New Pac-12 football scheduling no good for fans 

The latest sign that running after TV money is going to kill the golden goose for college football: The Pac-12 will televise games on Thursday and Friday nights this season.

Friday night should be for high school games, Saturday for college games, Sunday for NFL games.

Even more importantly, those in charge of college football scheduling should start considering their audience.

The  NFL, which is totally TV-oriented, does a much better job of scheduling. Each week, there are games on Sunday and Monday nights, which involve four of the 32 teams, but otherwise, all the games are on Sunday. There are also games on Thanksgiving Day and games on Saturday after the collegiate season is over, but those are minor aberrations.

So, fans can plan their social schedules for six months. Season-ticket holders tailgate with their family and friends at home games and then party with the same group in front of their television sets for the road games.

Most important, fans can pick up their schedules months before the season starts and know when and where the games will be played.

College football used to be like that. Games were played at virtually the same time week after week, so fans could plan ahead.

Not now. If you look at the college schedules when they come out, a majority of the games will have the dreaded TBA for the time they’ll be played. That means that they’ll be played whenever TV requires. Stanford had a game last year with Wake Forest that started after 8 p.m. — 11 p.m. for the Wake Forest fans watching on TV.
Stanford is an excellent example of what’s happening in college football.

In the ’60s and ’70s, 60,000 was a small crowd for Stanford, playing in its old stadium which held 90,000. Crowds of 70,000 were normal and they swelled to more than 80,000 for USC games  and the Big Game.

Now, playing in a new stadium with the modern conveniences the old one lacked and much better sightlines, Stanford has reached its 50,000-seat capacity only three times — two Big Games, when the Cal contingent was very large, and for USC.

What’s happened? The TBA schedules have killed tailgating.

Some people think tailgating started at Stanford because its huge expanse of parking makes it easy to find room for big spreads. When games all started at 12:45 or 1 p.m., it was easy to set up for lunch before the game and snacks after. It was a very pleasant experience, even when Stanford lost.

Now, with so many games with later starting times, you can forget about the tailgates.

This is not just a local problem. In the Midwest, for instance, even big program schools like Notre Dame and Ohio State have large groups of fans who drive from as far away as 100 miles. Driving home after night games is no picnic.

NFL commissioners from Pete Rozelle on have feared that the pro game might become a studio game because football televises so well, but it is the college game that is in the most danger. When you’re looking around at sparsely populated stadiums, gentlemen, remember that you brought this on yourselves.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on Email him at

About The Author

Glenn Dickey

Glenn Dickey

Pin It

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation