Sunday, September 26, 2010

10/2 Six Day Picks and 10/9 Twelve Day Guesses

ESPN and Raycom made their 12 day selections for their networks for October 2nd

12pm ESPN Northwestern at Minnesota
12pm ESPN2 Miami (FL) at Clemson (ESPN3D)
12pm ACCNet Florida St. at Virginia
3:30pm ABC Virginia Tech at NC State
7pm Georgia Tech at Wake Forest
8pm ABC/ESPN2 Stanford at Oregon
8pm ABC Notre Dame at Boston College
8pm ESPN Penn St. at Iowa
8pm ESPN2 Washington at USC

At 3:30pm, it is confirmed that Oklahoma-Texas game will be the ABC reverse mirror with the Michigan St.-Wisconsin game.

As for the time change on the Stanford-Oregon game and how the three ABC game will be distributed, we'll need coverage maps for exact distribution but I'm told that everyone will receive one of two distributions

Notre Dame - Boston College on ABC, Stanford - Oregon on ESPN2
Stanford - Oregon on ABC, Washington - USC on ESPN2

Based on those two distributions, both ND-BC and UW-USC should be available via ESPN GamePlan in areas where they are not on either ABC or ESPN2.


Twelve day selections for October 9th. There's a real chance that the Big 12 will be on a 12 day pick and could have some issues with its TV windows. The reason is not the games themselves but the site of the Arkansas vs. Texas A&M matchup (Cowboys Stadium). Others have made me aware that Cowboys Stadium and the Ballpark at Arlington share many of the same parking facilities and that the Rangers would likely host ALDS game on 10/9 possibly at night.

Right now I have ESPN using one of their sublicense windows, keeping the game from FSN, and I'm assuming that the Rangers will host a nighttime playoff game. Couple that with a Baylor/Texas Tech game that is expected to be an early kickoff due to the neutral site of Cotton Bowl stadium, the Big 12 should expect to have some games on hold.

Also, an early ESPNU schedule had Hawai'i - Fresno St. at 10:30pm, but now that Nevada is ranked, I'd choose them for an ESPNU slot and use Hawai'i-FS for a WAC Network game. The game could remain a PPV game on the island even if the WAC Network produces it.

12pm Illinois at Penn St. ESPN/ESPN2
12pm Arkansas vs. Texas A&M ESPN/ESPN2
12pm Texas Tech vs. Baylor FSN
12pm Virginia at Georgia Tech ESPNU
12pm Minnesota at Wisconsin Big Ten
12pm Indiana at Ohio St. Big Ten
12pm Tennessee at Georgia SECNet
12pm Clemson at North Carolina ACCNet
12pm Syracuse at USF Big East (semi-confirmed)
12pm Miami (OH) at Cincinnati
1:30pm CMU at Virginia Tech
3:30pm Pittsburgh at Notre Dame NBC (confirmed)
3:30pm LSU at Florida CBS
3:30pm Michigan St. at Michigan ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Colorado at Missouri ABC/ESPN
3:30pm UCLA at California FSN
Navy at Wake Forest ESPNU
3:30pm Oregon at Washington St. Fox College Sports
3:30pm UNLV at West Virginia Big East (confirmed)
3:30pm Memphis at Louisville
7pm Boston College at NC State ESPN2
7pm Utah at Iowa St. FSN
7pm Oregon St. at Arizona Versus
7pm Auburn at Kentucky ESPNU
7pm EMU at Vandy PPV/WUXP
7:30pm Purdue at Northwestern Big Ten
7:45pm Alabama at South Carolina ESPN
8pm USC at Stanford ABC (confirmed)
8pm Florida St. at Miami (FL) ABC
10pm Hawai'i at Fresno St. WACNet
10:15pm Arizona St. at Washington FSNNW/FSAZ
10:30pm San Jose St. at Nevada ESPNU

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What to watch, Week 4

Michigan St. brough the onions to the table. Iowa St.-Kansas St. brought us a very entertaining game in Kansas City. Arkansas brought us a heartstopper. What's in store for week four?

Weeknight games

Miami (FL) travels to Pittsburgh (7:30pm Thursday, ESPN) and its really the Big East's last week to get any high quality OOC wins. Both teams come off subpar performances from week two, Pitt in a win vs. New Hampshire and the 'Canes in their sloppy loss at the 'Shoe in Columbus. The turnover battle will bear watching here, but so will Dion Lewis as he has barely over 100 yards rushing over the 1st two games.

TCU at SMU (8pm Friday, ESPN) in the "Battle for the Iron Skillet" will be worth watching as a pair of high scoring offenses battle. SMU is much improved over the first few years of June Jones' run as head coach and TCU will be constantly reminded that the 2006 team, after going to Oklahoma and winning in Norman, lost at SMU 21-10. One dimension that previously hasn't been seen by Jones' offenses is the presence of a running game, but SMU has averaged 165.3 yards on the ground per game, many of them coming against UAB (247) and Washington St. (140) in wins. TCU, meanwhile, is averaging nearly 280 yards per game in ground and, of greater importance, have only allowed 172 rushing yards total against their two FBS opponents (Oregon St. and Baylor).


The most interesting game of the early afternoon slate appears to be Georgia Tech at NC State (12pm, ESPN). NC State came up with a powerful statement against Cincinnati while Georgia Tech bounced back from the loss at Kansas with a big ACC win at Chapel Hill. We know Tech's ground game is their bread and butter and the Wolfpack won't be a swinging gate, though this will be the 1st time this season they'll allow 100+ rushing yards in a game. Russell Wilson makes the Pack go, but he can't regress into the Wilson we saw against UCF (10 of 30, 105 yards, 1 TD).

Stanford at Notre Dame (3:30pm, NBC) and Alabama at Arkansas (3:30pm, CBS) provide a dynamic duo during the mid-afternoon slate and lucky for all of us, we don't need the right internet provider or the right affiliate to see these games. No excuses. Andrew Luck has been able to roll through two of his three opponents (struggled vs. UCLA somehow, but they've improved) and like Denard Robinson, looking good versus the Irish helps you look good for the Heisman. The Irish have been throwing the ball all over the yard, but more out of necessity as the Irish have been involved in a pair of close games.

Meanwhile, the Tide have been waiting for the Razorbacks and this could be a stretch of three straight games for the Tide against top 10 teams. The Hogs finally showed their worth with a great win between the hedges in Athens. Ryan Mallett has rolled along, but the Tide are the defending champs and its amazing how, across the board on offense and defense, they are statistically the best (17th passing O, 13th rushing O, 6th in fewest points against). Could be the Tide's world and we're just living in it.

To get your early primetime workout, you might want to head over to Nevada at BYU (6pm, mtn). BYU has come back to earth defensively and the offense still hasn't settled on a QB. The ground attack for the Cougs is still solid and its the one thing that the offense can hang its hat on (147.7 ypg) but the passing game is just inept (155.0 ypg). Nevada's offense has bee remarkably consistent (49, 51 and 52 points in their three wins) and the pistol offense has done what it does best: open holes for the ground game, allow for play-action and run/pass options for QB Colin Kapernick.

In primetime, three great games with South Carolina at Auburn leading off (7:45pm, ESPN). South Carolina is enjoying their best start under Steve Spurrier (yes, they've been ranked higher) and Auburn is 3-0 with close wins over Clemson and Mississippi St. The ground game is excellent for both teams, but the edge is the efficiency of QB Stephen Garcia. His ability to manage the game will be the difference here.

Boise St. gets the Gameday treatment hosting Oregon St (ABC, 8pm). The Beavers will be up for this game coming off a solid victory over Louisville. Quizz Rodgers got his motor running with 132 yards on the ground, but the Bronco defense will be stout (they allowed -21 to Wyoming last week) so the Beavers ability to get James Rodgers involved will be important. What needs to be said about the Broncos offense? It rolls along, Kellen Moore doesn't make mistakes and keeps the ball in the Broncos' hands. The Beavers need their defense to force turnovers to keep them in this one.

Final one to pay attention to is West Virginia travelling to LSU (ESPN2, 9pm). Two of the heartiest fan bases around plus the atmosphere of a night game in Baton Rouge should make this an electric game. West Virginia's offense looked better vs. Maryland, but if LSU can generate any type of pass rush on the Mountaineers, Geno Smith could be forced into bad plays. LSU isn't the dynamic offense it has been in prior seasons, but its defense is still excellent. Should be a fun one.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

12 Day Guesses for October 2nd

I have a feeling that Oklahoma vs. Texas will be national, possibly through a reverse mirror and that we will see another ABC/ESPN2 split at 8pm.

There is an ESPN Classic window and I believe the Big Ten will use it. Also, when the SEC had their primetime doubleheader, their regional window on FSN became a 12:30pm start and I think it will move slightly from the 12pm start that it is currently listed at. Same with the ESPNU windows. Last year they were shifted slightly to get a Sun Belt game early in the day.

12pm ESPN or ESPN2: Miami (FL) at Clemson
12pm ESPN or ESPN2: Michigan at Indiana
12pm ESPN Classic: Wisconsin at Michigan St.
12pm Big Ten: Northwestern at Minnesota
12pm SEC Network: Kentucky at Ole Miss
12pm Big East: Vanderbilt at UConn
12pm ACC/Raycom: Virginia Tech at NC State
12:30pm FSN: Texas Tech at Iowa St.
12:30pm SEC/FSN Regional: ULM at Auburn
12:30pm PPV: Alcorn St. at Mississippi St.
1pm ESPNU: Louisville at Arkansas St.
1pm ESPN3: Duke at Maryland
1:30pm ESPN3: Florida St. at Virginia
3:30pm CBS: Tennessee at LSU (semi-confirmed)
3:30pm ABC/ESPN: Ohio St. at Illinois
3:30pm ABC/ESPN: Oklahoma vs. Texas (confirmed, may be reverse mirrored)
3:30pm Big East/SNY: Tulane at Rutgers
4:30pm ESPNU: FIU at Pittsburgh
6pm ESPN3: East Carolina at North Carolina
7pm FSN: Georgia at Colorado (confirmed)
7pm Fox College: Kansas at Baylor
8pm CBS: Florida at Alabama (semi-confirmed)
8pm ABC/ESPN2: Penn St. at Iowa
8pm ABC/ESPN2: Washington at USC
8pm ESPN: Notre Dame at Boston College
8pm ESPNU: Georgia Tech at Wake Forest
11:15pm ESPN: Stanford at Oregon (confirmed)

9/25/10 Six Day Selections

Late last night/early this morning, Mike Humes from ESPN PR passed along the six day selections on Twitter:

12pm ESPN: Georgia Tech at NC State
12pm ESPN2: Bowling Green at Michigan
12pm ACC Network: Virginia Tech at Boston College
3:30pm ABC: UCLA at Texas
3:30pm ABC: Wake Forest at Florida St.
3:30pm ESPNU: North Carolina at Rutgers
6pm ESPN2: Oklahoma at Cincinnati
8pm ABC: Oregon St. at Boise St.

Humes also mentioned that College Gameday will originate from Boise.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What to Watch, Week 3

Notre Dame and Michigan gave us great drama again and Denard Robinson is the unofficial leader for the Heisman right now. He'll get a week to pad his stats further against Massachusetts, but there are better things you could be watching.

On Friday night, California and Nevada is mildly interesting (ESPN2, Friday 10pm). Colin Kaperneck is a dual threat, like Robinson, though his passing skills might be slightly more polished. Cal has yet to be challenged and Kevin Riley, thought to be a still be a question mark at QB despite starting parts of the past two seasons, has been effective enough to keep the Bears offense rolling.

Early afternoon on Saturday doesn't have much to hold interest, so its a day for the clicker to get a workout. Maryland at West Virginia (12pm, ESPNU) is the renewal of a longstanding rivalry, being played for the 1st time since the 2007 season after the two teams met for 28 straight campaigns, including twice in 2003. Georgia Tech at North Carolina (12pm, ACC/Raycom) is the ACC opener for both teams. UNC is still reeling from suspensions due to activity involving agents and Tech is coming into the game after being on the losing end at Kansas.

Mid afternoon doesn't exactly bring much more to the table. Florida is at Tennessee in their traditional SEC opener (3:30pm, CBS) and Nebraska at Washington will be the feature ABC game at 3:30pm and will be seen in some areas on ESPN2. Jake Locker warmed himself up for the Blackshirts by torching Syracuse for four passing TDs. Nebraska hasn't exactly been tested to this point with Western Kentucky and Idaho. BYU at Florida St. (ESPNU, 3:30pm) may be worth taking a flyer on as both look to improve on disastrous performances from last week. Another sneaky game could be Baylor-TCU (4:30pm, Versus) as Baylor now has a healthy Robert Griffin whose mobility will be a test for the Horned Frogs.

Clemson at Auburn starts off the nighttime action (7pm, ESPN) and its a game that Clemson, and the ACC, could use to improve their reputation. Kyle Parker came back for his sophomore season of football after flirting with a career in baseball (he'll likely go back to the diamond before all is done) and was efficient in his 1st two games, but Auburn is a step up. Cam Newton is the man under center of a three pronged rushing attack in Auburn. Newton is the leading rusher right now, but whatever relief Onterrio McCalebb and Michael Dyer can provide will help the Tigers as they move towards SEC play.

While the ABC split national games will be worth flipping between (Notre Dame-Michigan St. & Texas at Texas Tech, the other game will be on ESPN2), Iowa at Arizona (10:30pm, ESPN) will be worth turning in for as two QBs highlight the action with Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and Arizona's Nick Foles. Houston at UCLA will also be worth watching but not for the Bruins (FSN, 10:30pm). I believe this one will be Case Keenum's best national showcase because its an opponent from an AQ conference and its in a big media market.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week Four 12 Day Selections

On 9/14, networks will be able to select games for Week Four using the 12 day selection process. Networks can choose games as little as six days in advance, negotiated with individual conferences in terms of how many times they can do it during a season.

Generally, the networks won't waste those six day exceptions early in the season. Here's my guesses

3:30pm: Oklahoma at Cincinnati, Bowling Green at Michigan
8pm: UCLA at Texas, Oregon St. at Boise St.

Arkansas at Alabama, 3:30pm

12pm: Ball St. at Iowa
3:30pm: ABC Reverse Mirror
7:45pm: South Carolina at Auburn

12pm: Temple at Penn St.
6pm: Virginia Tech at Boston College
9:15pm: West Virginia at LSU

12pm: Wake Forest at Florida St.
3:30pm: North Carolina at Rutgers
7pm: Kentucky at Florida

Big Ten Network
12pm: Northern Colorado at Michigan St., Central Michigan at Northwestern, Eastern Michigan at Ohio St., Toledo at Purdue, Austin Peay at Wisconsin

12pm SEC Network: Georgia at Mississippi St.
12pm Raycom: NC State at Georgia Tech
12pm Big East Network: Buffalo at Connecticut
3pm FSN PPV: South Dakota St. at Nebraska
6pm Army at Duke
6pm FIU at Maryland
6pm VMI at Virginia
7pm SEC/FSN Regional: UAB at Tennessee
7:30pm SEC/CSS: Fresno St. at Ole Miss

Confirmed & Semi Confirmed
3pm FSN Regional: UCF at Kansas St. (semiconfirmed)
3pm FSN Regional: USC at Washington St.
3:30pm Colgate at Syracuse
7pm Fox College: New Mexico St. at Kansas
7pm Big East: Western Kentucky at USF
10pm CSN BA+/Wildcats Sports: California at Arizona
10:30pm FSN: Oregon at Arizona St.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What to Watch, Week 2

Eased our way into the season last week. Week two is a prime cut compared to last week's cubed steak.

All times Eastern


West Virginia at Marshall is the 1st half of a Friday night C-USA home game doubleheader on ESPN at 7pm. The Mountaineers go with sophomore Geno Smith leading the attack, but the question is whether Noel Devine will have a jaw-dropping run that gets his Heisman candidacy going.

Second game is a revenge game of sorts. Last year Houston was flying along in the top 20 when they went to El Paso and were exposed for the 1st time that season by the Miners as a team with an extremely suspect defense to the tune of 58-41. The offense for the Cougs should remain its high flying self, but the defense is starting over replacing 1/2 of the starters from last season. No idea here if the incoming starts will be able to help the defense step up (ESPN, 10:15pm).


USF at Florida (12pm, SEC Network syndication) is the appetizer. The word around Tampa is that Skip Holtz has brought a calmness to the team, compared to the high strung nature that former coach Jim Leavitt brought to the table. Florida had many problems last week offensively with shotgun snaps during John Brantley's 1st start at QB. Better to work out those kinks vs. Miami (OH) than USF. The Bulls have a chance if they can disrupt the Gators offensive tempo and if BJ Daniels limits his mistakes.

Michigan at Notre Dame starts the main course (3:30pm, NBC). The Irish, working in Brian Kelly's faster paced offensive philosophy, maintained a run-pass balance that was more rooted in the running game, something that Kelly didn't always adhere to at Cincinnati. Michigan looked very machine-like in their win over UConn and Denard Robinson may have made his case that Michigan doesn't need anyone else lining up at the QB position. Robinson's game was very Heisman worthy (19-22, 186 yds, 1 TD; 29 carries, 197 yds rushing, 1 TD). Another game like that, versus an Irish team that the media tends to value when it comes to Heisman performances, can get his name out there early in the race.

Florida St. at Oklahoma (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN2) and Miami (FL) at Ohio St. (3:30pm, ESPN/ESPN 3D) are the other big ones. Oklahoma playing Utah St. closer than they should have was surprising. On the flipside, we need to see more from Florida St. now that Jimbo Fisher is the sole head coach. The media seems to be touting the Hurricanes loss vs. Ohio St. in the national title game a few years ago, but no players are left and only Jim Tressel remains as a head coach, though Randy Shannon was on staff at UM. We're still waiting for the big Miami re-awakening and last year was a start, but they need that signature OOC win. Beating USF is nice, but a win in convincing fashion at the 'shoe makes a big statement.

Penn St. at Alabama (7pm, ESPN) and Oregon at Tennessee (7pm, ESPN2) share the spotlight at 7pm, though the lights will shine brighter in Tuscaloosa. Mark Ingram may not see the field again due to knee issues, but Alabama went RB by committee vs. San Jose St. and did just fine. The place where Alabama could excel in this game is through the air. Youngstown St. didn't throw for over 200 yards, but they were able to go 21-for-25 and a controlled passing game by the Tide could be the equalizer.

As for the Vols, they eased themselves into the Derek Dooley era, but get a Oregon team that blitzed New Mexico and barely allowed the Lobos over 100 yards in total offense. Special teams keyed a 2nd quarter tidal wave with two punts returned for TDs by the Ducks. If Tennessee is not careful, the Ducks could have that all-important 3rd phase to the game that can get them good field position and change the game.

A pair of PAC-10 late games will be worth watching too as a midnight snack. Stanford travels to UCLA to start PAC-10 play (10:30pm, ESPN) and Virginia travels cross-country to visit USC (10:30pm, FSN). The Cardinal managed 213 yards on the ground vs. Sacramento St. without any back gaining more than 57 yards or over eight carries, a true ground game by committee as Andrew Luck is the man that makes that offense go. UCLA's Kevin Prince was tuned up by a suspect Kansas St. team and the Bruins may end up taking a step backwards this season if Prince remains the starter.

Rumblings from several around the coaching fraternity believes there are serious cracks in the USC foundation and the Trojans could be ripe for the picking, but I don't think that Virginia is the team to get the job done. Traveling to the west coast in Mike London's second game, couple with how well London's former team (Richmond) hung with the Cavaliers tells me this could again be high scoring, but in USC's favor.