Reports surfaced last week that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott hopes to make a deal with television networks that would allow his conference to get exposure in the 9am window on Saturday mornings.
That’s right. 9 o’clock. In the morning. To play college football.
The verdict from social media – which is often, but not always, incorrect – is resoundingly against this idea. Even our own John Canzano and Washington State coach Mike Leach weighed in on twitter:
Pac 12 exploring football at 9a? Dumb. You want your product to get exposure? Win big games. Get in the playoff. Quit with the gimmicks.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) July 28, 2019
Do ANY West Coast fans actually think that it is a good idea to have 9am games?
— Mike Leach (@Coach_Leach) July 27, 2019
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, however, supports it. When asked at Pac-12 media days about the idea of the early kickoffs (notably 10am Mountain Time), Whittingham said the following:
Jon Wilner does an excellent job introducing and defending the idea of early 9am kicks in this piece for Wilner Hotline/San Jose Mercury News. In it, Wilner lays out some of the initial pros and cons, concluding that the idea makes a lot of rational sense for a conference desperate for more meaningful national exposure.
Wilner is careful and specific in his unveiling of the sub-topics affected by the possible 9am kickoffs, including the affect on the coaches and players schedules (not as foreign an idea as you might think), the challenge to in-stadium attendance (but aren’t eyeballs-to-tvs more important that butts-in-seats?), and equal participation of teams in the conference (Wilner suggests a 3-year rotation of four games total each year between teams).
The more you consider the idea, the more it makes sense. I, for one, smile at the idea of watching ESPN College Gameday from 6-9am and having that lead right into UCLA-Oklahoma, or Oregon-Washington State (Oct. 26th). Don’t you?