The winner of two of the past three Pac-12 titles is no fan of the conference’s idea for kicking off just after dawn on the West Coast.
And he speaks from experience on the subject too.
At conference media day in July, commissioner Larry Scott remarked that the league is exploring having a handful of games that kickoff at noon ET/9a.m. PT during the upcoming season. The idea is mostly being done as an experiment with media partner Fox, who is making a big push during that early TV window starting this season.
Though a number of coaches have come out in favor of the idea from both a routine standpoint and an exposure one, the one who has had the most success out West recently is not really on board.
Washington head coach Chris Petersen was asked about potentially kicking off that early and noted that he is firmly against the concept after actually going through it during his days in the Mountain West.
“I have (experienced it). I’ve been one of those guys. We kicked off against San Jose State at 9 a.m. It was miserable. You get your players up at 4 a.m. to go play. And I get what we’re trying to do – be creative. I do. And maybe we do that. But it’s hard on the guys,” said Petersen, according to the Seattle Times. “So now, OK, you’re just going to get them up on Saturday at 4 a.m.? That doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to get them into a routine, so you’re trying to get them up all week at 4 a.m. and do this practice thing. So that starts with the players. Fans, are they going to get up to get here?”
The Times notes that in the 2004 game against the Spartans that Petersen is referring to, attendance at the stadium was just a tad over 5,000 fans and his old Boise State team was taken to overtime by a 2-6 SJSU squad.
We’ve seen coaches across the Pac-12 come out on either side of this issue the past few weeks so it’s pretty clear that the officials in San Francisco will need to do some threading of the needle if they really want to see a conference game kickoff so early this year.