Hobo Day a come one, come all event, literally

Travis Kriens

Travis KriensJacks Pundit

Hobo Week means a lot of different things to different people. For some, it’s a chance to see old friends they haven’t seen in a while. You may also come back to Brookings for the first time in years and rekindle memories of your youth. For others, it is a chance to have an excuse to get drunk and act like a jackass.

But for SDSU football fans, it is usually the time of year when they stop showing up for football games.

With the Hobo Day parade as the pre-game show for what I consider the main event of the week, the football game, it almost seems like the homecoming game is a chance for everyone to get one last look at the SDSU football team before they hibernate for the next five months.

It’s not like the Jacks haven’t been competitive these last few years and haven’t played meaningful games late in the season. If they finish with a winning record this year, SDSU will have finished the last nine seasons with a better than .500 record, a mark only matched from 1913-1922.

Since 1978, the Jackrabbits have played 35 games at home in November and only four of them (including one Hobo Day game) have attracted a crowd of over 6,200. You can’t use weather as an excuse either, because only seven of the last 17 Nov. games have had temperatures under 48 degrees; more than acceptable for South Dakota.

One of those four was maybe the greatest game in Coughlin-Alumni history as SDSU knocked off No. 1 North Dakota State 29-24 in the 2007 season finale to win their first conference title since 1963. The record crowd of 16,345 was impressive for sure, but the Bison brought their fair share of fans that equaled a third of that crowd, completely filling the east bleachers.

The most disappointing crowd of last season was the 10,317 that showed up for a Nov. 7 match-up vs. No. 3 Southern Illinois in what was basically a de facto conference championship game with an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs at stake. In what might have been the most important game since the NDSU victory in ’07, the athletic department had the slashed ticket prices in half just to barely get the 10,000 that showed up to a game that should have made the attendance record list.

This year’s Hobo Day crowd will be a season high, just like it has been for 11 of the past 13 seasons. But after that, what will the crowds be like?

With November games versus Missouri State and the first game versus old NCC rival North Dakota since 2003, it will be interesting to see if the fans come out or stay at home like they have been known to do when the leaves have fallen from SDSU is down to the last of its nine lives this season, winning back-to-back games after dropping their first four, all against teams that have been ranked during the season. With five games left, the hardest part of their schedule done and a Missouri Valley Conference that is looking like a one bid playoff league for the first time since 2004, it’s not impossible to imagine SDSU in the playoffs if they win out.

It would give them a 7-4 record, including 6-2 in the conference, which looks good enough now to at least tie for the MVC championship. Before we get ahead of ourselves, we should see if SDSU can get back to .500 first.

The Jacks have a shot at winning the rest of their games, without question.

But the real question: will anyone show up to see them?

#1.1655801:2599443231.jpg:Travis Kriens: Sports Genius:Travis Kriens: Sports Genius:File Photo