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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Those early kickoffs for West Coast teams

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

As you know, I'm headed to Detroit this evening so I can be in place for Sunday's game between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. I'll be joined by NFC West colleague Mike Sando, who I hope can drag himself out of bed in time for what is a 10 a.m. PT kickoff.

In all seriousness, Sando has made a point to track the abysmal performance of West Coast teams when they play the early game in the Eastern time zone. As Sando noted earlier Saturday, the 49ers have lost 25 of the 29 non-division games that have started at 1 p.m. ET.

Two of their four victories have come this season, at the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals. So the 49ers have either learned to adjust their body clocks under new coach Jim Harbaugh, or they've fluked their way into a pair of victories they won't match for another six years.

Jumping on the team bus when your body clock tells you it's 6 or 7 a.m. is probably a bit jarring. So is crushing heads on the opening kickoff at 10 a.m. No matter what the 49ers have done this year, a trend that maintains an 86-percent rate seems pretty important to me.