Rise and shine, it’s early kickoff time in the Pac-12

Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (2) can’t hold onto the ball as Southern California safety Isaiah Pola-Mao (21) defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. USC won 31-26. | Matt York, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — If any waiters are wondering, Kyle Whittingham will happily take the early-bird special on Saturday mornings this fall.

The Utah football coach wouldn’t mind if you spread that word to whomever schedules Pac-12 starting times, either. Early kickoff times for the upcoming Pac-12 season were a topic during Wednesday’s virtual media day, and Whittingham let it be known that he’d rather play sooner than later.

“We practice in the morning. For us, it’s business as usual as far as the body clock. As far as playing a live football game, we haven’t done that. No one in our conference has done that. When you get to play on national television against a team like USC, it brings excitement to our players.” — ASU coach Herm Edwards

A conference that so often gets its national TV window in the #Pac12AfterDark spot with 8 and 8:30 p.m. late-night kickoffs will break from tradition when it begins league play on Nov. 7. USC will host Arizona State at 9 a.m. local time in Southern California. It’s believed to be the earliest start in conference history.

Consider Whittingham a bit envious — and hopeful that some of his team’s six games will get the coveted kickoff time.

“It wouldn’t bother us a bit,” Whittingham said. “And we would take as many of those as they offer to us.”

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Not every coach is happy with the prospects of playing at a time that used to be reserved for Saturday morning cartoons.

“I think it’s early,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Kids don’t go to bed at 9 o’clock at night. They just don’t and aren’t built that way. They need sleep, and sleep enhances performance. I’m not a fan.”

Shaw said a 9 a.m. kickoff means a 6 a.m. wake-up call.

Arizona State’s Herm Edwards is fine with that, especially considering his highly touted team — picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South by media — is facing division favorite USC on FOX in a primo noon Eastern time slot.

“We practice in the morning. For us, it’s business as usual as far as the body clock,” Edwards said. “As far as playing a live football game, we haven’t done that. No one in our conference has done that. When you get to play on national television against a team like USC, it brings excitement to our players.”

The 9 a.m. start will be the earliest for USC since the Trojans were called the Methodists and played Loyola at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 1891, according to Pac-12 writer Jon Wilner of The Mercury News.

“To have this opportunity, we’re all excited about it,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “It wasn’t long ago we were watching other teams play, and it hurts your soul.”

Helton …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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