Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Three For 2017

Same as the posts for weeks zero & one and week two

Thursday
My inclination is this is one week where an American Athletic Conference game could be moved the Thursday night game.  If I had a choice, it would be Virginia Tech at East Carolina.  The Hokies host Delaware the previous Saturday while ECU visits West Virginia.  Georgia Tech at UCF would be my backup, though I don't know if UCF would be willing to face an option team on a short week after conference opponent Memphis.  UCLA also travels to Memphis this week, but I don't believe UCLA would agree to a cross country road trip on a short week.

Dark horses: Kentucky at South Carolina & Purdue at Missouri.  Both South Carolina & Missouri have hosted Thursday night SEC games before.  Purdue is playing the Friday before, so while it is a short week, it's only one day short on preparation.

7:30pm ESPN: Virginia Tech at East Carolina

Friday
Four Mountain West schools are currently not scheduled for this Saturday with the following potential matchups based on scheduled opponents:

New Mexico at Boise St.
Hawai'i at UNLV
UNLV at New Mexico

I could see the New Mexico at Boise St. game being selected as a doubleheader with Illinois at USF with Illinois at USF starting at 7pm, but without the Mountain West schedule, I can't guarantee any of these potential matchups would be played this week.  Choosing a Boise St. game here also knocks out one of their three required ESPN or ESPN2 appearances as part of the Mountain West TV contract.

7pm ESPN: Illinois at USF
10:15pm ESPN: New Mexico at Boise St.

Saturday
For this week, I'm assuming FOX has top Big Ten and Pac-12 choices & ESPN has best Big 12 game. FOX has committed to a MLB window at 1pm ET and I'm assuming a game at 4pm ET as well followed by a UFC Fight Night card on FS1, which would lead to only one game on FS1 that day.

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  All three ABC slots are occupied by ACC games.

For the two Mountain West home games vs. Pac-12 schools, CBS Sports Network does get to cherry pick a handful of games each season over ESPN.  My suspicion is that they'll look to take both Oregon at Wyoming & Stanford at San Diego St.

12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Boston College
12pm ESPN: Army at Ohio St.
12pm ESPN2: Georgia St. at Penn St.
12pm FS1: Tulane at Oklahoma
12pm ESPNU: UCLA at Memphis
12pm ESPNEWS: Iowa St. at Akron
12pm FSN: SMU at TCU
12pm SEC: Purdue at Missouri
12pm SEC: Samford at Georgia
12pm CBSSN: Kansas at Ohio
12pm BTN: FIU at Indiana
12pm BTN: Morgan St. at Rutgers
12:30pm ACC Network: Connecticut at Virginia
2pm Pac-12: San Jose St. at Utah
2pm ROOT Sports Pittsburgh: Delaware St. at West Virginia
3pm ACC RSNs: Central Michigan at Syracuse
3:30pm ABC: Miami (FL) at Florida St.
3:30pm CBS: Tennessee at Florida
3:30pm ESPN:  Oklahoma St. at Pittsburgh
3:30pm ESPN2: Arizona St. at Texas Tech
3:30pm ESPNU: Baylor at Duke
3:30pm CBSSN: Oregon at Wyoming
3:30pm BTN: Bowling Green at Northwestern
3:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Nebraska
3:30pm ASN: Cincinnati at Miami (OH)
4pm ESPNEWS: Rice at Houston
4pm SEC: Mercer at Auburn
4pm SEC: UL-Lafayette at Texas A&M
4:30pm FOX: Air Force at Michigan
5pm Pac-12: Oregon St. at Washington St.
7pm ESPN: LSU at Mississippi St.
7pm ESPN2: Colorado St. at Alabama
7pm ESPNU: Kansas St. at Vanderbilt
7pm CBSSN: Georgia Tech at UCF
7pm ASN: North Carolina at Old Dominion
7:30pm SEC: Kentucky at South Carolina
7:30pm BTN: North Texas at Iowa
7:30pm BTN: Middle Tennessee at Minnesota
8pm ABC: Clemson at Louisville
8pm FOX: Texas at USC
8pm Pac-12: Northern Colorado at Colorado
8pm beIN Sports: Arizona at UTEP
10:15pm ESPN2: Wisconsin at BYU
10:30pm ESPN: Ole Miss at California
10:30pm CBSSN: Stanford at San Diego St.
11pm Pac-12: Fresno St. at Washington

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Week Two For 2017

Same as the Week Zero & One post.  If a game isn't listed, assume it is online only.

Thursday
Nobody on FS1 or ESPN.  Only game available is Idaho St. at Utah St.  ESPN should be busy with US Open tennis.  This would also be the date of the NFL Kickoff game.

Friday 9/8
ESPN should be unavailable due to US Open men's semifinals.  If I were to move a game to a Friday night for ESPN, assuming Ohio at Purdue doesn't belong to them, I'd move Mississippi St. at Louisiana Tech.

8pm ESPN2: Mississippi St. at Louisiana Tech
8pm FS1: Ohio at Purdue

Saturday 9/9
ESPN's mid-afternoon window is unavailable due to the US Open women's final.  I also assumed that FS1 would not be available in the early evening due to either UFC or MLB.  Let's assume UFC PPV prelims since 9/2 has two MLB windows on FS1.  FOX has a 1pm ET MLB window, so I'm starting their early college football window at 4:30pm ET.  Since one of those games happens to involve the Pirates, it feels like a natural lead in to the Pittsburgh at Penn St. game (here's hoping the MLB game doesn't run long).  The other FOX MLB game, Orioles at Indians, would be a great lead in to Oklahoma at Ohio St., but I don't think FOX will have two Big Ten games on their broadcast network & I don't think this game would be doubleheadered with Stanford at USC.  I am also working under the assumption that ESPN is sublicensing one SEC game to CBS that is not the top choice.

Since both Pac-12 Arizona schools are currently set to host on Saturday, I believe one of the two Pac-12 games involving the Arizona schools will be on either an ESPN platform or FS1 since they really can't be played at the same time on Pac-12 Networks, if you work under the premise that the game should be on both the national and Arizona feeds.

I worked under the premise that ESPN had the top Big Ten and Big 12 choices and FOX had the top Pac-12 choice.  Please understand that I have no idea who is picking when.

12pm ABC: Louisville at North Carolina
12pm ESPN: Cincinnati at Michigan
12pm ESPN2: Iowa at Iowa St.
12pm FS1: East Carolina at West Virginia
12pm FSN: UTSA at Baylor
12pm ESPNU: UL-Monroe at Florida St.
12pm ESPNEWS: Memphis at UCF
12pm CBSSN: Buffalo at Army (semi-confirmed)
12pm SEC: Indiana St. at Tennessee
12pm BTN: Eastern Michigan at Rutgers
12pm BTN: Towson at Maryland
12pm ASN: UL-Lafayette at Tulsa
12:30pm ACC Network: Marshall at NC State
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Wake Forest at Boston College
2pm Pac-12: Texas St. at Colorado
3:30pm ABC: Auburn at Clemson
3:30pm CBS: South Carolina at Missouri
3:30pm ESPN2: Indiana at Virginia
3:30pm FSN: Charlotte at Kansas St.
3:30pm ESPNU: Northwestern at Duke
3:30pm CBSSN: Tulane at Navy (confirmed)
3:30pm BTN: FAU at Wisconsin
3:30pm BTN: Western Michigan at Michigan St.
3:30pm ASN: UAB at Ball St.
4pm FS1: Boise St. at Washington St.
4pm ESPN: Fresno St. at Alabama
4pm SEC: Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
4:30pm FOX: Pittsburgh at Penn St.
5pm Pac-12: Minnesota at Oregon St.
5pm Pac-12 Bay Area: Weber St. at California
7pm ESPN: TCU at Arkansas
7pm ESPN2: Chattanooga at LSU
7pm ESPNU: Miami (FL) at Arkansas St.
7pm CBSSN: USF at Connecticut
7pm ASN: Rice at UTEP
7:30pm NBC: Georgia at Notre Dame
7:30pm SEC: UT Martin at Ole Miss
7:30pm SEC: Nicholls at Texas A&M
7:30pm FSN: Central Michigan at Kansas
7:30pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Illinois
8pm ABC: Oklahoma at Ohio St.
8pm FOX: Stanford at USC
8pm ESPNEWS: Oklahoma St. at South Alabama
8pm Pac-12: Montana at Washington
8pm Longhorn: San Jose St. at Texas
10pm FS1: Houston at Arizona
10:15pm ESPN2: Utah at BYU
10:15pm ESPNU: Hawai'i at UCLA
10:30pm ESPN: Nebraska at Oregon
10:30pm CBSSN: Toledo at Nevada
11pm Pac-12: San Diego St. at Arizona St.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Way Too Early CFB TV Guesses for Weeks Zero & One For 2017

Schedule for weeks zero & one

These are guesses, particularly with a few of the games switching to a weeknight or Sunday date.  Please do not take this as gospel or that I have some inside track on a move, because I don't.  There seems to be an appetite for these posts at this point in the year.  I'm just feeding it.

If a game isn't listed, assume ESPN3, Campus Insiders or a conference's/school's streaming package.

"Week Zero" (all Saturday 8/26)
Games on "Week Zero" either involve Hawai'i, opponents of Hawai'i in 2016, games outside the continental U.S. or FCS games that are moved for the explicit purpose of national television.  Florida A&M at Texas Southern, which was scheduled for 8/26, may not have all the necessary paperwork in place to play on this date.

I know there was a graphic touting a 8pm ET start for Stanford at Rice.  That's 10am local time in Sydney.  I'll push that a couple hours to match last year's noon start.

3pm BYUtv: Portland St. at BYU
7pm ASN: Hawai'i at Massachusetts
7pm ESPN: Chattanooga vs. Jacksonville St. (confirmed)
7pm CBSSN: USF at San Jose St.
10pm ESPN2: Stanford vs. Rice

Thursday 8/31
I think the ACC RSN package will again have a game this evening with there being very few FOX affiliated RSNs that could have baseball that evening right now.  Also, Kentucky at Southern Miss has not moved to Thursday from its Saturday date, so that's a guess on both the date change and TV outlet.

7pm ACC RSNs: Presbyterian at Wake Forest
7:30pm ESPNU: Kentucky at Southern Miss
7:30pm Pac-12: North Dakota at Utah
7:30pm SNY: Holy Cross at Connecticut
8pm ESPN: Ohio St. at Indiana
8pm BTN: Buffalo at Minnesota
10:30pm Pac-12: New Mexico St. at Arizona St.

Friday 9/1
Both the US and Mexico have World Cup qualifiers on this day.  FOX Sports has the English speaking rights to Mexico's game.  I'm unsure who would get the US match as FOX Sports & ESPN split the rights.  As for Big Ten Friday night games, FOX was noted as a possibility for airing games, not just FS1 and ESPN.  I'm also assuming the trend of Michigan St. opening with a Friday night home game will continue as they've opened on a Friday night at home five of the last six years, with the exception being 2015, when they opened on the road on a Friday night at Western Michigan.

7pm FOX: Washington at Rutgers
7pm CBSSN: Fordham at Army
7:30pm BTN: Bowling Green at Michigan St.
8pm ESPN: Utah St. at Wisconsin
8pm ESPNU: Boston College at Northern Illinois
10pm FS1: Colorado St. vs. Colorado

Saturday 9/2
ESPN2 should be unavailable due to US Open tennis.  FS1 has two MLB games scheduled, at 4pm & 7:15pm ET.  The 7:15pm game, Angels at Rangers, is important because it should be a national exclusive to FS1 as both teams have their regional TV deals with FOX Sports.  I could drone on about FS1 & how its national MLB contract appears to work, but this should free up FOX Sports Southwest to carry (concurrent?) Big 12 games.

I am aware that Alabama vs. Florida St. could be selected by CBS.  For the past two seasons, CBS has sublicensed SEC games from ESPN to be able to show SEC games every week of the season, so it appears those weeks they've had anywhere from the second to fourth choice of games and ESPN has been able to show games on ESPN or ESPN2 at the same time.  I just don't know if/how selecting Alabama vs. Florida St. could affect future selections during the season.

12pm ABC: California at North Carolina
12pm ESPN: Akron at Penn St.
12pm FS1: Wyoming at Iowa
12pm ESPNU: Tulsa at Oklahoma St.
12pm FSN: Liberty at Baylor
12pm SEC: Appalachian St. vs Georgia
12pm SEC: Missouri St. at Missouri
12pm BTN: Nevada at Northwestern
12:30pm ACC Network: Kent St. at Clemson
2pm Pac-12: Southern Utah at Oregon
3:30pm ABC: BYU vs. LSU
3:30pm CBS: NC State vs. South Carolina
3:30pm FOX: Louisville vs. Purdue
3:30pm NBC: Temple at Notre Dame
3:30pm ESPNU: Vanderbilt at Middle Tennessee
3:30pm FSN: Eastern Washington at Texas Tech
3:30pm CBSSN: Houston at UTSA
3:30pm BTN: Ball St. at Illinois
3:30pm ASN: Miami (OH) at Marshall
4pm SEC: Charleston Southern at Mississippi St.
5pm Pac-12: Montana St. at Washington St.
5:30pm ESPN: Texas A&M at UCLA
7pm ESPNU: Georgia Southern at Auburn
7pm CBSSN: FIU at UCF
7pm FSN: Jackson St. at TCU
7pm ASN: Grambling at Tulane
7pm beIN Sports: Navy at FAU
7pm Sooners PPV: UTEP at Oklahoma
7pm Jayhawk Sports: Southeast Missouri at Kansas
7pm K-StateHD.TV: Central Arkansas at Kansas St.
7:30pm FOX: Maryland at Texas
7:30pm SEC: South Alabama at Ole Miss
7:30pm SEC: Florida A&M at Arkansas
8pm ABC: Alabama vs. Florida St.
8pm BTN: Arkansas St. at Nebraska
8pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Oregon St.
8pm Cyclones.TV: Northern Iowa at Iowa St.
9pm ESPN: Florida vs. Michigan
10pm FS1: Western Michigan at USC
10:15pm ESPNU: Troy at Boise St.
11pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona

Sunday 9/3
Since Florida vs. Michigan won't be moving to Sunday, I'll take a flier on West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech to move instead, though nothing is set in stone.  FS1 has a NASCAR truck series race & could show a portion of NHRA US Nationals qualifying delayed in the early evening, so they may not move any Big 12 games here.

If no game moves to Sunday, push the 5:30pm & 9pm windows to 7pm (Florida vs. Michigan) & 10:30pm (Texas A&M at UCLA) on Saturday, respectively, put California at North Carolina at 3:30pm ET on ESPN and West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech at 12pm on ABC.

12pm ESPN: South Carolina St. at Southern
3:30pm ESPN: West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

Monday 9/4
8pm ESPN: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Notes on 2017 American Athletic Football Schedule Release & Pac-12 Pairing

Schedule

* For the moment, unless Army moves their game dates around, their home games vs. Buffalo (9/9), Temple (10/21) and Duke (11/11) should all be noon ET starts due to Navy placing home games on those dates at 3:30pm ET.  Both service academies have their home games on CBS Sports Network.

* Adding Tulsa at SMU to the fray on October 27th seems to strongly push Michigan St. at Northwestern towards FOX Sports' pool of Big Ten games unless Florida St. at Boston College is aired on ESPNU.  This could be why the Tulane at Memphis game was set for CBS Sports Network as ESPN may have other plans for ESPNU, such as a Sun Belt game.

* The flexible date of the Navy at Temple game is interesting as there is a Pac-12 game, UCLA at Utah, scheduled for Friday 11/3 as well plus Memphis at Tulsa.  FS1 has a NASCAR Truck Series race from Texas scheduled for that evening at 8:30pm ET.  If the race can finish in around 90 minutes, UCLA at Utah could start at 10pm ET / 8pm MT on FS1, but I think what you'll see is a 7pm ET / 6pm CT start for Memphis at Tulsa with UCLA at Utah following on ESPN2 and Navy at Temple moving to Thursday night.

ESPNU wasn't announced as an option for either American game.  If it is, the start times can be staggered a bit and the doubleheader could be Navy at Temple with the Pac-12 game.

* Similar to 11/3, Temple at Cincinnati could be paired with Washington at Stanford on ESPN2 as FS1 has a Truck Series race from Phoenix at 8:30pm ET.  With both 11/3 and 11/10, ESPN would likely not be available due to the NBA schedule or ESPN showing their Armed Forces Classic men's basketball game, in 2017 from Ramstein AFB in Germany.

* Per the schedule release, both Black Friday games will be on ABC or an ESPN television platform.  ESPN is still scheduling heavily for that date even though they have a fair amount of college basketball to account for on that date with Wooden Legacy & Advocare Invitational, plus the possibility of the NIT Tip Off, Battle 4 Atlantis and the new Phil Knight Invitational event taking up space.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Roundup: Notre Dame Night Games, Schedule Changes, Week Zero & C-USA on ESPN3

* I looked over the NASCAR start times for 2017 and NBC appears to have carved out the USC at Notre Dame game for primetime with the Xfinity Series race from Kansas Speedway on NBC in the afternoon.  Don't think this was for airing the football game on NBCSN.  The NASCAR race on NBC looks like it would be preceded by qualifying for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix as I believe the times listed are local to the track, so the football game wouldn't precede NASCAR either.

The rule around Notre Dame having on-campus night games was that there could be three night games over a two year period.  If that clause is still valid, there won't be a second night game as there were two in 2016.  It appears those two year periods are fixed and not rolling periods as 2015 & 2016 would be one game over the limit.

2014: Michigan
2015: Texas & USC
2016: Michigan St. & Stanford

Please note that the Shamrock Series games played at neutral sites do not count towards this rule.

If the rule changed to two night games per year, and right now I don't think it has, my money for the second night game would be on the Georgia game on 9/9 as the NASCAR race from Richmond that same evening is scheduled to air on NBCSN.

* Iowa St. had a pair of schedule changes last week.   Their game at Akron moved back one week to September 16th and the home game vs. Texas moved back two days to Thursday, September 28th.

ESPN is noted in the release, but I think its possible they were called out specifically for the game at Akron, which would be a MAC controlled telecast.  Whether it moves to a Thursday or Friday evening is still a possibility.  As of this moment, there are no Thursday or Friday night games scheduled for that week, but schedules are still being finalized for the American, Mountain West and Sun Belt, plus games from several conferences could be moved if requested.

Here's a hard truth about Iowa St. at Akron and whether you feel its really national TV worthy: The MAC only hosts a few games vs. Power Five schools each year, even if those P5 schools aren't top flight schools competitively.   The MAC didn't have any home games vs. P5 schools in 2016.  In 2017, the number is three with Boston College at Northern Illinois (scheduled for a Friday night) & Kansas at Ohio the other two games.

As for the Texas game, that feels like a move FOX requested.  Since 2013, FS1 has had a Thursday night game the same Saturday they've aired the Truck Series race from Las Vegas Motor Speedway three of the four seasons plus MLB and/or UFC, which limits the number of football games they can air on Saturday.

2013 - Iowa St. at Tulsa (9/26)
2014 - UCLA at Arizona St. (9/27)
2015 - Aired the NWSL final (no MLB game on Saturday)
2016 - Kansas at Texas Tech (9/29)

* The NCAA legislation around playing games the weekend before Labor Day weekend got some work last week.
  • Texas Southern will travel to Florida A&M on 8/26.  Why am I'm pointing this one out?  The press release didn't mention this, but any FCS game played on the Saturday before Labor Day must be for the purpose of national television per new legislation adopted by the NCAA (search for proposal number 2015-80).  ESPN is already televising their FCS Kickoff Classic between Chattanooga & Jacksonville St., so this could be for another ESPN TV platform or another television network as the proposal explicitly disallows FCS games being moved to this date for Internet only broadcasts.
  • Stanford and Rice have officially moved their season opener to August 26th and to Sydney, Australia.  I am checking with the Pac-12 office to see if the Pac-12 has purchased the TV rights to the game as last year's game in Sydney between California and Hawai'i was available to Pac-12 rightsholders.  EDIT: C-USA retained media rights.  Unlike last year, the game will be played on Saturday, August 26th in the U.S., which will translate to Sunday, August 27th locally in Sydney.  I suspect this is due to finalization of proposal 2015-79-FBS, which explicitly calls out the Saturday before Labor Day where last year's game in Sydney was played on a Friday night in the U.S., Saturday afternoon in Sydney.  Could this change?  Maybe, but the marketing for the game has already been created with the Saturday & Sunday language in place.
* There's not a lot of meat behind what I'm about to say, but both Charlotte and Old Dominion added ESPN3 basketball games to their schedule this week and ODU's release about the additional games discussed how their goal this year was to produce their own ESPN3 content.  Last November, Rice acknowledged the same goal.  I think its possible that you'll see more C-USA content, specifically football games, on ESPN3 next season and maybe less of a reliance on the C-USA.TV platform, though it is a small (probably very small) revenue stream for the schools.

EDIT: Updates below

* FS1 & FS2 will have ten ARCA races scheduled for 2017, with one September race falling on a Friday evening (9/22, Chicagoland).  Last year, FS1 aired the USC at Utah game the same evening they had an ARCA race scheduled, though the ARCA race moved over to FS2 after initially being scheduled for FS1.

* Michigan's ticket department seems to have confirmed that the Florida game, being played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, will not be moved off Saturday 9/2, as there were reports that the game could move to Sunday 9/3 (h/t to GodfatherBoS for the tweet below)
If this is truly finalized, I don't know if that means another game is going to move or not.  There are plenty of other games out there that ESPN could request for a date change to Sunday, with the exception of BYU vs. LSU.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

ACC Schedule Notes & Big Ten Friday Night Game Scheduling

2017 ACC Football Schedule

* The ACC press release did not note the potential television networks for Friday night games Miami at Duke (9/29), Clemson at Syracuse (10/13) and Florida St. at Boston College (10/27), but I would expect them to be ESPN or ESPN2, similar to the three Thursday night games which were noted for ESPN or ESPN2 in the release.  I believe the first two games will be on ESPN and Florida St. at Boston College on ESPN2 as ESPN typically carries the NBA on Fridays starting in late October.

* All three Friday night games above coincide with Fridays where the Big Ten has Friday night games scheduled, with Nebraska at Illinois on 9/29, Northwestern at Maryland on 10/13 and Michigan St. at Northwestern on 10/27.  I don't think that necessarily ties the Big Ten games to FOX Sports as both the ACC and Big Ten could occupy ESPN and ESPN2 on all three nights, though October 27th, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, could be a challenge.  October 13th could be the potential date for ALCS Game 1, so both games on that date could belong to ESPN. October 27th, as mentioned above, has the potential for NBA games on ESPN.  Assuming Florida St. at Boston College on ESPN2 & not ESPNU, that would leave Michigan St. at Northwestern with FOX Sports, more likely FS1 as the MLB calendar notes that the World Series starts on October 24th, making the 27th the date of Game 3, provided a travel day on Thursday & no weather issues.

9/29 and 10/13 also have Pac-12 games scheduled (USC at Washington St & Washington St. at California, respectively), so someone should have a doubleheader or two.  How that will work with 10/13 remains to be seen.

* Miami (FL) at Florida St. & Clemson at Louisville on 9/16?  Would expect both on ABC.  All four schools in the top 25 for ESPN's Way-Too-Early prognostications.  Where they get slotted is anyone's guess as Texas at USC is a big draw that Saturday too.

* Speaking of Miami (FL) vs. Florida St., a mid season date has been the norm, but it has been played in the recent past over Labor Day weekend, so a mid-September date isn't surprising, but it is a bit unique, at least over the past 35 years.

* A location has not been officially set for the '17 ACC football championship game but does need to be finalized soon.  Might be heading back to Orlando for a second year.  When doing a quick Google search, PrimeSport, the ACC's official secondary ticket marketplace, had a lot of text about the game in Orlando, though that text could have been recycled from the 2016 marketing.

Monday, January 16, 2017

More Early CFB '17 Notes and a MBK Tourney Item

* CBS Sports Network picked up its third men's conference championship game with a one-off deal to televise the CAA's championship game, adding to the televising of the C-USA and Patriot League game.  This is the seventh conference championship game inside the CBS family of networks, with the Mountain West, Big Ten, Atlantic 10 and Missouri Valley championships on the broadcast network, the last two via sublicense from ESPN.

The championship game was initially thought to be airing on an ESPN network, but plans apparently have changed.  The press release does not mention if this arrangement is a multi-year deal, nor does it mention the possibility of any regular season games airing on the network next season.

Number of conference championship games in '17
ESPN Networks: 24
CBS & CBS Sports Network: 7
FOX Sports: 1

Note that the Pac-12 championship game moves between ESPN & FOX Sports, with FOX Sports showing it in even numbered years.  ESPN also added the new Ivy League championship this season.

A few early notes for the first week of college football in 2017.

* No, I don't know where or the Big Ten rights deals with ESPN and FOX will be announced.  Apparently FOX did have ads touting their new Big Ten programming during the Foster Farms Bowl and the conference championship game.

* The St. Louis Cardinals' printable schedule notes that their 9/2 game at the San Francisco Giants will air as a non-exclusive national game on FS1 at 4pm ET.  Consider this important because it is one less window for FS1 to carry games from their partner conferences.  It is unknown at the moment if there are other MLB game windows for FOX or FS1 that day, or if UFC will have an event that evening where either network will be carrying matches.   From 2013-2015, Labor Day weekend was a UFC pay per view event weekend where FS1 carried prelim matches, but in 2016 the September pay per view moved to the weekend after Labor Day.

* Per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, the Florida vs. Michigan game from AT&T Stadium may be moved to the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend.  ESPN helps to stock the Cowboys Classic event and I would expect this to be for airing on ABC as ESPN would be carrying Sunday Night Baseball.  ABC had a nice rating for the Notre Dame at Texas game in an unopposed window last year.

This helps alleviate a glut of neutral site games that ESPN could end up airing with Florida St. vs. Alabama from Atlanta, BYU vs. LSU from Houston (an ESPN operated event), Louisville vs. Purdue from Indianapolis, West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech from Landover, MD and NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte.  

Could any others have a date change? Maybe.  BYU vs. LSU won't be considered for Sunday due to BYU's written policy against Sunday competition.  When Charlotte hosted North Carolina vs. South Carolina, the game was hosted on a Thursday night.  That date change happened a year in advance of the date of the game and, for now, the Charlotte Sports Foundation continues to list the game for Saturday 9/2 as it may not be able to change until the NFL preseason schedule is finalized.  

If NC State-South Carolina remains on a Saturday and is considered a SEC game for TV rights purposes (TV rights will be finalized in February per a request to South Carolina's media relations dept), it may be to CBS's benefit.  CBS has sublicensed SEC games the past two season from ESPN for the first two weeks of the season,   After the Florida St.-Alabama, BYU-LSU and Florida-Michigan games, the SEC schedule is rather weak with the exception of the game in Charlotte.

Could CBS decide to take one of the SEC games off the top?  I suppose they could, but I do not know how it affects other selections later in the season, such as whether CBS would negotiate to have a lesser selection on another Saturday.  I have learned, though following this stuff enough & in other aspects of life, that nothing is ever really set in stone anymore.  Everything is negotiable.

* The last item for today looks at one of the provisions in the Big 12 contract for the possibility of a Labor Day Sunday game.  Three of the last five have had one (all even numbered seasons).  While its probably not recommended to compete with the possibility of Florida-Michigan, maybe Maryland-Texas would be looked at if FOX, for example, wanted a game on FS1 after their motorsports coverage (NASCAR trucks & NHRA) on Sunday or a broadcast network game.