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WSU’s 2019 football schedule features a rare start time

How much do you care about a 2 p.m. start?

NCAA Football: Montana State at Washington State
Tailgating should benefit tremendously from a 2 p.m. start.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac-12 revealed the start times and broadcast outlets for the first few weeks of the 2019 football season, and the Washington State Cougars’ schedule featured the appearance of an oddity that was thought to be a remnant of a time long since gone.

The 2 p.m. kickoff.

WSU will host FCS opponent Northern Colorado on September 7 at Martin Stadium at that rare time, which used to be very common. There’s a simple reason why it’s gone the way of the buffalo: TV broadcast windows, which occur at noon, 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. (or thereabouts, PT).

So, how did WSU end up at 2 p.m.? The game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Washington, not the national network, which will be carrying a 1:30 p.m. start between the UCLA Bruins and San Diego State Aztecs. This, presumably, allowed for greater flexibility for WSU to choose its preferred time (at least, I’m assuming WSU was the driver behind this).

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of people lament the loss of the 2 p.m. start, which used to be common in the days before every game was televised. It really is perfect for Pullman. In terms of travel, people are driving from all over the place to attend the game; coming from the west side, you can drive over in the morning if you want, or if you’re driving from Spokane you can both get out of bed at a reasonable time and also not head home in the dead of night.

It’s also prime tailgating time: Food is served right around lunch time with plenty of east coast football to watch, then you can also hang out for a while after the game and watch more games while the sun is still up and have dinner.

Of course, this comes with a tradeoff. Pac-12 Washington is even more narrowly distributed than the big network — some outlets that provide the national network don’t carry the regional network at all, leaving subscribers to use the Pac-12 Now streaming service, either through an app or Pac-12.com. Some do get both, but the regional network is in standard definition (that’s me). I’ll probably hook my computer up to the TV in order to get an HD broadcast, but I’m sure most people don’t want that hassle.

Which leads me to wonder: You cool with the 2 p.m. start, even if it means this tradeoff? Do you even care?

Personally, I love it. It’s a minor game, the Cougs should roll, and almost nobody outside Washington was going to watch it, anyway. The 2 p.m. start is actually more likely to lure me to Pullman than the previous week’s game, a 7 p.m. start — I can do a 2 p.m. with my kids. Those late ones are ... much more difficult. If I don’t go to the game, whatever, it’s easy for me to set up the broadcast on my TV.

Poll

Thoughts on 2 p.m. starts?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes, love it, even if it’s on an obscure TV network
    (317 votes)
  • 20%
    I would love it if it was on a real TV network, but this sucks
    (109 votes)
  • 4%
    I don’t like it.
    (26 votes)
  • 16%
    I don’t care.
    (89 votes)
541 votes total Vote Now

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