The Arizona Wildcats do not have a bye week this season, and that situation's getting even more difficult each passing week.
Since hosting UCLA at 5 PM PT, the team has been scheduled for 1 PM home games, and away games starting no earlier than 5:30 on the road, including an 8 PM kick time at Washington next week, the team's longest road trip of the year.
This has drawn the ire of Rich Rodriguez, and he does not think the Pac-12 is looking out for its student athletes with these game times.
"To get on my soapbox here, I just found out that the next game is going to be at Washington at eight o'clock at night, so we'll get back around five in the morning," Rodriguez said Monday. "I just don't understand how this happens when we play twelve-straight, and you play night road games and then we're going to play an eight o'clock game at Washington, get back at five in the morning, then have to go back on the road again."
"If the conference is really concerned about student-athlete wellfare, then I think someone should step in. Because when do guys get a chance to get healthy? You're not getting treatments on a plane. You can try to sleep, but you're not getting a whole lot of rest when you're travelling. It's just ridiculous in my opinion."
He went back to the conference's issues about ten minutes later when talking about the targeting rule and replay.
"I don't know how a replay official can ever get it wrong. We've had more calls overturned in the last few weeks than I could have ever imagined, and I thought it had to be indisputable, whatever the fancy words they call it, to overturn it. And so I've seen that throughout some of the games that I've watched this year. Some of the replay things are like 'How do you miss it on replay?'. You have the benefit of rewinding it five, six, eight, ten times. So I don't know how they would ever get it wrong. And I've seen more questionable replay things in college football than I would have ever imagined. And I love replay, but I'm starting to question it now. What are we doing up there?"
Then back to late kickoff times:
"I think it's ridiculous. I understand TV is going to pick the times, and they have the right to do it, and they're paying us all this money so they're able to pick the games. But every road game is a late night, and you're getting back with no open date, so you have to turn around and go back on the road again."
"Don't go on your soapbox and talk about student-athlete welfare and then have these kids get back at five or six in the morning, and then you're going to go back on the road again. If we're in it for that part of it, there's gotta be a better way. At some point, the conference has to have a little bit of ability to step in and say 'Hey, give this team one afternoon road game. Maybe all the rest of 'em are night, but give them one break so they get home at a reasonable hour'. It's silly. It really is. I'm going to complain about it now, and then I won't have to complain about it again, cuz the no open date thing is still disturbing. But the late night road game combined with no open dates is a little bit not being cognizant of what these student-athletes go through. It's not good."
"Give me a Thursday game, give me a Friday game so they get a day off. Give me a Thursday game on five days as long as the other team has five days. We've done that a bunch of times. But Thursday, if we have five and the other team has five, at least you have a day or two where they can catch their breathe. And our players won't complain, and we won't let them complain about it. We adjust our practice schedule, but you have to have enough time to prepare your team, and the build-up is always to the game. So there's gotta be a time after the game for them to catch their breathe and just get a day where you don't have to think about football all the time."
"Our guys have Mondays off, but they still got school. So why don't you give 'em Sunday off? Well, when you get back at five or six in the morning, or whatever it may be, you're not really getting Sunday off. So it's not a good situation."
"Give us a couple Thursdays. I've been saying that since day one. When have we had a Thursday night conference home game? Why can't Arizona play a Thursday night, conference home game? I don't care whether it's five days for each school or ten days for each school, give us one of those. I think it'd be off the charts. I think our ZonaZoo would be there packed to the hill. I think our people in the community would come out. It'd be a great atmosphere. I've been waiting. Four years, and we haven't had one have we? We haven't had a conference home game? We've had them on the road, but we haven't had them at home. If Arizona has no open dates, give them an open Saturday and play a home conference Thursday game."
"Can you tell I'm bothered by it?"
Yep. Yes we can.