Pac-12 Council Approve Recommendation On Cutting Down Late Kickoff Times

The Pac-12 Council approved a recommendation that would cut down on late kickoff times.

The late night Pac-12 football viewings for the East Coast might become a relic of the past, if conference members have anything to do with it.

In a statement released by the Pac-12, “the presidents and chancellors approved a recommendation from the Pac-12 Council to modify the Conference’s TV agreements with ESPN and FOX and reduce the number of Pac-12 Networks Saturday night football games (start time of 7 p.m. or later).”

While this might seem to be put in place to heed fans’ wishes for earlier start times – I personally prefer late night starts when attending games – it could also be seen as a way to gain more exposure with kickoffs coming at times when everyone in the nation could watch.

That is where the Pac-12 needs to be wary. While they try to appeal to East Coast and Midwest viewers, the conference must also realize that starting games earlier means it will be going against the Big 12, ACC, and (gulp) SEC for rankings.

One of the start times suggested, 2:30 p.m. PST, would begin right in the middle of the second half of the SEC on CBS game of the week. If the Pac-12 thinks fans west of Colorado are going to turn off Auburn-Alabama or LSU-Florida for an Oregon-Stanford matchup, they might want rethink their plan.

There has long been a perceived “East Coast bias” toward the Pac-12, especially when it comes to Heisman voting. Had Stanford played more early games last season, Christian McCaffrey likely would have walked away with the trophy instead of Alabama’s Derrick Henry.

Ultimately, it is a calculated risk for the conference as it tries to grab viewers from areas of the country where other conferences already have extreme strongholds, all while capturing that exposure they desire. The fall TV lineups will be lighter on #Pac12AfterDark, but the conference clearly feels the time is ripe to capture more eyeballs on the East Coast.

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