With kickoff set for 9 a.m. PT, No. 20 Southern California will prepare for Saturday’s season opener against Arizona State with a round of COVID-19 testing and an early bedtime.
From Friday evening through the following morning, the program’s itinerary more closely resembles boot camp than your typical college football weekend:
The Trojans will be in their rooms Friday night by 7:15, followed by lights out at 9:30.
Reveille comes at 6 a.m., with a staff meeting beginning 15 minutes later. Arrival at the Coliseum is scheduled for 7.
Arizona State will begin Saturday even earlier, with breakfast service starting at 4:45.
“No one will be there at 4:45 except probably for me,” said Arizona State coach Herm Edwards. “I get up really early.”
Considered before last season but tabled over concerns how the early starts would impact the fan experience — not an issue this season with only families allowed in attendance — the decision to schedule games into the noon ET window will draw more eyeballs to the Pac-12 during a frantic race to the end of the regular season.
“This will be a great coming-out for the Pac-12. A lot of exposure, a lot of opportunity for our schools to show where they are,” commissioner Larry Scott told USA TODAY Sports. “We realize we’re coming from behind in terms of the national conversation around football. It was important strategically for our league to kick off our first week with big, important games as well as big exposure opportunities.”