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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

May 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Some clarity coming on early-season Pac-12 football starts

As we speak, the Pac-12 is due later this week to make its annual release of early-season football starting times and TV assignments, plus some scattered games later in the season. The players, as always, are Fox and ESPN, plus the Pac-12 Networks.

With the increasing fan displeasure over (a) varying starting times, and (b) night starts, at least this gives people a read on what the schedule will look like for most of August and September. As a yardstick, last year’s comparable release pinned down 36 starting times, and filled in all the blanks for the first two weekends of play and most of the third.

Of course, the cynical might note that those September games are, relatively, the least of the fans’ concern. They come during better weather, and in more daylight.

Best football weekend of the season is a sizzling Thanksgiving weekend, or Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29. Friday includes the Stanford-UCLA and Arizona-Arizona State games, and the Saturday schedule includes the Apple Cup, Civil War and Notre Dame-USC. Would be nice — hint, hint — to be able to pin down a starting time for the Apple Cup, in Pullman this season. A year ago, the May release included starting times for both the Apple Cup and Civil War — but those were Friday games.

Will be interesting to see if the apparent move to trim night games comes about. In April, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News wrote about how the league was considering putting more Pac-12 Network games in the early-afternoon slot, at the cost of lesser access for out-of-area fans.

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