Not everyone loves #Pac12AfterDark. And that’s not a secret.
Washington coach Chris Petersen (along with others) has expressed his displeasure with the conference’s regular late starts on Saturdays. Since all of the Pac-12’s teams are in either the Mountain or Pacific time zones, the conference provides ESPN and Fox Sports with late-night live sporting events.
And the two networks are happy to pay the conference the millions they do because of the asset it provides even if many of casual college football fans not in the western half of the country are already tucked into bed before the second half of late Pac-12 games begin.
Saturday, Kirk Herbstreit voiced his disagreement with Petersen on College GameDay. Instead of complaining, Herbstreit said, Petersen and others should be thanking ESPN for broadcasting the Pac-12 and paying the conference what it does.
“As an advocate on this show for the Pac-12 for the past 20 years, wanting to try to bring as much exposure to that conference as we can, you should be thanking ESPN for actually having a relationship thanks to [commissioner] Larry Scott with the Pac-12 because now your games are seen,” Herbstreit said Saturday.
After the game, Petersen said he didn’t want to continue the discussion about late-night starts. Scott was at Washington’s win at Cal Saturday night — and stopped by the ESPN booth — and the commissioner and coach talked before the game.
“It was friendly,” Petersen said after the game via the Seattle Times. “… I think we just need to move on to a new topic. Let’s pick something next week that we can really care about. I think we beat this one up enough.”
While Petersen has legitimate concerns about Pac-12 start times, he knows they aren’t going anywhere. And while travel in the conference is longer than it is among most teams in the other Power Five conferences, the Pac-12 isn’t alone in having late starts either. Most evening Pac-12 games start between 6-8 p.m. local time. Many evening games in the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 also kick off within that window.
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