Sunday, May 24, 2015

Last Guess at the 2015 Week 3 CFB TV schedule

This is a last guess at the third week of the season since start times should be announced over the next 2-3 weeks for most conferences.  Anything that has already been set is in bold.

Anything that ends up as a digital exclusive (ESPN3, MW Network, C-USA Network) is not being listed here since those games usually end up with start times that are favorable to the home team.

FBS home games only.  All times are Eastern.

Thursday
Clemson at Louisville, 7:30pm ESPN

Friday
Florida St. at Boston College, 8pm ESPN
Idaho St. at Boise St., 9pm CBSSN
New Mexico at Arizona St., 10:15pm FS1

Saturday
Illinois at North Carolina, 12pm ESPN/ESPN2
South Carolina at Georgia, 12pm ESPN/ESPN2
Louisiana Tech at Kansas St., 12pm FS1
NC State at Old Dominion, 12pm FSN
UNLV at Michigan, 12pm ESPNU
USF at Maryland, 12pm ESPNEWS
Connecticut at Missouri, 12pm SEC
Western Carolina at Tennessee, 12pm SEC
Wake Forest at Army, 12pm CBSSN
Northern Illinois at Ohio St., 12pm BTN
Western Kentucky at Indiana, 12pm BTN
Northwestern at Duke, 12:30pm ACC Network
Central Michigan at Syracuse, 12:30pm ACC RSNs
Georgia St. at Oregon, 3pm Pac-12
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, 3:30pm NBC
Ole Miss at Alabama, 3:30pm CBS
Nebraska at Miami (FL), 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2
Virginia Tech at Purdue, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2
Air Force at Michigan St., 3:30pm ESPN
SMU at TCU, 3:30pm ESPNU
UTSA at Oklahoma St., 3:30pm FSN
Kent St. at Minnesota, 3:30pm BTN
Troy at Wisconsin, 3:30pm BTN
East Carolina at Navy, 3:30pm CBSSN
BYU at UCLA, 4pm FOX
Tulsa at Oklahoma, 4pm FS1
Iowa St. at Toledo, 4pm ESPNEWS
Austin Peay at Vanderbilt, 4pm SEC
Florida at Kentucky, 4pm SEC
Auburn at LSU, 7pm ESPN
Texas Tech at Arkansas, 7pm ESPNU
Colorado vs. Colorado St., 7pm CBSSN
California at Texas, 7:30pm FOX
Nevada at Texas A&M, 7:30pm SEC
Northwestern St. at Mississippi St., 7:30pm SEC
Stanford at USC, 8pm ABC
Rutgers at Penn St., 8pm BTN
Pittsburgh at Iowa, 8pm BTN
Northern Arizona at Arizona, 10pm Pac-12
Wyoming at Washington St., 10pm Pac-12
Utah St. at Washington, 10:30pm ESPN2
Utah at Fresno St., 10:30pm CBSSN
San Jose St. at Oregon St., 10:30pm ESPNU

Last Guess at the 2015 Week 1 CFB TV schedule

This is a last guess at the first week of the season since start times should be announced over the next 2-3 weeks for most conferences.  Anything that has already been set is in bold.

Anything that ends up as a digital exclusive (ESPN3, MW Network, C-USA Network) is not being listed here since those games usually end up with start times that are favorable to the home team.

FBS home games only.  All times are Eastern.

Thursday
North Carolina vs. South Carolina, 6pm SEC (time confirmed)
FIU at UCF, 6pm CBSSN
Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan, 7pm ESPNU
Alcorn St. at Georgia  Tech, 7:30pm ACC RSNs
Villanova at Connecticut, 7:30pm SNY
TCU at Minnesota, 9pm ESPN
Michigan at Utah, 9pm FOX Sports 1
Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 9:15pm SEC
Duke at Tulane, 9:30pm CBSSN
UTSA at Arizona, 10:30pm ESPNU

Friday
Colorado at Hawai'i, 1am CBSSN (yes AM)
Michigan St. at Western Michigan, 7pm ESPN
Fordham at Army, 7pm CBSSN
Baylor at SMU, 8pm ESPNU
Weber St. at Oregon St., 8pm Pac-12
Kent St. at Illinois, 9pm BTN
Washington at Boise St., 10:15pm ESPN

Saturday
BYU at Nebraska, 12pm ESPN
Penn St. at Temple, 12pm ESPNU
Georgia Southern at West Virginia, 12pm FSN
UL-Lafayette at Kentucky, 12pm SEC
Southeast Missouri at Missouri, 12pm SEC
Colgate at Navy, 12pm CBSSN
Southern Illinois at Indiana, 12pm BTN
Richmond at Maryland, 12pm BTN
Wofford at Clemson, 12:30pm ACC Network
Texas A&M vs. Arizona St., 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Stanford at Northwestern, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
UL Monroe at Georgia, 3:30pm ESPNU
Mississippi St. at Southern Miss, 3:30pm FSN
Norfolk St. at Rutgers, 3:30pm BTN
Illinois St. at Iowa, 3:30pm BTN
Bowling Green vs. Tennessee, 4pm SEC
UT Martin at Ole Miss, 4pm SEC
FAU at Tulsa, 3:30pm CBSSN
Louisville vs. Auburn, 7pm ESPN
UTEP at Arkansas, 7pm ESPNU
Akron at Oklahoma, 7pm Sooner Sports PPV
Sam Houston St. at Texas Tech, 7pm FSSW+
South Dakota St. at Kansas, Jayhawk Network
Texas at Notre Dame, 7:30pm NBC
New Mexico St. at Florida, 7:30pm SEC
McNeese St. at LSU, 7:30pm SEC
Texas St. at Florida St., 8pm ESPNEWS
Alabama at Wisconsin, 8pm ABC
Northern Iowa at Iowa St., 8pm Cyclones.TV
Arkansas St. at USC, 10pm FOX Sports 1
Virginia at UCLA, 10:30pm ESPN

Sunday
Purdue at Marshall, 3pm FS1 (time confirmed)

Monday
Ohio St. at Virginia Tech, 8pm ESPN

Last Guess at the 2015 Week 2 CFB TV schedule

This is a last guess at the second week of the season since start times should be announced over the next 2-3 weeks for most conferences.  Anything that has already been set is in bold.

Anything that ends up as a digital exclusive (ESPN3, MW Network, C-USA Network) is not being listed here since those games usually end up with start times that are favorable to the home team.

FBS home games only.  All times are Eastern.

Thursday
Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky, 8pm FS1

Friday
Miami (FL) at FAU, 8pm FS1 (time confirmed)
Utah St. at Utah, 9pm ESPN2 (time confirmed)

Saturday
USF at Florida St., 11:30am ESPN
Oregon St. at Michigan, 12pm ESPN2
Kansas St. at UTSA, 12pm FS1
Buffalo at Penn St., 12pm ESPNU
Eastern Illinois at Northwestern, 12pm ESPNEWS
Memphis at Kansas, 12pm FSN
Middle Tennessee at Alabama, 12pm SEC
East Carolina at Florida, 12pm SEC
Washington St. at Rutgers, 12pm BTN
Indiana St. at Purdue, 12pm BTN
Temple at Cincinnati, 12pm CBSSN
Houston at Louisville, 12pm ACC RSNs
Liberty at West Virginia, 12pm ROOT Pittsburgh/Mountaineer Sports
Wake Forest at Syracuse, 12:30pm ACC Network
Massachusetts at Colorado, 2pm Pac-12
Sacramento St. at Washington, 2pm Pac-12
Notre Dame at Virginia, 3:30pm ABC
LSU at Mississippi St., 3:30pm CBS
Hawai'i at Ohio St., 3:30pm ESPN2
UTEP at Texas Tech, 3:30pm FSN
Miami (OH) at Wisconsin, 3:30pm BTN
Bowling Green at Maryland, 3:30pm BTN
Central Arkansas at Oklahoma St., 3:30pm FSSW+/FSOK/Cowboy Sports
Tulane at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm ACC RSNs
Minnesota at Colorado St., 3:30pm CBSSN
Iowa at Iowa St., 4pm FS1
Western Illinois at Illinois, 4pm ESPNEWS
Kentucky at South Carolina, 4pm SEC
Jacksonville St. at Auburn, 4pm SEC
Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7pm ESPN2
Ball St. at Texas A&M, 7pm ESPNU
Arizona at Nevada, 7pm CBSSN
Stephen F. Austin at TCU, 7pm FSSW+/TCU Sports
UCF at Stanford, 7:30pm FOX
Fresno St. at Ole Miss, 7:30pm SEC
Toledo at Arkansas, 7:30pm SEC
Oklahoma at Tennessee, 7:45pm ESPN
Oregon at Michigan St., 8pm ABC
Missouri at Arkansas St., 8pm ESPNEWS
FIU at Indiana, 8pm BTN
South Alabama at Nebraska, 8pm BTN
Rice at Texas, 8pm Longhorn
Cal Poly at Arizona St., 10pm Pac-12
Idaho at USC, 10pm Pac-12
San Diego St. at California, Pac-12
Boise St. at BYU, 10:15pm ESPN2
UCLA at UNLV, 10:30pm CBSSN

*Note: San Jose St. at Air Force, an ESPN selection from the Mountain West, I have on ESPN3.

Friday, May 15, 2015

ACC Early Season/Weeknight TV, Neutral Site Games on TV, B1G Homecoming & MW Championship News

* A few brief highlights from the ACC early season & weeknight telecast schedule:
  • Notre Dame at Virginia will be full national on ABC on 9/12.
  • Three of the four Friday night games will start at 8pm
    • Both New Mexico at Arizona St. on 9/18 & Stanford at Oregon St. on 9/25 look like they are going to air on FOX Sports 1 or Pac-12 Networks, unless ESPN2 is used to show these games with the ACC games on ESPN.
    • Louisville at Wake Forest (7pm) & Wyoming at Utah St. will air as an ESPN2 doubleheader on 10/30.  I assume this is due to the NBA airing on ESPN that night.
  • Alcorn St. at Georgia Tech will be an RSN game on a weeknight (Thursday) and that package will not be used during the weekend.  I assume that FOX, who airs the RSN package, preferred to air a game this particular evening.  Might also be a sign regarding their approach to other Big 12 and C-USA games that weekend since FS1 is not available most of that day with two MLB games and expected UFC pay-per-view prelims.
  • The start time of 7pm for the North Carolina at Pittsburgh game on Thursday 10/29 could be a hint that ESPN will follow that game with Oregon at Arizona St.   West Virginia at TCU looks to be set for FOX Sports 1.
  • ACC championship game will air on ABC at 8pm or ESPN at 7:45pm.
* The Mountain West's football championship will move to ESPN2 starting with the 2015 game.  It appears that this move is for the life of the existing television agreement with ESPN, which ends after the 2019-20 athletic year.  ESPN & ESPN2 are the options available each year.

The game has already been set for 7:30pm ET.

* Big Ten homecoming start times have been released by the schools.  They are the games listed with ESPN Networks & BTN here.

* No neutral site game times have been announced, but Kevin Kelley of FBSchedules shared an interesting item regarding the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic game between Auburn and Louisville.
First off, you should follow FBSchedules.  He gets a lot of great information about game contracts and I'm grateful that he elected to share this.

What I found fascinating is that CBS does have to be offered the game first and decline it before ABC or ESPN can pick it up.  I have always struggled with who should be considered the rightsholder, but its fairly clear that the game is considered to be a SEC game.  CBS potentially has the space (more on that below) as ESPN now has full rights to the US Open tennis tournament.

What I don't know, or have knowledge of, is whether this was true for:
  • Previous Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classics
  • Other neutral site games like the Cowboys Classic or the Advocare Texas Kickoff in Houston.
    • Yes, its possible that when the Big 12 has played in these games, they are considered the rightsholder for TV purposes.  The UCLA vs. Texas game on FOX last year in a game organized by ESPN can fall into this pool.
What I do know is the following for '15:
  • Auburn vs. Louisville, per the Louisville website, will air in primetime on ABC or ESPN, so it appears that CBS did pass on this game if this information is accurate.
  • CBS is scheduled to air a Premier Boxing Champions event in September at 4:30pm ET.  That's important because CBS in theory has limited space on the weekends to show that event live to all viewers.  Starting on 9/13, there's the NFL.  SEC games start in September.  While CBS no longer has the US Open, I would think that CBS really only has two possible dates to air this boxing event: 9/5 or 9/6.  I personally think its 9/5 is the date.
  • We saw last year CBS lost out on the ability to carry the Iron Bowl because they had chosen their maximum of five Alabama games before the selection of the Auburn game was made available.  Yes, there is an option to choose a sixth game on occasion.  But if you choose an Auburn, Alabama or Texas A&M game here, you could run yourself short of potential selections later in the year or on a game you want later in the year.
I'm not sure if CBS will choose one of these games, if they have the ability to choose from all three.  I still feel like it is less likely.  But it is fascinating to know that CBS does have the option to do so.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Roundup: Spring meetings & TV, ASN & A-10, Cincy tipping early season TV?

* First off, several conferences have either already held or will hold their spring meetings over the next 2-3 weeks.  Off the top of my head, the Big 12, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC had their meetings last week and I'm aware of the ACC and C-USA meetings this week.  TV announcements for early season games & weeknight games could be coming soon.  Here's a look at the announcements for this year so far, plus the announcements we're waiting for.

* C-USA's meetings should have an update on preliminary talks on their next set of TV contracts (CBSSN wasn't listed, but I'm unsure whether that's a big deal or not) and the ACC meetings will have another discussion on the potential for a full-time ACC Network.

* Nearly all BTN Saturday night games have start times assigned to them.  Ball St. at Northwestern is MIA at the moment, but the rest were set for 8pm start times.

* There was am interesting banner posted, since deleted by the Cincinnati Bearcats football Twitter account, showing every game of the 2015 season with TV designations.  Some of them were incorrect based on some assignments for weeknight games that have been announced, such as the BYU and USF games, and I thought it was a bit interesting to have every game set aside and television set for every game.  There weren't any start times on the banner either.

Anyways, the graphic has been deleted, but I wouldn't be surprised if the decisions made for the first three games were correct.  They were Alabama A&M (ESPN3), Temple (CBSSN) and at Miami (OH) (FOX Sports Ohio)

The Temple game would fit into an open slot on CBSSN at 12pm ET.  I assume a decision to air the Miami (OH) game on FSOhio is up to the MAC & ESPN, though I wouldn't be surprised to see that one end up on ESPN3 exclusively or on Time Warner Cable since they seem to be a preferred sublicense partner of the MAC.

* A couple weeks back, I was going over the possibilities of Rice at UTEP airing on FOX Sports 1 after the NASCAR trucks race on 11/6 and thought it might be doable depending on the end of the race.  What I missed was that the BYU at San Jose St. game starts at 11:30pm not 10:30pm ET, which would allow for the possibility of a doubleheader on CBSSN with the Rice at UTEP game starting at 8pm ET / 6pm MT.

* From what I'm hearing regarding the Atlantic 10, the larger American Sports Network package could be replacing / absorbing the following
  • ASN doubling its commitment from last year from six to twelve games
  • The Campus Insiders and regional TV package managed by SNY reverting to ASN, which was a combined 19 games last year.
That would get you to 31 games, one below the minimum of 32 games that ASN intends to televise.  But that would make sense as to why ASN is taking over the two first round games from the conference tournament which were part of the SNY regional TV package.

It is my understanding that there would be minimal affect to schools who have their own local TV packages, but that would depend on which games ASN chooses.  If they choose to gobble up more games from schools that have strong local TV packages like Dayton, Saint Louis, VCU, etc. instead of games from, say, Duquesne, then there may be a different effect.

* The Horizon League announced that they will partner with Olympia Entertainment to host their men's basketball conference tournament.  For two years it will be at Joe Louis Arena with the next three at the new arena being built in Detroit.  The date of the championship in 2016 will remain the Tuesday of "Championship Week" with a 7pm ET start on ESPN or ESPN2, but it is possible that the dates of the semifinals and the rest of the tournament could change now that the tournament is being helped at a single site.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where could the Mountain West football title game end up?

The Idaho Statesman's Boise St. beat reporter Chadd Cripe reported on Wednesday that CBS has declined its option to carry the Mountain West's football championship game in 2015.  The original contract was for two years with an option for a third year.

I am a little surprised that CBS declined the option, unless the cost paid to the conference outweighed the rating received for the game.  Some markets elected to place the game on a digital subchannel or  move the game to another station as its 10pm ET start time usually conflicted with airings of late local news.

I do not know if ESPN's agreement with the Mountain West allows it an exclusive negotiation window for the game in the event that CBS declines to air the game, or if it can immediately accept bids for the game from other parties such as FOX or NBC.  CBS earned the right to negotiate for the game first when it worked with the conference to reconstruct its rights agreement and allow ESPN in as a second national partner.

ESPN has the bandwidth to air the game on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 if it wants to.  I left out ESPNU because it usually offers a full schedule of college basketball on this particular Saturday, though it carried the SWAC Championship in 2014.  Last year ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 carried two games each on this Saturday.  In 2015 they are currently scheduled to air four conference championship games (ACC, American, Conference USA and Pac-12) plus there are two Big 12 games available to both ESPN and FOX Sports platforms.  ESPN is also scheduled to air the MLS Cup Final in 2015 and it could air on Saturday or Sunday.

ESPN also cleared out Friday 12/4, moving the Big 12-SEC Challenge to late January.  In previous years, ESPN would have aired two games on Friday night from this series or the late Big East-SEC Challenge.  With that said, they may have opened up the evening so they can air a NBA doubleheader like they do most Friday nights.

In 2016 or in even numbered years in general, there would be slightly more space for ESPN to carry the game.  FOX has rights to the Pac-12 championship game and the MLS Cup final those years.  The C-USA football championship, which ESPN currently holds the rights to as a settlement for a lawsuit between the network and the conference, could end up with another network.  I am unclear as to whether the game's rights must first be negotiated with ESPN or if they can be placed back into a general rights agreement for the conference.  As part of FOX's contract with C-USA, they originally negotiated for the rights to the game.

Also, as Cripe noted separately, CBS declining the option does not mean they cannot negotiate a new contract.  The agreement that CBS and the conference operated under may not have allowed for the game to air on CBS Sports Network.  Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson was quoted as saying its probable "we'll be changing networks", and changing from CBS to CBSSN would be a network change, but it does sound like CBS won't air the game on any of its platforms.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the potential for CBS declining their upcoming four year option to continue airing the Mountain West on CBS and CBSSN.  My position on that really hasn't changed with CBS declining a one year option.  It is about halfway down this post if you are interested.

Roundup: Army home start times, MBK events, HL tourney, MAC football on CBSSN?

* Army's Saturday home games now have start times attached to them, which is important because it can give us an idea which telecast windows C-USA, the American and potentially two more Mountain West games could fill in on CBS Sports Network

When the American announced their opening week games on CBSSN, they noted there would be 21 games on CBSSN, which should mean that 15 games will be sublicensed from ESPN plus the six Navy home games CBSSN has direct rights to for the next few years.   Counting those six Navy games plus four games that CBSSN has already selected as sublicensed games, there should be eleven more American games on CBSSN.

Based on the open Saturday windows from early afternoon to early evening, C-USA and the American should be sharing around 17 telecast windows over 13 weeks as both conferences now have a championship game (the openings).  There's a chance that one of the eleven American sublicense windows could end up being used on Black Friday if Marshall at Western Kentucky ends up on a FOX platform.

* Three bowl games are expected to be added this year.  One you likely already knew about (Orlando, Cure Bowl) and two are outright new (Tuscon & Austin).  Per Brett McMurphy, CBS Sports Network is the expected outlet for the bowl game from Tuscon in addition to the Cure Bowl from Orlando.  The Austin committee had also been talking to CBS and FOX about potential platforms, per Austin Business Journal.

* Either this tweet is in regards to the MAC being a backup in the Tuscon bowl game on CBSSN per the article above from McMurphy, or something is up re: the MAC and CBS (Sports Network?).
See the part from this Hustle Belt interview at the bottom regarding potential for more national exposure for the MAC in '15.

* The Horizon League appears to be close to finalizing plans on moving their men's basketball championship tournament to a neutral site in Detroit, per the Detroit Free Press & PantherU.com.  On the TV side of things, there are two days off currently between the semifinals & championship game because the regular season champ hosts the quarterfinal & semifinal round (regular season champ only plays a semifinal game), then the highest remaining seed hosts the championship, which may or may not be the regular season champion.  The dates & format, along with its television placement on ESPN platforms could change now that the games are in a single location, especially if the championship game were to be played, for example, on consecutive days with the semifinals instead of a break.

* I was not aware that Madison Square Garden told the NCAA that the arena would not have any available dates for the NIT Tip Off event in 2015.  The Barclays Center is mentioned as a possible replacement, but if the Tip Off were to remain an event held around Thanksgiving, it would require some creative scheduling as the arena will have the Legends Classic at the beginning of the week, the Barclay Center Classic on Friday and Saturday (the Friday date would typically align with the NIT Tip Off championship round) and the potential for any Nets and Islanders games as the hockey team becomes a new tenant of the arena,

In addition to facility scheduling, the TV schedule side of the equation might be compressed.  ESPN is contracted to air the event as part of its agreement with the NCAA for several postseason championships and currently has the following events on its plate which are typically spread out over ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on Friday:
  • Black Friday college football
    • 2014: One game each on ESPN & ESPN2 and two on ESPNU
  • Orlando Classic (4 games)
  • Wooden Legacy (4 games)
  • NIT Tip Off (2 games if aired)
  • Battle 4 Atlantis (2 games)
  • Hoophall Miami Invitational (2 game doubleheader)
The semifinal round, typically airing on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is also filled with a lot of college basketball from the Maui Invitational, Battle 4 Atlantis and the MGM Grand Main Event.
Also, Chris Dobbertean of SBNation pointed out that the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic is missing in action at the moment from the Barclays Center calendar and the organization's website is currently acting as a public service announcement.  That event was usually held the Friday & Saturday before Thanksgiving at Barclays Center with TruTV airing the event (I have a request out to Turner Sports PR regarding their status as the rightsholder).  Those two days are also quite full with events on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU usually, so it might be tough to have the NIT move its date forward one week:
  • Puerto Rico Tipoff (4 games on Friday)
  • Charleston Classic (4 games on Friday)
  • 2K Sports Classic (which Coaches vs. Cancer used to support, 2 games on Friday)
  • Air Force at Boise St. on Friday, full schedule of CFB on Saturday
With the number of events scheduled, my first inclination is that a couple of the basketball games or a college football game could end up on ESPNEWS or be shown as online exclusives on ESPN3, but it will be interesting to see how the NIT Tip Off is fit into the schedule