NEW YORK - Friday would have been a great day to play a football game at Yankee Stadium. Well, unless you're Scott Shafer, that is.
Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s? No problem. West Virginia and Syracuse, the teams that meet in today's Pinstripe Bowl at the modern version of an iconic baseball stadium, would have been thrilled.
Today's forecast is not nearly as encouraging. Then again, it's not quite what Shafer hoped for, either.
"I, personally, would like to see some sub-zero temperatures with 15 to 25 inches of snow,'' said Shafer, the Syracuse defensive coordinator charged with stopping West Virginia's high-powered offense. "That's just me, though. I'm sure [Syracuse offensive coordinator Nathaniel] Hackett would look for a different forecast.''
Save for Shafer, the coaches from both sides do their best to downplay the weather for today's game. That's not surprising, of course. Even if they have an opinion they do their best to steer conversations away from the elements because if they start talking about it then their players start thinking about it.
And football coaches don't like their players thinking too much.
Still, to anyone else it's an issue. It's not normally a bowl issue given that the really smart ones choose to locate where the biggest problem is sunburn and not wind chill. I mean, really, how many other bowl games put their logos on ski caps? The Pinstripe does.
For the record, at the end of a week that featured rain, sleet, snow and high winds followed by Friday's brief spell of what qualifies as Northeastern balmy, Saturday's game-day forecast goes like this: temperatures steady at about the freezing point all day, snow beginning in midmorning and continuing until early evening. Accumulations could be between 1 and 3 inches, most of it coming in the hours prior to and then during a game that kicks off at 3:15 p.m.
Oh, and there will be just enough wind to drop the wind-chill factor into the teens. AccuWeather's RealFeel prediction is 21 degrees at 3 p.m. and then 19 degrees for most of the game.
Are you ready for some football?
"It'll be fine. It'll be fun,'' Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said Friday. "That's what makes football fun.''
Well, yeah, it is. Admit it, you love turning on the TV and seeing games in the snow, right? Some of the most famous NFL games ever played were in some of the worst conditions. Green Bay's Bart Starr sneaking behind Jerry Kramer to beat the Cowboys in minus-15 degrees in the Ice Bowl. The New England work-release prisoner snow-plowing a clear space for the Patriots to kick a field goal to beat the Dolphins.
But bowl games? A reward for a winning season? As it turns out, West Virginia's reward for beating Iowa State in miserable conditions to become bowl eligible was playing Syracuse in what might be even worse weather.
"I think about five weeks ago in Ames, Iowa, was one of the most miserable situations I've been in,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "It was 30 degrees and the wind was blowing about 30 miles an hour and raining slightly.''