There were lots of plot points to discuss during the first full weekend of Pac-12 football in 2022. One of the more unwelcome topics in the conference was the very low attendance for the UCLA-Bowling Green game at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. Under 30,000 people went to the grand old ballyard to watch the Bruins play a MAC team.
Plenty of Big 12 fans jumped on UCLA fans. This is understandable, given the intense interest in fan loyalty and market value in the Big 12 and Pac-12 Conferences, a natural point of debate over the summer when realignment theater was a big deal.
Speaking as a longtime resident of the Western United States and the Pac-12 footprint, there are a few important things to say about this matter.
Yes, Big 12 fans are more loyal to their teams and more passionate about college football than Pac-12 fans. No one should debate this. We don’t have to pretend it’s an actual discussion. This is not what we’re truly arguing about.
Fan loyalty should not be criticized based on whether fans stay home in 100-degree heat. It’s really rather simple: Wait until fans stay home in pleasant weather and/or for games against good teams. That’s the time when you can obviously criticize in a harmless way.
Here’s an example of a Big 12 fan ripping UCLA and Pac-12 fans:
This is so weak. 1) It’s hot everywhere in early September and 2) this is exactly the point about Pac-12 fans and their lack of passion for football. Proving many points. https://t.co/dtXQkx5FSh
— Chris Williams (@ChrisMWilliams) September 5, 2022
Saying “it’s hot everywhere” is a lazy generalization which misses a lot of context.
When residents of an area are not used to extreme weather, that poses a unique health risk, given that the population isn’t used to the extreme conditions.
It is not normally hot in Los Angeles in early September. The 100-degree-plus conditions are 15 to 25 degrees hotter than normal highs for this time of year.
The San Francisco Bay Area will have temperatures near 110 degrees in early September. That’s way, way over the normal high temperature reading for this time of year.
Look at Denver, too:
Denver possibly reaching 100 F this week is unprecedented.
Prior to 2019, the all time warmest temp in Denver for Sept was 97. We could hit at least 97 four days in a row this week.
The six warmest temps ever recorded in Den in Sept all happened in the last 4 years. #COWX
— John Murphy (@JMurphAccu) September 4, 2022
Last year, Seattle hit 108 if not higher, and Portland had 111 degrees if not higher. Those temperatures are 20 to 30 degrees above normal.
I live in Phoenix, where 110 degrees is an average summer day. Las Vegas is similar. The coastal cities are not accustomed to anything close to 110 degrees. 90 is a really hot day in Seattle, historically speaking.
If you’re not used to the heat, being outside in unsafe conditions is highly risky. Even if you are outside, it can be risky if exposure is longer than an hour and hydration and rest are not taken. Rock climbers and mountain hikers in Phoenix die every summer from going out in hot temperatures. Local authorities have to close down trails to prevent people from having to be rescued on mountainsides.
Look, folks, it’s really simple: When UCLA fans stay home in 80-degree weather for a Bruin game against LSU or Washington or Michigan State, have at it. You would be correct to slam the loyalty of Pac-12 fans.
Just don’t do it when people are trying to be safe in weather conditions they very rarely encounter. It’s really that simple. Thank you.