Posted by Tom Fornelli
I watch a lot of college football every year. Some people have always liked to use their Saturdays to go outside or spend time with their families, but I've always preferred watching college kids beat each other up on the gridiron. I live in Chicago, after all, and it gets cold outside in the fall, I don't want to go out there.
I prefer the comforts of my recliner and the television. It's because of all this college football that I watch that I'm comfortable saying that I know quite a bit about teams from all over the country, but I'll openly admit that I know less about the teams on the west coast of the country than I do teams in the east, midwest and south. Some would tell you that this is because of the east-coast bias that exists in the media that largely ignores the other side of the country.
I've no doubt that this plays a part of it, but there's always been a bigger reason for me. On any given Saturday I'll watch 12 hours of college football, starting at 11am local time through the end of the primetime games at 11pm. Unfortunately for me, though I would be interested in watching more Pac-10 games, by the time those games kick off I'm a bit worn down.
LaMichael James is hard enough to keep your eyes on while he's flying down the field, when you're eyes are half-closed and glazed over, it's nearly impossible.
Which is why I'm so happy to hear that the Pac-10 is considering earlier start times for their games, which will allow the rest of the country to tune in a bit more. Last weekend's game between Oregon and Stanford was originally scheduled to start at 8pm PST but was moved up three hours so ABC could feature it as it's primetime game of the week.
Because of the decision, a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn't have had a chance to see either team were able to tune in and see an Oregon offense that is, as Will Brinson put it, like crack on meth. You'll notice that on Sunday Oregon had leapt Boise State in both the AP and Coaches poll to move in to the top three.
Don't think for a second that having this game seen by the entire country didn't play a role in that. Before Saturday's game, most people on the east coast had seen Boise State play more often than they had Oregon.
Moving game times to earlier in the day would help the Pac-10 in a lot of areas. It would give the conference greater exposure throughout the country, which would not only help in possible revenue once the conference launches its own network, but it'll also help the programs expand their recruiting bases to states they don't normally have any access to.
Not to mention that having more games seen nationally would also help get more BCS bowl bids, which in turn lead to more cash money.
Also, there's really no disadvantage to the Pac-10 to do this. It's not like moving games to noon local time would affect attendance at the home stadiums. Noon start times work just fine on the east coast, as do 11 am starts throughout the central time zone.
There is a lot of good football being played in the Pac-10 right now, something folks on the west coast already know, but it's about time the rest of the country was given a chance to figure this out as well.