The Pac-10 Athletic Directors are meeting to tackle some tough decisions. With two major issues colliding, (The addition of 2 new member-schools, and the new media deal.) there is much to be decided. Much of the focus has been on the division split, the revenue sharing, and the site of the conference championship game.
However, Ted Miller of ESPN.com shed some light on another issue. Game times. The Pac-10 has often bemoaned the "east coast bias". But can you blame the media and fans on the east coast? While the Pac-10 schools have no control over the time difference, they have done little to help themselves. Why would the east coast viewers stay up past midnight to watch a team from across the continent?
There is a simple solution here, one that commissioner Scott seems to be considering. Earlier kickoff times. No more 7pm kickoffs. Is there any question that the Pac-10 can produce top-level games on a regular basis? What is the concern with starting at noon or 1 pm? Greater competition for T.V. time slots? The Pac-10 has developed a reputation for scheduling quality non-conference opponents, and is arguably the deepest conference in the nation. Lets throw down the gauntlet.
The only schools that have a reasonable argument against an earlier kickoff are the Arizona schools. Everyone that regularly attends games at the Arizona schools knows how hot it gets. In the first few months of the season, the temperature will regularly be at or above 90. And that's just in the stands. On the field, it can be over 100. However, proper hydration can and will prevent heat injuries. I propose the Arizona schools take one for the conference and stand behind an earlier kickoff, season-wide. The players in Arizona train in the heat. If anything, it will be a major home field advantage.
I live in Tucson, and noon in September is no joke. It will easily be over 100 for the first month, possibly into the third, at noon or 1 pm. Come on Wildcat fans, (You too, Sun Devils.), lets embrace this. Lather on the sunscreen, drink plenty of that red and blue lemonade, and cheer for the home team as the visitors wilt on the playing field!