USC Morning Buzz: What Was With All The Night Games Last Season?

One complaint I keep hearing from USC fans is they hate going to night games at the Coliseum.

It’s not a new argument, obviously, and former Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was among the vocal critics of all the night games some teams played.

So I decided to see how many night games each Pac-12 school played last season.

Pac-12 North

Oregon — 6
Oregon State — 6 Cal — 6
Stanford — 3
Washington — 5
Washington State — 6

Pac-12 South

Arizona — 9
Arizona State — 7
Colorado — 8
Utah — 7
USC — 7
UCLA — 8

Now, the Arizona schools are always going to have a lot of night games because it is usually too hot in September and even early October to play day games in the desert.

But it doesn’t seem fan friendly to have so many schools play half-or-more of their regular season games at night. It’s also true, at least last year, that the Pac-12 South schools took the brunt of the night games. Stanford played only three night games.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott says there will be fewer night games when the conference signs its next TV deal in 2024.

Even worse, five of USC’s six home games were at night. So if you had season tickets, only one game kicked off before 5 p.m. That meant you probably got home around midnight (or later) most of the time.

I can see why fans complain. And even when it gets addressed, it really doesn’t. In 2016, the Pac-12 announced it would try to convert four night games to earlier kickoffs. Big deal.

As you can see below, night games are not unique. But there were less night games in 1956.

The reason there are so many night games is because Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and the schools’ presidents didn’t really care when the current TV deal was signed in 2011. They just wanted the $3 billion over 12 years.

As usual, the fans paid the price.

16 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: What Was With All The Night Games Last Season?

  1. Nobody cares about a conference that never produces playoff teams, and doesn’t hold football to a high regard. When Colorado hired Karl Dorrell over much more qualified candidates, the national media laughed, and made predictions as to when he gets fired. USC is the face of the PAC 12, but they don’t take the sport serious either, so what better way to hide the garage, then to schedule lots of night games ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Night games are better for Helton and Bohn —too late to drive home, easier to spend the night downtown.
      Speaking of happy things and things that give joy, it’s nice to know Larry Scott plans to be around to negotiate the 2024 Pac 12 TV deal….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Does not bother me. I’m a night person. I usually don’t go to bed before 1 AM on the weekends anyway. Plus I like night games on Saturday so I can stay up and watch them. I realize I’m in the minority, but this is something I cannot get worked up about.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. College football games should be played mostly in the afternoon. An occasional night game yes, but afternoon college football is What most people prefer. No exposure to the rest of the country if you play all night games.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree that the tradition is all about afternoon games. 100%. But one issue is that for Trojans, ruins, and the Arizona schools, afternoon games are pretty rough until mid-late October.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. gotroy22 — excellent point. Back in the day with Pete, voters would watch the highlights of evening games the next day, because who wouldn’t want to see how USC played? Now, the entire conference is an afterthought.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Wolf

    I agree with your comments about night games. As a long time USC football season ticket holder (nearly 40 years), I definitely hate the night games. I can tolerate 5PM but 7:30pm is unacceptable considering my work and family duties. The UCLA game this November was so much fun since it started at 12:30PM and we got back the Victory Bell!!

    Unfortunately, the same could be said for the start times for college basketball games. All of the 8PM start time are a joke!! Saturday evening games are horrible. Again the noon start at Galen for the March UCLA game was great and or course, ding goes the Bell!!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I despise night games.

    But the ones that really suck are the Thursday and Friday night games. Having those games at 6 PM or later is just plain inconvenient especially when you consider L.A. traffic.

    Who has the time to make a mad dash from work into downtown L.A. and then come home at midnight or later on a “school/work night?”



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