Petersen has been highly critical of late games for Washington and other Pac-12 teams, citing a lack of national exposure for games with a 10 p.m. ET kickoff and a preference to play more games in the early afternoon.
"So much of this and what we do comes down money,” Petersen said last week. “[TV] contracts are big. They tell us when to play.”
This seems to be a common bellyaching over the years among Pac-12 coaches whose teams have played a string of night games. It hasn’t really happened much with the Huskies during Petersen’s tenure. In his first three seasons, the UW has kicked off at 4 p.m. or earlier in 20 of its 41 games. But so far this season, the Huskies have not had a kickoff time set earlier that 5 p.m."
His comments set off ESPN college football analyst and announcer Kirk Herbstreit, who said on College GameDay that Pac-12 schools "should be thanking ESPN" for trying to bring as much attention as exposure to the conference.
Are either of them wrong? No, but both comments were met with mixed reactions, with some believing Herbstreit has no right to preach atop his soap box about the charitable services of the network.
And now Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is jumping into the ring. While he stopped short of blasting the former Buckeyes' quarterback, he does agree with Petersen, although for different reasons.
“I understand TV contracts are kind of ruling, but when you start talking about student-athletes, they shouldn’t have to play four night games on the road,” Meyer said. “I talked to [Ohio State director of athletics] Gene Smith about it and I’m going to bring it up to [Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany]. We’ll find out if we really do care about getting home at four o’clock in the morning four times. You don’t do that.”
Ohio State has already played two road primetime games this season (Indiana and Rutgers, both at 7:30 p.m. ET) and is scheduled for a third in Week 7 at Nebraska. Given their brand and annual spot in conference and playoff races, but does Meyer have a point? And even if he does, will money-hungry programs and conferences feel compelled to give up primetime cash and exposure to please their coaches?
As of Thursday morning, Herbstreit or ESPN has not responded to Meyer. Maybe he's saving it for College GameDay this weekend at James Madison.