Championship Saturday in college football has long been in a thorn in the side of the Pac-10. Rivalry games were always getting upstaged by SEC, Big 12 and ACC championship games, and it always felt like college football nation had a diminished eye turned toward its biggest matchups
Now, the Pac-12 gets a night to claim its own on the final week of the regular season. All it needs is Rebecca Black to sing the National Anthem, and we're set for the next decade.
There are plenty of positives of a Pac-12 football championship game on Friday night, but there are some drawbacks. We'll discuss them after the jump.
Sound off: What do you think about a Friday night Pac-12 football title game?
The nice thing is obviously the TV exclusivity. Friday night before Championship Saturday is a pretty sparse sports viewing day--as far as I know, only the MAC championship is being broadcast that night, and this telecast should definitely take precedence around the country. It'll provide a nice window for East Coast viewers into the best that West Coast college football has to offer. And the Pac-12 doesn't have to fight space with the SEC (late afternoon), Big Ten & ACC (evening) for a premium TV slot; it can be its own game on its own night. Pretty sweet deal from a media perspective.
Of course, not all is peachy. For one, the short week after Thanksgiving could hurt the overall quality of the game, as the turnaround will be short--there will be only time for maybe two strong scrimmages before the Friday contest, as Thursday is no longer a viable practice date (usually the day before the game is the rest period). The Pac-12 will not be moving all its games up from Saturday (although Cal & ASU will be playing a Friday game), but it should be considered in future seasons to give teams a better rest period before their next contest.
Additionally, the late start will provide a huge advantage to the home team. To make the turnaround even starker, the Pac-12 road opponents will have to depart on Thursdays, arrive Thursday night, then after the morning walk-around, wait all day Friday for the game in their hotels before arriving for a game in a certainly hostile environment. Judge for yourself whether the advantage is deserved or not--you could say it gives extra incentive for finishing the regular season with the best overall conference record.
Also, ticket sales. How will they be managed? Will the time and date of the Pac-12 title game influence the overall cost of the tickets? Will passionate home fans be priced out a bit? Will fans from outside the local collegiate communities have trouble attending a Friday early evening start? Could sales be depressed? Would the home stadium idea work if some football fans don't turn out?
There's a lots of things worth discussing about the Pac-12 title game. It certainly is unique and will be its own platform, but do the benefits outweigh the costs? It remains to be seen, but it'll be a bold experiment nonetheless.