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CU football: Rick George bothered by late starts in Pac-12

PULLMAN, Wash. — Pac-12 After Dark has become a catchy slogan this season.

While it sounds good, it’s not so popular among the schools and a portion of their fans.

Several Pac-12 coaches and administrators have complained about the high volume of night games this season, and Colorado’s got as much right as anybody to complain. On Saturday, Colorado played its ninth night game as it visited No. 24 Washington State at Martin Stadium.

“I understand the (television) contract and there is a need for night games,” CU athletic director Rick George said. “I’m not particularly happy; I would say I’m unhappy with how many night games we’ve had.

“I would also say that some of those night games are good for us because it does give some exposure for our program.”

While the exposure of playing in prime time is nice, playing nearly every week at night has been draining on the Buffs. Saturday, in particular, was a tough one for the Buffs.

Kickoff was slated for 8:51 p.m., which left the Buffs traveling back home over night. The Buffs were slated to get home in time for breakfast on Sunday.

“We’ve had eight or nine night games this year, and for us to play at 7:51 p.m. Pacific Time in Pullman, which is a really long trip, after we’ve already played the number of (night) games that we have, I’m not sure that anybody would be happy with that,” George said.

“To play at 7:45 this time of year in Pullman or in Boulder, I’m not so sure that makes sense to anybody.”

The night games are a byproduct of the Pac-12’s television contracts. The conference will receive $3 billion from ESPN and Fox over the next 12 years.

There are only so many TV windows available, which leads to late night games.

George understands that. But, he’d like to see the conference try to fix the issue and prevent teams from have so many night games in one season.

“I certainly think we ought to look at that process, yes,” George said. “We’ve had some initial discussions with the conference office. But, I think we ought to have continued discussions about that, for sure.”

CU will close the season with a day game, as it travels to Utah for a 12:37 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.