the Cajuns deserve all the support possible for the last home game of the year. With the homecoming parade and other festivities going on Saturday, it’ll limit the amount of people making it to kickoff.
“Being on homecoming court and having to participate in the parade, this makes it hard for both the students and myself to be prepared,” Joe Caldwell, a homecoming court member said. “With the homecoming parade starting at 8:30 a.m., it makes me wonder just who all is going to show up and support one of the best days of the year.”
“I think it’s completely unfair,” senior marketing student Clark Nichols said. “This gives us zero chance to tailgate before the game and will surely hurt the amount of people that actually go to the game. Since I’ve been here, it’s always been an afternoon homecoming game.”
Head Coach Billy Napier has praised the student attendance at both the tailgates before the game as well as at the game. With a student section that has been jam-packed all season, it seems harsh to allow an 11 a.m. start time.
The student tailgates before each home game have been monstrous. The support has been unimaginable. And the love for this team goes without saying. Understanding the contractual obligations and it being out of the university’s hands, students have voiced their opinions on Twitter towards ESPN and other higher-ups.
“As students, it just limits our ability to support the team when they’re finally hitting their stride to close out the season,” junior finance student Ardis Sikes said. “We want to support both the homecoming parade before the game as well as tailgate before kickoff, but it seems virtually impossible to do both with such an early start.”
Despite the odd start time, it’s still important for Cajun fans to come out and support in the final home game of the year. As Napier’s squad looks to continue their hot streak, the support of the fans will be much needed in Saturday’s contest.