It’s the latest idea from Larry Scott’s handbook of Pac-12 relevance that has divided the conference. Earlier this summer at Pac-12 media day, the commissioner announced that the conference was discussing the idea of starting games at 9 AM pacific time.
“That would be new and out of the box for our conference but I’ve tried to put everything on the table. There’s a lot of frustration from fans in certain markets to the late night kicks,” Scott told NBC Sports. Scott also noted that schools could opt out of the early kickoff.
At the time, the conference was hit with some push back from fans and announced that no games in the 2019 season would move up to the ungodly hour of 9 AM.
But 2020? That’s a different story.
Last week, the Sports Business Journal reported that a few marquee games could be in the running to be played at 9 AM. “The most likely matchups next season could involve non-conference games that include Big Ten schools that already would have been established in that window this season,” wrote veteran reporter John Ourand. “Washington hosts Michigan in week 1 in 2020, while Oregon hosts Ohio State in week 2. I would expect Fox to push for one of those matchups to be the Pac-12’s first 9 AM local time kickoff.”
Today, CBS Sports added to that report. Dennis Dodd is reporting that roughly half of the teams in the conference would be interested in play games in the 9 AM window next season.
So now, naturally, we turn to a guessing game: Which teams are in favor of breakfast football?
Right off the bat, we know that Washington State’s fearless leader Mike Leach is a firm no.
Do ANY West Coast fans actually think that it is a good idea to have 9am games?— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) July 27, 2019
Washington’s Chris Petersen is also against the idea. In a press conference earlier this summer he told the media that he’s done it before and it was “miserable.”
“You get your players up at 4 a.m. to go play. And I get what we’re trying to do – be creative. I do. And maybe we do that. But it’s hard on the guys.”
One coach all-in on the idea is Chip Kelly of UCLA. “They could kickoff at 6 a.m.,” he said during Pac-12 Media Day. “The hardest thing if you’re a college football player, is when you wake up and have to wait until 7 o’ clock at night.”
Again, that’s a quote from Chip Kelly, my number one phone call when I want to get inside the mind of a 20 year-old world-class athlete.
The only thing I know for sure, however, is that I did a poll in my one bedroom apartment and 100 percent of the college football fans living there are against the idea. If schools are already worried about fan experience and attendance, this certainly won’t help... And sacrificing at least some of the passionate fan base on the west coast in an attempt to win over a dispassionate viewership base nationwide doesn’t seem like the best play either.
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