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A brief explanation to the rare morning kickoff in Pittsburgh.
In case you haven't heard, the Pitt-Louisville game at Heinz Field is Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The start time is a rare one to say the least. ESPN and the Big East conference determine start times for games. The Big East was given one televised slot for the week, and the Pitt game appeared to be the top choice. Pitt and Steve Pedersen had no say in this, and obviously they would have refused if they could.
So why 11:00 A.M. you ask? The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is this. Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M were supposed to play on Thursday, August 30 on ESPNU. Hurricane Isaac forced the game to be postponed. The two teams had a mutual bye week this weekend. Louisiana Tech does not get much national attention, and a game on national TV (albeit ESPNU) against an SEC school at home is a big deal for them. ESPN is honoring the contract they had with Louisiana Tech.
The typical ESPNU Saturday slate is noon, 3:30, 7:30, and 10:00 p.m.. This Saturday it will be 11:00, 2:30, 6:00, and 9:00 p.m. My guess is that it's to avoid giving a team a 10:00 east coast start time, but unfortunately Pitt and Louisville get the 11:00 start time. It's not much of an explanation, but it's the only thing that makes sense to me for an 11:00 kickoff in October.