Buffs, Trojans To Do Friday Night Lights
BOULDER - The Pacific-12 Conference and ESPN announced Monday that this fall's Southern California at Colorado football game will move to Friday, November 4, and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
The kickoff time has been set for 7 p.m. mountain time at CU's Folsom Field. The game originally had been scheduled for the next day, but was moved to Friday to accommodate a national TV audience.
The Buffaloes officially join the Pac-12 this July 1, after spending the last 15 years as a member of the Big 12.
Colorado has played a Friday home game in every odd-numbered year since 1997, but those were against Nebraska and all were the Friday after Thanksgiving when campus was closed for the extended holiday weekend. Weekday games while classes are in session are rare, due to the logistical challenges they present with late afternoon kickoff times.
The Buffaloes hosted West Virginia on Sept. 18, 2008, a Thursday, the first home weeknight game since 1990, when Stanford played CU on Thursday, Sept. 6. The only other home weeknight game in school history came in 1989, when CU opened the season on Labor Day night (Monday, Sept. 4) against Texas. CU also enjoyed success in these games, winning all three.
CU officials requested the game be considered for Friday telecast instead of the standard Thursday window ESPN utilizes for Pac-12 games, and also for delay in the kickoff from the usual 5:45 or 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; both ESPN and Pac-12 made the accommodation to help the school's best interests.
"I believe this game will provide us another opportunity to highlight our beautiful campus and its many achievements," CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said. "These rare weeknight games provide a spotlight on CU-Boulder for a national audience, and create a sense of community across the campus."
"This will be a great opportunity to showcase our entire program and the university," athletic director Mike Bohn said. "It was a great atmosphere three years ago for the West Virginia game, and I am appreciative of the cooperation from the Boulder campus to make this happen."
ESPN and the Pac-12 will announce the remainder of its early September and national schedules next week. The first three weeks in September are selected by the network for broadcast on either ABC or ESPN; those games not selected then are on the board for Fox Sports Net to choose from, with a June 1 deadline to do so.
Colorado opens the season at Hawai'i on Sept. 3, hosts California on Sept. 10, and plays Colorado State in Denver on Sept. 17. While time and TV arrangements have not been confirmed for any of those games, the Hawai'i game, once rumored to be candidate for a weeknight telecast, will not be moved and thus will remain on that Saturday. That's an important factor for those CU fans making travel arrangements to see Jon Embree's debut as Colorado head coach in the season opener.