Sick and tired of the Arizona Wildcats always playing home football games at night? Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
“There hasn’t been a discussion about a rotation for the late-night games,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Friday night before Arizona’s game against Colorado, its 15th consecutive contest at Arizona Stadium to kick off at 6 p.m. or later.
The last Wildcats home game to be played in the daylight was Oct. 15, 2016 against USC. And that time window must have been selected before the Pac-12 implemented what Scott said was a mandate that the Arizona schools’ home games prior to November be played at night.
“We are obligated to play the September and October games at night,” Scott said. “That’s because of the heat, for health and safety reasons. That’s really the only parameter around which schools will play at night.”
The Pac-12 has shown the willingness to tweak its scheduling format, eliminating weeknight road games for teams that had been on the road the previous week (as was the case last season). And those “special night games,” as Scott says they’re called, rotate around the league to make sure no school is playing more or less of them than others.
League and school officials are having “active discussions” about the 2019 schedule, which Scott said isn’t likely to be released for a few more months, but no there’s been no such talk about creating a rotation for late-night kickoffs.
“With our latest TV contract, which began in 2012, there was a commitment to a certain number of Saturday night games,” Scott said. “That number has been brought down a little bit” but doesn’t figure to drop anymore until the contract ends in 2024.
For the record, Arizona State’s next two home games (Saturday and Nov. 10) are set for 1 p.m. and noon (local time) kickoffs, respectively.