You may have noticed earlier this week that ESPN unveiled its flagship games for Labor Day weekend, traditionally the first full weekend of the college football season.
Alabama will play Miami in Atlanta. Ole Miss and Louisville will play in Atlanta.
The biggest – bigger than any other match in Week 1 – is Clemson vs. Georgia in Charlotte.
We’ve seen USC play some massive Week 1 games on neutral venues before, most notably against the 2016 Alabama Crimson Tide in Arlington, TX.
There is a common thread running through these three neutral locations: Atlanta, Charlotte and Arlington are not part of the Pac-12 footprint.
Now that George Kliavkoff is set to become the new Pac-12 commissioner – bringing with him experience as president of the Sports and Entertainment division of MGM Resorts – an obvious point arises: USC in particular and the Pac-12 in general make a concerted effort to create neutral venues for week 1 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas?
That only makes sense, right? If neutral venues in other parts of the country are going to host big football games, Las Vegas should be part of this collection of locations.
Let’s be honest: we could say that Phoenix or maybe Seattle could host a neutral site game, but as someone who has lived in these two cities for most of their life, Phoenix has the miserable Las Vegas weather in early September without them. paris attractions. . Seattle is a remote place. Denver poses the added challenge of playing at altitude.
Las Vegas is arguably the best neutral site location in or near the geographic extent of the Pac-12. Vegas-rooted George Kliavkoff (though he’ll be moving to San Francisco to take on his duties as the new commissioner) is well positioned to create neutral-venue games at Allegiant Stadium.
By 2023, the Pac-12 must participate in one of these games … in Las Vegas https://t.co/d7b9TfL7ok
– Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) May 18, 2021
USC or other Pac-12 teams (also Boise State, reminiscent of Chris Petersen’s days) shouldn’t always have to travel across the country and play in front of crowds with more fans from the opposing team. . Other schools can come to Vegas – and their fans can have a great time! – and receive Pac-12 hospitality.
USC fans could be the majority fan group in the seats, however. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change of pace?