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The Big 12 Is Already Doing the Late Time Slot Better than the Pac-12

#Big12AfterDark > #Pac12AfterDark.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Another battle in the Big 12/Pac-12 war has gone the way of the Big 12.

TV numbers came back for the future Big 12 matchup of Baylor and BYU from Saturday night, a 26-20 overtime win for the Cougars. The game drew 2.4 million viewers, ESPN’s best late-night Saturday game since 2016.

Pac-12 After Dark was one of the few things the West Coast league had going for it, but with Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark saying he wants to move into the Pacific time zone, it appears Big 12 After Dark can be just as good a hashtag.

“Obviously, going out west is where I would like to go, entering that fourth time zone,” Yormark told Cincinnati reporter Justin Williams last week.

With BYU, the Big 12 hits three of the four major U.S. time zones, only missing on the Pacific. But as the Big 12 and Pac-12 enter an arms race for relevancy, rumors have swirled on the Big 12 dipping into an unstable Pac-12 and plucking a few schools — Utah, Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado seeming the most likely candidates.

Public animosity between the two conferences picked up at Pac-12 Media Days this summer when Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said the Big 12 was trying to destabilize his league, a league the Big Ten already destabilized by taking away the Los Angeles market.

“I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference,” Kliavkoff said in July. “I understand why they’re doing it, when you look the relative media value between the two conferences. I get it, I get why they’re scared, why they’re trying to destabilize it. I was just tired of that. That’s probably not the most collegial thing I’ve ever said.”

The media value between the conferences remains to be seen, but with the Big 12 accelerating its media rights negotiations, the Pac-12 lost its advantage of negotiating a deal before the Big 12. With some Pac-12 schools reportedly enquiring about a Big Ten move, the Big 12, which added BYU, Houston, UCF and Cincinnati after Oklahoma and Texas announced they were moving to the SEC, seems the more stable of the two conferences right now. It’s hard to imagine the Big 12’s more solid footing would be a disadvantage in these media rights negotiations.

And if the one thing the Pac-12 has going for it is the late-night time slot that the Big 12 can do better anyway, it’s another notch in the win column for Yormark’s new-look league.

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