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Reynolds Wolf Tackles Football and Weather

Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is a HUGE college football fan. Ask him any football-related question and he’ll know the answer. We decided to ask him our toughest questions about how weather impacts every facet of the game, his predictions for this season, and which meteorologist he would want on his team from The Weather Channel.

What are the broad aspects the weather has an affect on during a football game? 

Weather can certainly have an impact on many aspects of the game: the playing surface, uniforms, offensive and defensive strategies, etc.. Obviously, it affects the fan’s experience as well!


What’s the #1 weather condition that has the biggest impact on football?

For the game, I’d say extremely windy conditions would be horrendous for kickers and quarterbacks–as accuracy would be seriously hampered.  For the fans, extreme heat or cold could make life pretty miserable!


What states have the best weather for football season?

Depends on what you like!  

If you prefer drier, less humid conditions, it’s pretty tough to beat Southern California.  USC, Cal, and Stanford play in venues that are fairly comfortable and stable throughout the expanse of the season.

But other locations definitely have their “sweet spots” during a long season decorated with weather extremes.  

For example, Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium is fantastic in early October.  Highs in the 70’s, lows in the 50’s—but I certainly wouldn’t want to play there in late November.

Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium is the opposite: an oven early in the season, but football perfection late in the campaign. Usually much cooler and drier!


What states have the worst weather for football season?

Again, it depends on the time of the season!  

As a player, I’d hate to practice or play in the intense heat of the Deep South.  Without proper hydration, the experience can be life-threatening for players, coaches, and fans.  But once the heat subsides, watching and playing football in venues like LSU, Florida State, Alabama, or Texas becomes much more enjoyable (and safer)!

But the opposite is true for spots like Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Penn State, or Ohio State!  Their seasons are usually front-loaded with better weather, and back-loaded with rougher, colder conditions by late November.


How is the field affected by weather?

It usually depends on the composition of the playing surface—and artificial surfaces (in my opinion) happen to be the worst.   They’re certainly designed to drain better and withstand the wear of twenty-two players running roughshod for four quarters, but the artificial surfaces tend to retain a great deal of heat.  Kind of turns the playing surface into a climatological “hot plate.”


How is the actual football impacted by various weather conditions?  

Hotter conditions make the football a bit softer, malleable, which makes it somewhat easier for the quarterback to grip, receivers to catch, running backs to carry, and kickers to strike.

Completely the opposite in frigid temperatures.


Do players in certain positions prefer certain weather conditions/ do better in some conditions?

I’d think most interior linemen would prefer colder conditions, but receivers and running backs would favor “hotter” contests–with the ability to shed the cold weather gear, they tend to be lighter and faster.


Does elevation have an impact on the players?

It certainly can.

Higher elevation stadiums–the Air Force Academy, BYU, Utah, Colorado, even Boise State can be especially difficult spots for players with altitude sickness.


What are your favorite football teams?

Auburn University will always be my favorite (WAR EAGLE!).  But I have a great deal of respect for many other programs in the college game.

It’s tough to beat a fall afternoon at Michigan State, at The Grove at Ole Miss, or a night game at Tiger Stadium at LSU. The Shoe at Ohio State is unreal, and it’s awfully tough to top Texas A&M’s Kyle Field!


Make your prediction: Who will be the NFL and NCAA champions at the end of the year?

In the NFL?  The Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is on a mission this year.

In the college ranks?  The University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide is simply loaded at every position, and they have the greatest coach in college football: Nick Saban.

By the way—Coach Saban is a HUGE Weather Channel fan. And even though I’m an Auburn guy, I do love Coach Saban a lot!


What should fans or players do to stay safe in hot conditions?

Hydrate, my people! Hydrate!


What should fans or players do to stay safe in cold conditions?

Bundle up. Dress in layers. And be sure to protect the hands and feet!


What does the perfect tailgate look like to you?

Crisp Fall air, partly cloudy skies, light breeze, amid the gentle strains of your school’s marching band in the distance. Fried chicken, buffalo wings, bratwurst, veggies, and plenty of beverages.  Also, lots of laughter and loved ones.


Let’s pretend you’re starting your own football team with The Weather Channel meteorologists.  Who do you take as your quarterback and why?

Paul Goodloe would be my first round draft choice.  He’s a giant, in great shape, smart as a whip, and has hands larger than most Pacific Islands.  

Join the Discussion


  1. I remember one of those COLD late-season games at “The Shoe” in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997. It was against Illinois. It was in the lower-30s and lightly raining for the first half, which got me wet, then it dropped to about 25 and snowed for the second half! I took a REALLY long, hot shower when I got home! Illinois didn’t score until the final play of the game, which I think was a fumble returned for a touchdown, to make the final score 41-6; Ohio State just missed a shutout.

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