Pac-12 Opts Not to Start 9 AM Pacific Time Kickoffs This Season, May Revisit

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 22, 2019

A PAC-12 logo is seen painted on the field before an NCAA college football game between Washington State and Oregon Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

College football teams residing on the West Coast just gained extra hours of sleep on Saturdays this fall. 

The Pac-12 will not have any 9 a.m. PT kickoffs during the 2019-20 season despite coaches such as Chip Kelly (UCLA), Kyle Whittingham (Utah) and Justin Wilcox (California) expressing interest in the concept last month at Pac-12 media day, ESPN's Kyle Bonagura reported Wednesday evening. 

A conference spokesman confirmed to Bonagura that it is "open to revisiting the idea in the future."

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told reporters during media day that there had been "preliminary discussions" about playing a slate of in-conference games at 9 a.m. PT. 

"There's a lot of frustration from fans in certain markets to the late-night kicks," Scott added (h/t Jon Wilner of the Mercury News). "I'd like to see one or two games this season that are [noon ET] kicks be Pac-12 games and see what markets might respond positively to that."

For context, 247Sports disclosed in December the top 10 highest-rated televised college football games from last season, none of which involved the Pac-12.

Wilner relayed further information following Wednesday's development: 

"Andrew Walker, head of communications for the Pac-12, said several schools are interested in playing early, but the conference couldn't find 'good options' over the coming three months. The plan, Walker added, is to monitor whichever Big 12 and Big Ten games are slotted into the 9 a.m. window, then re-assess for next season.

"By delaying any early kickoffs until at least 2020, the Pac-12 will allow time for the schools and fans to plan for the unusual logistics."

While there is interest in testing out earlier games, Stanford head coach David Shaw is opposed.

"I don't know that you can find any group of 18-to-22-year-olds that will go to bed at 10:00 at night to get up at 6:00 in the morning to be able to perform athletically," Shaw told Yahoo Sports' Sam Cooper on July 24. 

Shaw noted he thought games beginning at "11, 11:30 or noon ... would be great." 

The Pac-12 now has at least one more year to get everybody on the same page.