Is Sunday football in the Pac-12’s future?


Sunday football is as American as apple pie, reality TV and outdoor music festivals all put together.

For football fans, it’s a weekly holiday that makes hugging bartenders and high-fiving strangers acceptable — even if only for a few hours.

But an NFL lockout would put the kibosh on more than just bar lines and fantasy league invitations — it would be a direct shot to restaurants, cable and dish providers, advertisers and, of course, the city of Las Vegas.

Fans of the NFL would be forced to take a hiatus from a cavalcade of stars like Brady and Manning.

Granted, all of this is hypothetical, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his cronies still have plenty of time to negotiate new terms for a collective bargaining agreement with the players.

But it can’t hurt to entertain the potential of such a void — just ask Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott.

In an interview last month with Yahoo! Sports’ Rivals.com, Scott suggested the conference had thought about playing Sundays, though obviously it is a vision predicated on many other plans.

“We certainly are monitoring the situation,” Scott said in the interview. “We have no plans in place at this time, but you want to be prepared and consider all options.”

He might call it being prepared, but I call it being quietly innovative.

The Pac-10 needs to shake things up, more than just adding two schools and changing a few logos. I’m talking the kind of move that makes people notice you, whether they want to or not.

What better way to make the most of an unfortunate situation than for the conference to seize control of a day already synonymous with watching football?

Who needs Rodgers and Brees when you have pro-prospects like Luck and Barkley willing to play for free each week?

I realize this would involve more than just some simple maneuvering by the NCAA, the Pac-10 and the networks that regularly broadcast Sunday games (CBS, FOX and ESPN).

But if ignorance can be bliss for a few moments, why shouldn’t Scott think long and hard about making this work if the chips fall his way?

The SEC and Big 12 have their own networks. The ACC broadcasts a majority of its games on ESPN. Even schools like TCU and Boise State, which hail from outside the major conferences, get more national exposure than any Pac-10 school.

At a time in the collegiate landscape when East Coast and Southeast biases have clouded perception of what the Pac-10 has to offer, isn’t this a chance to flip the script?

When approached about this same topic, Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne noted this wouldn’t even be the first time the conference has been asked to adapt to playing on different days of the week.

“Thursday night football hasn’t been around forever, and we adjusted to that,” Byrne said. “Sunday is a day a lot of people look to watch football. You would get good exposure.”

I come from the school of thought that any kind of publicity is good publicity.

That might seem moronic, but do you really want to root for a school that plays in the least-televised conference of any of the major six?

I don’t.

Sure, USC, Oregon and even Stanford get on ABC or ESPN from time to time. But imagine that every Sunday for three whole months.

It will never compare to the quality of play that exists at the professional level, but it will allow your school the opportunity to get more than an occasional showcase.

Call me a dreamer, but if things can’t be resolved in the NFL, this looks like a chance for the Pac-10 to make lemonade.

 

“For The Love Of The Game” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Dave at dulberg@usc.edu.