Larry Scott, in attendance at Husky Stadium on Saturday night, says Kirk Herbstreit's comments earlier in the day were "unfortunate."
In one of the latest start times ever at Husky Stadium, Washington kicked off to California at 7:50 p.m. Saturday. Some 12 hours earlier, during ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” show, Kirk Herbstreit offered a strong rebuttal to some the complaints about the late kickoffs in the Pac-12.
“As an advocate on this show for the Pac-12 for the last 20 years, wanting to try to bring as much exposure to that conference as we can, you should be thanking ESPN for actually having a relationship thanks to Larry Scott with the Pac-12 because now your games are seen,” Herbstreit said on air.
Those comments came during a discussion about Chris Petersen’s apology Monday to UW fans over the late start times. Washington hasn’t had a game start earlier than 5 p.m. Pacific time this season, and next Saturday’s game at Arizona State has been scheduled for a 7:45 p.m. kickoff (also on ESPN).
Petersen had called the late start times “painful.”
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Scott, the Pac-12 commissioner, was in attendance at Husky Stadium on Saturday night. He said Herbstreit’s comments directed at Petersen were “unfortunate.”
“Coach Pete is a great guy,” Scott said. “We’re fortunate to have him in the conference. His heart’s in the right place and I appreciate him being sympathetic to fans. I know he only wants what’s best, so I don’t think anyone should be taking shots at him.
“By the same token,” he continued, “these agreements were made by all our schools before Coach Pete got here. And it was a vast improvement in terms of our revenue and exposure as a result these agreements.”
Scott said he talked briefly with Petersen on the field before the game, and UW’s coach apologized to the commissioner because Petersen felt his comments were “overblown.”
It was Scott who negotiated the conference’s 12-year, $3-billion television rights deal with ESPN and FOX that began in 2012. He said he “delivered exactly what the schools were asking for” in the TV deal, adding that there’s no wiggle room in altering the night-game schedule until the deal expires after the 2024 season.
The night games, Scott said, are the tradeoff for increased revenue and exposure for the Pac-12.
In first five years of Pac-12’s TV deal, he claimed night games drew on average an audience that was 12 percent larger than audiences for day-time games.
“What tends to happen is, the better you do the more attractive you are for TV and the more you’re going to get scheduled in the night,” Scott said.
Soderberg takes over
Redshirt freshman Van Soderberg took over as UW’s place-kicker Saturday night, converting his first career field-goal attempt, from 23 yards, in the second quarter against Cal.
Soderberg, out of Olympia’s Capital High, replaced struggling senior Tristan Vizcaino, who missed from 38 yards in the first quarter. Vizcaino is 4-for-9 this season on field-goal attempts.
All we saw was …
The Huskies went with an all-purple look Saturday night, featuring purple pants, purple jerseys and a brand-new purple chrome helmets with the “W” in matte black.
It’s the first time the Huskies have worn purple uniforms since hosting Cal in September 2015. Cal, led by quarterback Jared Goff, won that game in 2015.