Lahnert: College Football Covid Style
Texas Tech University announced 11,157 limited fans and also had cardboard cutouts for its season opener against Houston Baptist on Saturday night at Jones AT&T Stadium. [John Moore/ Press Pass Sports]
LUBBOCK— Just plain weird. Just plain strange.
And, just plain quiet.
Anybody walking into the Texas Tech football game Saturday night was meet with the rarest of sights.
Pretty much no noise. No people. And, quite honestly, in the simplest of terms no college football vibe in sight.
Call it College Football Covid Style.
The usually raucous noise, jam packed parking lots, and massive tail-gating scene surrounding Jones AT&T Stadium was nowhere in sight Saturday as Tech hosted Houston Baptist University in its 2020 season opener.
That’s the norm these days in college football with COVID-19 forcing mask wearing, social distancing and the world getting used to sights never witnessed before in their lifetime.
Still, to see and feel it in person was just plain weird. Just plain strange. And, just plain quiet.
I mean we all excepted the game itself to be completely different from the normal college experience.
With something like available, The Jones with a seating capacity of 60,454, was going to be and feel empty.
It sure did.
I’ve felt more energy taking a two-hour nap than was inside The Jones despite the effort of the few on hand, the Goin’ Band From Raiderland and cheerleaders trying to bring the noise.
Seeing a college football unfold in that atmosphere had no chance of getting the blood pressure up.
Actually, I really kind of expected that kind of atmosphere in the place. What I didn’t expect, what really stopped me cold Saturday night was pulling up to The Jones.
The west side of Jones AT&T Stadium is usually packed for tailgating on gameday. This was the scene an hour before kickoff against HBU on Saturday., [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
When I say pulling up, I mean literally pulling up pretty much next to the place.
Normally a traffic jam exists, even two hours before game time. Normally there is music cranking, and the tailgating scene is crazy loud and packed.
What, maybe three or four small tailgating parties were going on in the massive parking lot. In fact, when Kale Steed and myself were walking up to get our press passes we passed a couple in the parking lot.
They were literally sitting on the tailgate of their truck, a Yeti cooler next to them and drinking beers like they were sitting on their back porch.
“Just strange, isn’t it,” we echoed back and forth to each other.
For anybody attending Texas Tech’s 2020 opener is was nothing like the normal vibrant seen.
It was weird. It was strange. It was just too plain quiet.