Friday, December 30, 2011

Year end marker

Its the end of 2011.  As you saw in the year end piece, the year saw a lot of changes in college sports coverage.  Some positive, some negative.  2012, hopefully, will be a quieter year.  Yes there will be some alterations to the SEC contract and those probably will come out in the spring.  Big East negotiations will start towards the end of the year and who knows what type of market they'll find out there for their rights.  Whatever formation MWCUSA takes.  To AQ or not to AQ.  That is the question.

I am very appreciative of those who emailed or commented re: the site.  I am trying to find a happy medium with the TV site & blog going forward.  Have not yet found it.  Haven't started programming towards an updated site and don't intend to for a few weeks.  Suppose I'm thankful that most conferences haven't figured out how to schedule themselves for 2012.  Heck, West Virginia's home for 2012-13 will likely be decided in the court system and one of those cases won't be heard until near the end of the athletic calendar year in June.

I do software development for eight hours a day.  To come home and do more doesn't strike me as something I desire to do right now.  To be quite honest with you: I would not expect a football schedule listing at my site for 2012 until at least April.  I will keep track of it as much as possible, but I make no guarantees beyond that.   The twitter and facebook pages remain active, but I've turned off being notified when a post/comment hits the account, so unless I'm looking at the site, don't expect a quick answer.

I'm going to go spin a few records now.   Vinyl has made a comeback, after cassette, 8 track, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, DualDisc, digital download and others tried to make it irrelevant.  Sound quality still matters, and so does being unable to skip a track.

Thanks.  Happy New Year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011: Year In Review

Plenty of changes in sports television and coverage of colleges in 2011.  Got started fairly quickly too.

1/5/11 - Conference USA and FOX Sports announce a new media rights deal.  After months of negotiating a new deal with ESPN, C-USA elected to move on and signed a deal with FOX for double the money, double the number of football games, plus ten men's basketball games and eight women's basketball games.

Analysis: I think it worked out well for the conference.  With any deal on FSN, there were clearance/pre-emptions for local coverage of other sports, but the conference had more opportunities to be seen.  I would be curious to know if teams saw attendance increases since the number of weeknight games decreased.

1/6/11 - FOX acquires rights to the inaugural Pac-12 football championship game.

Analysis: FOX also purchased an additional six college football games and ten men's basketball games for its FSN package.  Coupled with the C-USA rights, ongoing negotiations with the Big 12 and Pac-12 plus the purchase of the first six Big Ten football championships, FOX clearly established itself as a player in college sports.

1/18/11 - The FCC makes Comcast's purchase of NBC official.

Analysis: More later, but the beginning of a competitor in the college rights / broadcasting area.

1/19/11 - ESPN announces a channel dedicated to the University of Texas

Analysis: ESPN makes a big play after FOX appeared to be the leader of the channel, paying close to five times more than what FOX intended to pay.  Created a chasm within the conference membership that would widen later in the year.

3/15/11 - The new format of broadcasting the NCAA men's basketball tournament begins as TruTV broadcasts the first of the two "First Four" doubleheaders

Analysis: I didn't catch much of the opening weekend (I attended games in Cleveland), what I saw I was impressed with.  CBS and Turner followed through on their promise of noting when close & interesting games were going on and where to find those games.  Every game was televised nationally.  Some may complain that the games weren't on CBS or that they had trouble finding TruTV right away.  My take is that it was known in advance where to find the games.  Not to mention that Turner improved on the online March Madness package.

3/28/11 - FOX announces that F/X will get into the college football business, carrying a game of the week starting in 2011.

Analysis: F/X began broadcasting sports events a month later with matches from the UEFA Champions League semifinals and this announcement formally re-entered the channel into the college sports broadcasting business after a decade out of the game.  The deal with Conference USA allowed for some games to air on FOX and F/X, and the Big 12 & Pac-12 agreed to allow some of their games from FSN to move over to F/X.  Initially F/X intended to air its games at 8pm ET, but over half the package aired at 12pm ET and in mid-afternoon.

3/30/11 - ESPN sues Conference USA over the manner in which C-USA signed their rights agreement with FOX.

Analysis: In some ways, it felt like ESPN was using C-USA as a example for those leaving ESPN (ie. don't  cross us).  In other ways, it made sense as ESPN did has rights to negotiate with C-USA before the rights could go on the open market.   ESPN felt that C-USA did not properly provide a formal counter offer during a critical point in the negotiation, where C-USA disagrees.

4/14/11 - The Big 12 and FOX Sports announce a new 13 year television contract for broadcast of football on cable along with other Big 12 sports.  Men's basketball was not included as it is part of ESPN's deal for football games on ABC.

Analysis: FOX paid for 40 football games and the ability to license games to other cable networks, such as the existing deal with ESPN.  The money being paid to the conference was though to be a pacifier when it came to the Longhorn Network and the conference voted to share more of its ESPN & FOX TV revenue equally.  Instead loopholes within the contract, specifically regarding institutionally controlled games, ended up being a catalyst for further changes in the landscape.

5/3/11 - After months of major negotiations and open bidding, ESPN and FOX sign agreements with the Pac-12.

Analysis: Larry Scott became the model for a new style of conference commissioner.  One with an open mind.  After Comcast got involved and was set to sign the conference for all rights, they engaged ESPN and FOX to join together into a single bid for various pieces of rights.  ESPN became the primary rightsholder in men's basketball, while FOX gained football games for their over-the-air network.  The conference also noted that they held back a fair number of events and intended to create their own television network.

Late May - The Big East, after agreeing to basic terms of a contract extension with ESPN, elects to back away from the deal after the announcements of the Big 12 and Pac-12 rights deals

Analysis: The rumored terms were close to on par with the ACC's deal for around $13 million per team, per year for all sports members.  The initial analysis felt like this was in the Big East's best interest and suitors from Comcast were extremely interested in bidding on the conference's rights.  This move, along with other changes in the national landscape, turned out to be costly for the conference.

7/5/11 - The Longhorn Network elects to pick up Texas's football game vs. Rice.  It also announces that it intends to air a 2nd football game involving Texas and one of its Big 12 conference games.

Analysis: ESPN was able to work with FOX to get a second game for Longhorn Network (eventually selecting the 10/29 game vs. Kansas) and the rumor is that FOX was granted the ability to air a Big 12 game or two on its over-the-air network within the coming years.  Coupled with concerns regarding broadcasting of high school football on the network, this became the breaking point for Texas A&M and Missouri with the Big 12.

7/27/11 - The Pac-12, in conjunction with inDemand, announces that they will create Pac-12 Networks.  One national network and six regional networks based on the conferences' natural rivalry areas (Washington, Oregon, Arizona, NorCal, SoCal & Rocky Mountain).

Analysis: The second game changer the Pac-12 pulled off.  By engaging inDemand as a partner, the conference essentially has agreements in place with Time Warner, Comcast, Cox and Bright House.  All rights not granted to ESPN and FOX go to Pac-12 Networks.  The "TV Everywhere" concept is also included in this agreement and those cable networks will be able to show the networks' events via the internet in an authenticated manner.

8/16/11 - ESPN, C-USA resolve lawsuit.  FOX granted ESPN the rights to the C-USA football championship game for the length of the contract between the conference and FOX.

Analysis: In June, the court set the schedule for the trial between ESPN and C-USA.  The schedule meant that FOX would at least get to air all their intended games during the 2011 football season.  At that point, ESPN & FOX worked together to resolve the suit with C-USA.  Note that FOX was not a party to the suit, but wanted to help the conference resolve the suit so that all parties could move on.

Late summer & through the fall, part I - Several conferences (America East, Atlantic Sun, MAAC, MVC, SoCon, Sun Belt, WCC) sign new deals with ESPN.  Major parts of several of those deals involve exclusive   packages of games on ESPN3.

Analysis:  In some cases, the move to ESPN3 pays off because those conferences did not have many, if any, regular season games on ESPN's television networks.  In other cases, the ESPN3 packages came at the expense of cancelling the regional syndication package of games.

Late summer & through the fall, part II - A&M.  Syracuse & Pitt.  Missouri. WVU. TCU. MWCUSA. The Big East & West.  Exploring options.  Pac-??.

Analysis: The whole thing drives me batshit.  Equal parts ego bruising and conference mismanagement.  Rumors of ESPN spearheading some of these moves, thanks to the Boston College athletic director.  All in the name of chasing the almighty dollar because someone has more than someone else.

10/24/11 - CBS and ESPN are able to negotiate to allow CBS to air the LSU-Alabama game in primetime after CBS already has exhausted its single SEC primetime window earlier in the year.

Analysis: The negotiation wasn't acrimonious by any means.  CBS did guarantee that the 2012 Alabama-LSU game would air in primetime on their network.  ESPN in turn gained some form of "scheduling considerations" in 2012 from CBS.  One rumor is that ESPN would be allowed to earmark a few marquee SEC games and hold them from CBS.  As for the game, 9-6 LSU in OT and CBS earned an excellent 11.5 national rating.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Here's the deal

I apologize.  I thought I had mentioned before that I was considering stepping back from the site.  Here's the deal.

1) My workload at my day job, which is not this site, has increased exponentially.  Granted in football season the updates come once a week, maybe twice, but I like to have the info on site as soon as it gets released.  Don't always have the ability to do so.  I get cranky about that, and sometimes you guys do to.  That I can understand.  Its why you've also seen less weekly blog articles.

2) I'm enjoying it less and less.  Probably watched less CFB this year than any other year.  Realignment and other legal crap has kinda sucked the enjoyment right out of it.  I'm not naive to the fact that college athletics has become a business, but at least it didn't feel as blatant as it was this past year.  That doesn't include some of the seedy stuff that has been off-field related.

3) Never been about money either.  Hosting is cheap.

4) The site over the past couple years has been more about me staying current in my profession (computer programming).  I know, if you look at the site, you might not think that.  Extremely plain.  My plan was a rewrite of the site for the 2012 football season to take advantage of new skills learned (MVC, google it, its not a college sports conference).  I'm not sure of my direction on it or if I want to spend the time, or if I can even keep the site in roughly the same format.

5) I do enjoy conversing with just about everyone, but I get the feeling that I'm "on demand" with some items.  I realize that sounds extremely whiny.  This past year, I've done site updates from Siesta Key (early season CFB selections) and Las Vegas (week 2 of CFB) while on vacation.  Via a smartphone and SQL updates to the database.   It was not fun.

The domain name will be paid for on 1/1 for the entire year of 2012.  MBK season goes on as planned.  This batteries should recharge.  But that's where my head is at.  Sorry for the alarm.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bowl me over with projections

Bowl eligibility and game list

Keeping it short and sweet.  Here's the list of bowl eligible teams as of tonight.   Based on records & remaining games, I also am assuming that NC State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, UTEP, Marshall, Air Force, Mississippi St., Tennessee and Utah St. will be bowl eligible.

Conference champion assumptions made:

  • Oklahoma St. = Big 12
  • West Virginia = Big East
  • Clemson = ACC
  • Wisconsin = Big Ten
  • LSU = SEC
  • Oregon = Pac-12
  • Houston will be a non-AQ top 12 team
After the slots filled by conference champs lost to the bowl games, the selection order is Fiesta, Sugar, Orange

BCS Championship: Alabama vs. LSU
Rose: Wisconsin vs. Oregon
Fiesta: Oklahoma St. vs. Stanford
Orange: Clemson vs. West Virginia
Sugar: Michigan St. vs. Houston

Now the rest:

New Mexico: San Diego St. vs. Ohio
Idaho: Temple vs. Utah St.
New Orleans: UL-Lafayette (confirmed) vs. UTEP
St. Petersburg: Pittsburgh vs. Marshall
Poinsettia: Boise St. vs. Louisiana Tech
Las Vegas: TCU vs. UCLA
Hawai'i: Tulsa vs. Nevada
Independence: NC State vs. Wyoming
Little Caesar's: Illinois vs. Toledo
Belk: North Carolina vs. Cincinnati
Military: Wake Forest vs. Iowa St.
Holiday: Texas A&M vs. Utah
Champs Sports: Virginia vs. Notre Dame
Alamo: Baylor vs. Washington
Armed Forces: BYU (confirmed) vs. SMU
Pinstripe: Missouri vs. Rutgers
Music City: Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi St.
Insight: Kansas St. vs. Ohio St.
Texas: Texas vs. Northwestern
Sun: Florida St. vs. Arizona St.
Liberty: Louisville vs. Tennessee
Kraft: California vs. Purdue
Chick-Fil-A: Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Ticket City: Penn St. vs. Air Force
Outback: South Carolina vs. Michigan
Capital One: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Gator: Iowa vs. Florida
Cotton: Oklahoma vs. Arkansas
BBVA Compass: Southern Miss vs. FIU  Arkansas St. (confirmed) vs. Northern Illinois


  • The Champs Sports Bowl will exercise its 1-in-4 option with Notre Dame.
  • The Liberty Bowl will exercise its 1-in-4 option to choose a Big East team to assure the Big East an SEC opponent in a bowl game
  • New Mexico will fill its Pac-12 slot with a MAC team
  • BBVA Compass will fill its matchup as Sun Belt vs. C-USA
  • Kraft Fights Hunger fills its WAC slot with an at-large team (Purdue)
  • Ticket City fills its C-USA slot with an at-large team (Air Force)

Monday, November 14, 2011

As football season winds down...

  • Normally I would start compiling things for the 2012 football season, but that is virtually impossible to do at this point.  Several conferences who normally have their schedules firmed up are reconfiguring due to impending changes in membership, whether they occur in July or another year.  Lawsuits being fired back and forth will also set the official announcements back.  That also doesn't take into account schools having to cancel/move non-conference games as they move.
  • Sent an email to Duane Lindberg of the Pac-12 with some questions regarding the new contracts the conference will begin with FOX and ESPN starting next year.  What I learned:
    • In football, FOX will have some exclusivity in their time slot.  There will be some overlap, presumably during the 2nd half of games where ESPN and Pac-12 Network can kick off their games.
    • Some early football selections will continue to be locked in by all TV partners, but games will continue to be determined on a twelve and six day basis during the year.
    • A team can appear no more than nine times combined in the FOX and ABC/ESPN football packages. So those entities could pick a team's entire conference schedule, but by doing that they might lose out on a decent home non-conference game.  To me, this protects the Pac-12 Network, specifically for USC in the years they host Notre Dame, to make sure that USC (and Stanford too) wouldn't be shut out of appearing on the network.
    • Of the 22 football games that ABC/ESPN has, I didn't realize that ESPNU will have the ability to show Pac-12 games, but it will be up to four of 22 games.
  • Curious to know what C-USA fans thought of the change from ESPN to FSN.  I'm sure there was some grumbling because some regions did opt out of games at times, including one bad moment early in the season where SportSouth dumped the UCLA-Houston game late to start a Braves telecast on time.

    But the FOX deal showed more C-USA football than any other season and the schools were able to move away from nights like Tuesdays and Wednesdays that they considered undesirable.  Let me know.
  • The Pac-12 will complete their final season of games on FSN on 11/26 with the UCLA-USC game.  The conference had 14 games on FSN this year.  Expect some of those slots to be picked up by the Big 12 and C-USA, presumably in better timeslots for both conferences.  Could see a return to games starting at 12:30pm ET in the Big 12 and C-USA, who prefer night games, to stay out of the 12pm slot when possible.  All depends on what these conferences look like.
  • Don't expect any games from the MWC side of the CUSA-MWC football partnership on FOX networks.  Those will remain with CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network, unless plans change with the ownership of the mtn. by Comcast (Don't see that happening right now).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rest of regular season CFB selections

The Pac-12 and Big 12 are finished with their selection process for the season, plus CBS has already made its SEC selection, so it leaves very little to predict for both 11/26 and 12/3.

11am ESPN2 - Louisville at USF
11am ESPNU - Toledo at Ball St.
2pm ESPN3 - Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois
7pm ESPN - Pittsburgh at West Virginia


  • UCLA at USC will be the last national Pac-12 telecast on FSN as the new contract that takes effect next year has all FOX Sports games on either local FOX stations or F/X.
  • FOX made some adjustments to their schedule (surprise, surprise), moving the F/X game to 12pm and shifting the other Big 12 games back a time slot.  Should free up Rice-SMU to be shown nationally on FSN.
  • I think there's a chance, if Virginia Tech-Virginia ends up deciding the ACC Coastal that the game, along with Virginia Tech-Virginia, could be reverse mirrored on ABC and ESPN2.
  • Thought about the SEC slate after the Iron Bowl and the Palmetto State game, and its a dog.  Figured I'd put two games on ESPNU instead of a 2nd night game on ESPN2.
  • There's a chance that an FCS playoff game could go into one of the ESPNU slots.  

Alabama at Auburn, 3:30pm (confirmed)

Ohio St. at Michigan, 12pm
Oregon St. at Oregon, 3:30pm (confirmed)
Michigan St. at Northwestern, 3:30pm
Notre Dame at Stanford, 8pm (confirmed)

Cincinnati at Syracuse, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Clemson at South Carolina, 7:45pm


Penn St. at Wisconsin, 12pm
Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm
Virginia Tech at Virginia, 7:45pm


Tennessee at Kentucky, 12pm
Maryland at NC State, 3:30pm
Florida St. at Florida, 7pm

FOX Sports

Iowa St. at Oklahoma, 12pm F/X (confirmed)
Rice at SMU, 12pm FSN (semi-confirmed)
Kansas vs. Missouri, 3:30pm FSN (confirmed)
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest, 3:30pm ACC RSNs
Texas Tech vs. Baylor, 7pm FSN (confirmed)
UCLA at USC, 10pm FSN (confirmed)

Washington St. at Washington, 7:30pm (confirmed)

Purdue at Indiana, 12pm
Illinois at Minnesota, 3:30pm

Regional and Syndication

Ole Miss at Mississippi St., 12pm SEC Network
Rutgers at Connecticut, 12pm Big East Network
Duke at North Carolina, 12:30pm ACC Network
UL-Lafayette at Arizona, 7pm
FIU at Middle Tennessee, 7:30pm Sun Belt Network


I'll be honest: the Big East slate that day is not worth it, unless Cincy has to win to close out a BCS berth, which is entirely possible.  But, if Southern Miss-Houston ends up being the C-USA title game and Houston remains undefeated, it deserves ABC treatment over either of those two games.  Even though ESPN put out a press release saying the C-USA title game would be on ESPN2 at 12pm, plans change and this is worth it.

ABC 12pm - Conference USA Championship
ESPN 12pm - Connecticut at Cincinnati
ESPN2 12pm - Syracuse at Pittsburgh
ABC 3:30pm - Texas at Baylor
CBS 4pm - SEC Championship (confirmed)
Sun Belt 4:30pm - Troy at Arkansas St.
ESPN2 7:30pm - BYU at Hawai'i (confirmed)
ABC 8pm - Oklahoma at Oklahoma St.
FOX 8pm - Big Ten Championship (confirmed)
ESPN 8pm - ACC Championship: TBA vs. Clemson (confirmed)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

11/19 12 Day Selection Guesses

Note that ESPNU will not have a mid-afternoon game as they'll be televising college basketball instead.

11/19 will be the final week of selections for the Big 12.  11/26 and 12/3 had their television selections completed before the season started.

I'm assuming that Longhorn Network games count towards the ABC selection count for the Big 12.  That's why Kansas St.-Texas ends up on F/X.

There could be some six day picks for this week too.  Possibly w/Cincy-Rutgers.

LSU at Ole Miss, 3:30pm

Nebraska at Michigan, 3:30pm (RM)
Clemson at NC State, 3:30pm
Texas Tech at Missouri, 3:30pm
California at Stanford, 3:30pm (RM)
Oklahoma at Baylor, 8pm
USC at Oregon, 8pm (confirmed)

Penn St. at Ohio St., 12pm
ESPN Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Mississippi St. at Arkansas, 7pm

Wisconsin at Illinois, 12pm
Virginia at Florida St., 7:30pm

Cincinnati at Rutgers, 12pm
Miami (FL) at USF, 3:30pm
Kentucky at Georgia, 7pm

FOX Sports
Kansas St. at Texas, 12pm F/X
Kansas at Texas A&M, 12pm FSN
Maryland at Wake Forest, 3pm ACC RSNs
SMU at Houston, 3:30pm FSN
UCF at East Carolina, 7pm FSN

Washington at Oregon St., 7:30pm

Iowa at Purdue, 12pm
Indiana at Michigan St., 12pm
Minnesota at Northwestern, 3:30pm

Regional, Internet and Syndication
Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 12pm SEC Network
Louisville at Connecticut, 12pm Big East Network
The Citadel at South Carolina, 12pm Gamecocks PPV (confirmed)
Georgia Tech at Duke, 12:30pm ACC Network
Furman at Florida, 1pm Sun Sports PPV (confirmed)
Samford at Auburn, 1pm CSS PPV (confirmed)
Georgia Southern at Alabama, 2pm Crimson Tide PPV (confirmed)
Arizona at Arizona St., 7pm FSAZ
Colorado at UCLA, 7pm Prime/FCS
Utah at Washington St., 7pm ROOT NW/KJZZ
Western Kentucky at North Texas, 7:30pm Sun Belt Network

Friday, November 4, 2011

Changes in College Basketball TV for 2011-12

The season starts Monday.  Not as many changes when compared to prior years.  Here's what has changed

ACC: Everywhere - As part of the ACC's new deal with ESPN, many more ACC telecasts will appear on ESPN and the Full Court package.  ESPNU will now air Sunday night basketball games, a slot that FSN previously carried.  The regional cable package of games that aired on NESN, FOX and Comcast RSNs will continue to do so, but now air in the ESPN Full Court package as well.  Also, a large number of non-conference games will air exclusively through ESPN3.

Besides FSN (nationally), the only other place you won't see ACC games is CBS.  ESPN as the rightsholder no longer has to sublicense games and elected not to sell any to CBS.

C-USA on FSN - By leaving ESPN, C-USA earned a small increase in telecasts on FSN.  The games will typically air on Saturday afternoons as a lead in to Pac-12 games.  FOX also owns the rights to the conference championship and will continue to license it to CBS.

Pac-12 on Sundays - FSN gained 10 games for this year as part of the Pac-12 football championship game deal with FOX for 2011.  14 Pac-12 games will air on Sundays this season, a temporary replacement for the loss of the ACC package.

New deals - The MAAC, MVC, Patriot League and WCC completed new deals with their rightsholders.  The WCC will see an increase in appears on ESPN, mostly in non-conference play and a couple extra games in the conference tournament.  The MVC won't see an increase on ESPN, but the regional package that has aired on FOX Sports Midwest and CSN Chicago will reappear in the FOX College Sports suite of channels and air as part as ESPN Full Court.  The MVC final has been retained by ESPN as well, but will continue to be licensed to CBS.

The MAAC's new deal retains the existing ESPN television numbers, but the regional game of the week package that aired on MSG, including most of the conference tournament, will now air exclusively on ESPN3.  The Patriot League's deal in basketball doesn't look much different that prior years, but the championship game is now part of the deal.  It will air on CBS Sports Network and move to a Wednesday evening.

Minor changes with the Big Ten - With the addition of Nebraska, the Big Ten worked out changes to the Big Ten Network (BTN) and how it coexists with other TV partners.  In football we've seen where ABC and BTN can show games at the same time.  In football, we'll see ESPN and BTN overlap in games.  ESPNU will also carry a small number of conference games, where it previously only carried non-conference games.

Big East, Incoming Members and TV

With the Big East in flux and an upcoming football TV negotiation, let's assume they bring in all six members they intend to (Air Force, Boise St., Houston, Navy, SMU, UCF) for football.  Some of negotiating points for contracts that would start with the 2014 season are:

1) Membership size - Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia would be out, but the new configuration would be eleven members.  Not enough for a football championship game.  Someone else needs to be added to do one.  Could be BYU, Temple, Army or someone not mentioned or stay at eleven and maximize the number of weeks and games they can schedule for television.

2) Possible partners - ESPN might be more favorable to the new members.  All of these new members have had games with CBS Sports Network which has only about 60% of the draw of ESPNU, its direct competitor.  Boise St. made a name for itself on Friday nights on ESPN and ESPN2.  Pockets of UCF fans along with existing members don't seem to mind either and a 2nd AQ conference, the Pac-12, will be a regular fixture on Friday nights on ESPN/ESPN2 as their new contract starts.  Further, possible 12th football member BYU had a very public spat with Comcast over the MWC television contract and was an catalyst for their move to football independence and the WCC.  The flexibility of their ESPN deal, particularly the replay rights and BYUtv, might easily be folded into a new Big East football TV deal.

On the other hand, Army & Navy have preferences for Saturday afternoon kickoffs and joining the Big East could mean losing those television opportunities.  Comcast is the cable provider in several areas where the Big East football and all sports membership call home and may sway some members.

I wouldn't expect FOX to be anywhere near this.  Turner could be a dark horse.

3) Notre Dame - No, this isn't about whether they need to be a football member of this conference.  They don't.  They never will.  Don't even bother.

But they know NBC.  May not know everyone in place now that Comcast is running much of the ship over at NBC Sports, but they did make a deal to have their home hockey games on NBC Sports Network as they move to Hockey East. They'll likely have a football game each season on NBCSN through the end of their TV deal.  They might speak on behalf of Comcast for others who have doubts.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

11/12 12 Day CFB Selection Guesses

CBS is scheduled to have two SEC games, one at 12pm and one at 3:30pm.  When CBS has a doubleheader involving a 12pm, they do not have the 1st two choices, but the 1st and the 4th choice.

ABC will also have a 12pm game.  No guarantee that it must be national.

ESPN2 has a 10:15pm window.  With Hawai'i-Nevada scheduled for ESPNU late, ESPN2 seems to be a likely landing spot for the Idaho-BYU game.

BTN will be able to fill all scheduling obligations provided the Wisconsin-Minnesota game is chosen by them.  The Badgers are the only Big Ten team to not appear on the network in a conference game.

The Washington-USC game is USC's homecoming and was guaranteed a 3:30pm ET kickoff.  If ABC passed on their game, and I expect that to be the case, the ABC window would move to 8pm ET and FOX Sports would assume the Washington-USC game.

My feeling is that the 8pm window will be the Oregon-Stanford game and will be national and ABC will use the 12pm window as a regional window.  Before the season started when ABC added this window, I thought the 12pm game could be Miami (FL)-Florida St., but with those teams falling short of expectations, they'll show other games.

Versus has a 10:30pm Pac-12 window.  I think that could change if the Arizona St.-Washington St. game is chosen.  Washington St. really dislikes late season night games because its very cold out for night games in Pullman.  With Colorado and Utah being MST teams, I don't think they'll want to start a game at 8:30pm local time either.  Oregon St.-California isn't ideal either, but its likely to be the only other choice if Versus isn't able to change their time slot.

Tennessee at Arkansas, 12pm
Auburn at Georgia, 3:30pm

Cincinnati at West Virginia, 12pm
Oklahoma St. at Texas Tech, 12pm
Wake Forest at Clemson, 3:30pm
Nebraska at Penn St., 3:30pm
Texas A&M at Kansas St., 3:30pm
Oregon at Stanford, 8pm

Michigan at Illinois, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Alabama at Mississippi St., 7:30pm

Michigan St. at Iowa, 12pm
Florida at South Carolina, 7pm
Idaho at BYU, 10:15pm

FOX Sports
Marshall at Tulsa, 12pm FSN
Baylor at Kansas, 12:30pm FOX College
NC State at Boston College, ACC RSNs
Washington at USC, 3:30pm F/X
Navy at SMU, 3:30pm FSN
Texas at Missouri, 7pm FSN

Ohio St. at Purdue, 12pm
Miami (FL) at Florida St., 3:30pm
Western Kentucky at LSU, 7pm
Hawai'i at Nevada, 10:15pm (confirmed)

Arizona St. at Washington St., 10:30pm

Rice at Northwestern, 12pm
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 3:30pm

Regional, Syndication and Web Exclusives
Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 12pm SEC Network
Pittsburgh at Louisville, 12pm Big East Network
Duke at Virginia, 12:30pm ACC Network
UL-Lafayette at Arkansas St., 1pm Sun Belt Network (confirmed)
Arizona at Colorado, 3:30pm FCS/FSAZ
Oregon St. at California, 3:30pm ROOT NW/CSNCA
UCLA at Utah, 3:30pm Prime Ticket/KJZZ
Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss, 7:30pm CSS

Sunday, October 23, 2011

11/5 12 Day Selection Guesses

Obviously there is the story out there regarding moving LSU-Alabama to primetime.  That would have to be negotiated between CBS, ESPN and the SEC.  For now, I'm going to assume the timeslot for the game remains at 3:30pm ET.

Other notes:

  • The Breeders Cup is on ESPN from 3:30pm to 7:15pm.  That is why ESPN cannot show a game during that time slot.
  • This is also the final week that FSN will carry an SEC game regionally in 2011.   
  • CSS also has two SEC selections, one at 12:30pm and again at 7:30pm.
  • Advance listings at, coupled with, show FX with a 4pm and 8pm window, and FSN with only 12pm and 3:30pm national games.  This differs from FOX's original release.  With that said, FOX hasn't exactly been sticking to the release.  
  • Since FOX has been showing their Big 12 FX games at 12pm lately, possibly to give the ABC or ESPN games their own slot, would not surprise me to see this become a 12pm-4pm FX doubleheader
  • Because of the 4pm FX game, plus because ABC currently has a 3:30pm Pac-12 window, I think the Pac-12 will have an 8pm ABC window instead.
  • Versus is listed with a Pac-12 window at 10:30pm
  • Having all Big East teams play each other makes a slight mess of things.  Could see a game on ABC at 3:30pm instead of a12pm ESPN/ESPN2 game, which would give the Big Ten a slot back.
  • Oregon-Washington may match the two best records in the Pac-12 that day, but Oregon has four games part of the ABC/ESPN package and there's a max of six appearances in that package.  I'm assuming ABC will want both the Civil War and the Oregon-Stanford game, so F/X has one fall in its lap
  • Why so many games on BTN? Ohio St., Wisconsin and Nebraska have yet to appear in a conference game on BTN.  Michigan St. has not yet either, but has a game with Indiana upcoming.  Wisconsin does as well and they could end up moving back to 12pm on ESPN/ESPN2 with a Big East game at 3:30pm on ABC instead of 12pm on ESPN2.

Would not be stunned if several time slots/games are held for six day picks.  Its a mess.

LSU at Alabama, 3:30pm

Michigan at Iowa, 3:30pm (RM)
Texas A&M at Oklahoma, 3:30pm (RM)
Stanford at Oregon St., 8pm
Kansas St. at Oklahoma St., 8pm

Minnesota at Michigan St., 12pm
South Carolina at Arkansas, 7:45pm

Syracuse at Connecticut, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Notre Dame at Wake Forest, 7:45pm

Arizona St. at UCLA, 10:30pm

Louisville at West Virginia, 12pm
USF at Rutgers, 3:30pm
Vanderbilt at Florida, 7pm
Louisiana Tech at Fresno St., 10:15pm (confirmed)

FOX Sports
Missouri at Baylor, 12pm FSN
Kansas at Iowa St., 12:30pm FOX College Sports
NC State at North Carolina, 3pm ACC RSNs
UTEP at Rice, 3:30pm FSN
Oregon at Washington, 4pm F/X
New Mexico St. at Georgia, 7pm SEC RSNs
Texas Tech at Texas, 8pm F/X

Indiana at Ohio St., 12pm
Purdue at Wisconsin, 3:30pm
Northwestern at Nebraska, 3:30pm

Regional, Web Exclusive & Syndication
Ole Miss at Kentucky, 12pm SEC Network
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 12pm Big East Network
Virginia at Maryland, 12:30pm ACC Network
Middle Tennessee at Tennessee, 12:30pm CSS
Duke at Miami (FL), 1pm
Washington St. at California, 7pm ROOT NW/CSNCA
Utah at Arizona, 7pm FSAZ/KJZZ
UT-Martin at Mississippi St., 7:30pm CSS

Saturday, October 22, 2011

TV implications of the new CFA (aka MWC-CUSA-Big East-WAC)

A week ago the MWC and Conference USA announced that they would be combining forces in football for a super conference of sorts.   And I tweeted the following

I had no idea John Marinatto would take it to heart.

Now the Boston Globe is reporting that a scenario being considered is that the Big East and part of the WAC could join up with the MWC/C-USA partnership to create a single conference/alliance with the Big East's automatic BCS berth.

To me, its not a far fetched idea.  Right now, the plan assumes that West Virginia would replace Missouri in the Big 12.  Of course, Louisville could be substituted in.  The plan assumes that the Big 12 would be a ten team conference.  It also appears to assume that BYU will remain an independent.

Right now, there's a mishmash of TV rights involving all of the potential parties involved.  ESPN has the WAC rights for a few more years, C-USA has deals with FOX Sports and CBS Sports Network, the MWC with CBS Sports Network and Comcast/NBC and the Big East with ESPN.

To me, it looks like a slimmed down version of the CFA, the negotiating body for several conferences' TV rights from the mid-80s through the mid-90s.  Another coincidence: Chuck Neinas, who ran the Big 8 as commissioner along with the CFA, happens to have been the point person for the C-USA/MWC merger.

Questions come up with how a merger of this size goes about divvying up their TV rights and other money:

  • Single group or by division?
  • How many layers/entities will be involved (network, cable, syndication, conference-run TV)?
  • TV rights money: appearance based or shared equally?
  • Bowl games: do they get negotiated by division or within the group as a whole, and how does that money get split?
I'm sure there are other considerations too.  What are your thoughts about this setup?  How would you set this conglomeration up?

Breakdown of ESPN Networks' MBK Coverage

With the release of ESPN Networks' men's basketball coverage for the 2011-12 season, I wanted to take a look and see what the breakdown was for all conferences that ESPN will air games for.  Networks that were part of the count were ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN/ESPN2 flex games and exclusives.  Games that are part of a conference's championship tournament are included in the count.  Rights belong to the "home" team when it comes to non-conference games in the count.

NOTE:  All games that are part of an exempt tournament/event, even if played on a team's home court, have been excluded from these counts.


* The Big East and ACC are the clear leaders when it comes to the bulk of college basketball that ESPN Networks carry with nearly 40% of MBK games where ESPN holds conference-level rights as part of these two conference's packages.  There's a few reasons why the number is so high.

1. ESPN took all ACC rights over from Raycom and has increased the number of ESPNU and ESPN3 exclusives, particularly for non-conference games where those games were often retained by the school and licensed to various regional networks.

2. ESPN is limited in the contracts of the Big 12, Big Ten and SEC on how many games they can take.  In the case of the Big Ten, BTN picks up the majority of the games, particularly in the non-conference portion of the schedule.  With the Big 12 and SEC, schools can create their own rights packages after a specific number of non-conference games are selected.

* The five "Power" conferences that ESPN has contracts with make up 2/3rd of all games ESPN has for conference rights.  The percentage remains consistent when removing ESPN3 games from the equation.

* Three conferences have only their conference championship on ESPN Networks and no other regular season games: Atlantic Sun, Big Sky & Southland.

* The non "Power" conference with the most games on ESPN Networks is the Metro Atlantic, but 2/3rd of those games are exclusives.  The non "Power" conference with the most televised games is the WCC.  The WCC is also the non "Power" conference with the most games on ESPN & ESPN2.

* Six conferences will have at least one regular season game on ESPNU and/or, but their lone ESPN/ESPN2 appearance will be the conference championship: America East, Big South, MEAC, NEC, OVC & Summit.

* Two conferences will have all their televised games on ESPNU: the Ivy League and the SWAC.  The SWAC will have their conference championship on ESPNU, the Ivies are the lone holdout when it comes to a conference championship tournament.

* An additional 143 games are part of exempt & neutral site events and ESPN Bracketbusters.

Quick Take on LSU-Alabama for Primetime

CollegeFootballTalk @ brought to light a report that the CBS really wants the LSU-Alabama game, and wants to move its 3:30pm window to primetime.  As the article notes, CBS currently gets only one primetime window a year.  When CBS does a game in primetime, it is an exclusive window and ESPN moves its SEC selections to the early afternoon timeslot (ie. 12pm ET).

It seems like a novel idea,  but I'm of the opinion that its not going to be feasible.  I posted this on the message board at, so if this response looks familiar, you don't need to read any further. 

Honestly, if I'm ESPN, I play a little hardball here.  I control the nighttime selection.  I tell the schools that if you want a nighttime kick, its ESPN, not CBS.  
ESPN doesn't have a lot to work with because of the Breeders Cup and the existing glut of games on 11/5.  They don't have a standalone 3:30pm slot they could fit a game into.  
The only remaining standalone 3:30pm slot for ESPN/ESPN2 is on 11/26.  Tell CBS they can do a double header, that LSU-Alabama will be coexist because ESPN can't give up the slot and the rest of the conference shouldn't go without TV, and that CBS won't have a game on 11/26.  That would be my offer to make sure all "considerations" are handled in 2011.
CBS has risk because if LSU loses to 'Bama and both teams win out through the final weekend, the game that matters on 11/26 would be the Iron Bowl and ESPN would have it.  CBS is hedging that LSU wins and the Arkansas game decides the SEC West.
Of course, none of this matters if either team loses this weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/29 12 Day Picks

10/29 has a Big 12 evening sublicense window on ESPN/ESPN2, which kinda makes a mess of things when you add in confirmed evening games for both the Big Ten and Pac-12.  Makes the 3:30pm ABC window look really stacked.

Also a possibility of a lot of six day picks.

Georgia vs. Florida, 3:30pm (confirmed)

Michigan St. at Nebraska, 3:30pm (RM)
Clemson at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm (RM)
Oklahoma at Kansas St., 3:30pm
Stanford at USC, 8pm (confirmed)
Wisconsin at Ohio St., 8pm (time confirmed)

Purdue at Michigan, 12pm (time confirmed)
Illinois at Penn St., 3:30pm
Missouri at Texas A&M, 7:45pm

Wake Forest at North Carolina, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 7pm

NC State at Florida St., 12pm
West Virginia at Rutgers, 3:30pm
South Carolina at Tennessee, 7pm

FOX Sports
Baylor at Oklahoma St., 12pm FSN
Boston College at Maryland, 3pm ACC RSNs
Washington St. at Oregon, 3:30pm F/X
SMU at Tulsa, 3:30pm FSN (confirmed)
Iowa St. at Texas Tech, 7pm FSN
Ole Miss at Auburn, 7pm SEC RSNs
Arizona at Washington, 10:30pm FSN

Northwestern at Indiana, 12pm (time confirmed)
Iowa at Minnesota, 3:30pm

Regional & Syndication
Mississippi St. at Kentucky, 12pm SEC Network
Syracuse at Louisville, 12pm Big East Network
Virginia Tech at Duke, 12:30pm ACC Network
Oregon St. at Utah, 3:30pm ROOT Sports NW/KJZZ
California at UCLA, 4pm Prime Ticket
Colorado at Arizona St., 7pm FCS/FSAZ
Kansas at Texas, 7pm Longhorn Network/Jayhawk Network 7pm (confirmed)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Football on TV Scheduling Notes

Virtually every conference's television contract has some sort of provision to make sure that a particular team doesn't appear in the top package too many times or that the conference's syndication/regional package gets a game involving every team.  Since we're over halfway through the year in terms of TV selections, let's take a look at a few of those items.

Big Ten
The key portion of their TV deals revolves around making sure every team appears twice on BTN, with one of those appears as a conference game.  Eight of the twelve teams have already met that requirement, with Michigan St., Nebraska, Ohio St. and Wisconsin not yet on the network as part of a conference game.  As we get to November, most weeks have all Big 12 teams playing.  Since the conference doesn't schedule night games in November, expect multiple BTN games/windows each week, so it may not take long for those teams to appear on BTN.

Big 12
The understanding is that the Longhorn Network games count as part of ABC's television agreement with the conference.  With that said, according to the Big 12's television agreement with ABC, no team can appear more than six times on ABC.  Texas-Texas A&M, whether the game appears on ABC or ESPN, counts as part of the ABC agreement.

If the Longhorn Network games indeed count towards those six appearances on ABC, then Texas is officially maxed out.  ABC did claim the Baylor game at the end of the season, but the Texas Tech (11/5), Missouri (11/12) and Kansas St. (11/19) games would be FSN or F/X selections.  Oklahoma & Oklahoma St. have had three of their games selected by ABC and don't appear to be in danger of hitting the appearance maximum.  Oklahoma also had their game vs. Iowa St. selected by F/X, so they are in good shape.

The Pac-12 also has an appearance maximum with ABC/ESPN of six.  USC has five appearances on ABC/ESPN currently scheduled.  Stanford, Oregon & Arizona St. each have four scheduled appearances on ABC/ESPN as of today.

November 12th could be when USC hits the max at home vs. Washington, but that same date is Oregon-Stanford.  The TV schedule notes that the UW-USC will take place at 3:30pm whether ABC or FSN/FX picks it.  I expect it to be left to FOX, so that ABC can do UO-Stanford in primetime.   The question then becomes whether ABC would avoid Oregon-Washington on 11/5 so that they could do the Stanford & Oregon St. games to finish the year.

With the LSU-Alabama game expected to be televised on CBS on 11/5, LSU fans are very upset that they will not have any conference home games kick off at night.  From research on Twitter, this will be the 1st year since 1936 that LSU will not host an SEC opponent at night.

LSU is the only SEC team that has had four scheduled for CBS and the CBS maximum for a school is six games per season, with one exception per school where they can pick up seven games (the conference championship isn't used as part of the count).  If the Alabama game will be on the network, the remainder of the Tigers' schedule that CBS can pick up (11/12 vs.Western Kentucky, 11/19 vs. Ole Miss) doesn't make it likely that CBS will have to concern them hitting the max on LSU nor using the exception.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

College Basketball on non-ESPN Networks


ESPN covers the majority of college basketball on television during the regular season, but not every conference places its games on their networks.  Because ESPN puts out a stellar press release for their offerings, we'll give a plug to the others who bring you your hoops fix, particularly CBS who brings you the NCAA tournament along with Turner Sports.

CBS will continue to span the college basketball globe, if you will, with 42 games and the majority from SEC, Big East and Big Ten arenas.  One change from prior seasons is that CBS will not have any regular season games from ACC arenas due to ESPN owning all rights to the conference and electing not to sublicense any games.  CBS will have have five conference championship games (Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Conference USA, Missouri Valley and Pac-12), though this will be the final season they will carry the Pac-12 final as that will rotate rightsholders between ESPN and FOX Sports.

Note that the C-USA final is now a FOX property that will continue to be sublicensed.  The MVC and Atlantic 10 finals are also sublicenses, but from ESPN.

CBS Sports Network will carry 75 games from the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, Mountain West and Patriot League plus three neutral site events.  The network will carry its first conference championship game as it now has the rights to the Patriot League championship.

FOX Sports Networks has at least 68 games on its docket.  56 games from the Pac-12, including the majority of the Pac-12 tournament, 10 games from Conference USA as part of their new TV contract and at least one neutral site event.  The Pac-12 will see an increased presence on Sundays in '11-'12 as they appear to have replaced the ACC Sunday Night Hoops package.  Not listed, yet, in the FSN schedule is the Paradise Jam event from the Virgin Islands which they've televised in previous years.  That one I expect to add to the schedule.

NBC Sports Network will have eight MWC games, one each Saturday at 4pm ET starting on January 14th with the exception of January 21st when CBS has a MWC game.  NBCSN will again carry the MWC final.

Addendum to College Realignment Post - Rivalries

Think about this for a few moments.  One of the rivalries that you hear that people would bring back on a regular basis is Pitt-Penn State (yes, they are playing in a few years a home-home).

Realize that with the realignment of the past month, there's a real chance these series will no longer happen.  Number of meetings between the schools, including any games in 2011, in parenthesis.

Data courtesy  Settling bar bets since 2000.

Texas-Texas A&M (118) - Not much more to be said there.
Baylor-Texas A&M (108) - From SWC to the Big 12.  After Texas, A&M has played Baylor more than any other school
Texas Tech-Texas A&M (70) - Meeting number 70, particularly with the treatment the A&M bus received, most certainly means this one isn't happening going forward.
Pittsburgh-West Virginia (105) - With the loss in regularity of Pitt-Penn St., these two schools are each others most played opponent and the proximity of the schools just adds to the hatred.  Consider too that the majority of Backyard Brawls were played while the schools were independent.  They didn't have to play each other.
Syracuse-West Virginia (59) - Game is played for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy, former WVU football player and longtime head coach at Syracuse, including the 1959 national championship team.

This doesn't include the longtime series that Nebraska and Colorado set aside leaving the Big 12, the rivalries that Utah & BYU let go, not to mention that the BYU series (88 meetings including 2012's) could end next year after not being renewed.  The news today that Air Force is possibly leaving the MWC to move to the Big East (assuming that the other two service academies or at least Navy follows them) is an even move for them, not counting the extra revenue the BCS brings.  They'll toss aside Colorado St. & Wyoming (50 games each, more meetings than with Army & Navy), but gain some scheduling flexibility now that those academy meetings are part of a conference.

This also doesn't include rivalries in sports like men's basketball, where Syracuse is letting go the guarantee of playing Georgetown, Villanova & Connecticut on a yearly basis.  Providence will also miss Syracuse.

The one school where realignment brings things together is for TCU, where yearly meetings with Baylor (107), Texas Tech (54) and Texas (82) will resume, along with a yearly meeting with SMU (101) that I assume will continue to occur.  Couple that with the Oklahoma schools in conference, its the one place where realignment makes sense economically and geographically.

The point is that rivalries are the fabric of college football.  The quilt is being patched together with dollar bills.

Trying to tie realignment back to TV

Now that realignment is starting to slow...alright, it isn't.

* The ACC and ESPN are going back to the negotiating table now that the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse are on the way.  At worse, $25-$27 million gets added to the total rights deal of the conference to account for those schools being added so that the other schools don't receive diluted shares of TV revenue.  With the addition of at least 12 football games and around 30 games in the TV rights package, it will be interesting to see how they add those games to the TV schedule.  Maybe an additional Thursday night game or two and a few more games for seem to be where football will go, but basketball will definitely see more games.  That's where the additions have value.

* TCU is doing the right thing by negotiating with the Big 12.  Its the geographical fit for them and, theoretically, travel will be less expensive for them.  They're in process of upgrading Amon Carter Stadium and they'll get back to playing several opponents on a yearly basis who they shared longtime rivalries with them.  Not to mention that they'll be receiving a windfall in television revenue when compared to what they would have made in the Big East television contract and more appearances nationally as part of the Big 12 contract.

* The Big 12 is still the conference with the tipping point for additional realignment.  After TCU, Missouri's decision on a conference home must be made.  The Big Ten has informally turned them down and the school's rather public courting of a new home may have turned off other conferences.  If Missouri stays, the membership has to determine whether they want to return to a 12 member conference and if they want to play a conference championship game.

* Back when the Pac-12 made their decision to go with FOX and ESPN as television partners, it was though that the two entities teamed up to keep NBC/Comcast out of the major conference college sports business.   Fast forward to Big East football media day, where NBC Sports president Mark Lazarus talked about being interested in bidding on the conference's rights when they came to the open market.  Now that the conference has lost two members and an incoming member, you get the feeling that ESPN and FOX, indirectly, are working again to keep NBC/Comcast out of the market by reshuffling the deck of available conferences and schools, stripping the Big East for parts and damaging a conference before it hits the open market.  Almost daring NBC/Comcast to bid on it, in a way telling them they can come in to the market, but the product they plan on bidding on might not have the cache that it could have had.

Your thoughts? Click on the comment link below this entry.

12 Day TV Guesses for 10/21 & 10/22

Friday (8pm for both games)
West Virginia at Syracuse, ESPN
Rutgers at Louisville, ESPN2


Nebraska at Minnesota, 3:30pm (confirmed, RM)
Texas Tech at Oklahoma, 3:30pm (RM)
Washington at Stanford, 8pm (time confirmed)
Oklahoma St. at Missouri, 8pm

Auburn at LSU, 3:30pm

Illinois at Purdue, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Wisconsin at Michigan St., 8pm (time confirmed)

Georgia Tech at Miami (FL), 12pm
North Carolina at Clemson, 3:30pm
Tennessee at Alabama, 7:45pm

Maryland at Florida St. 12pm
Boston College at Virginia Tech, 3:30pm
Army at Vanderbilt, 7pm

FOX Sports
Kansas St. at Kansas, 12pm FSN
NC State at Virginia, 3pm ACC RSNs
Oregon at Colorado, 3:30pm F/X
Tulsa at Rice, 3:30pm FSN
Oregon St. vs. Washington St., 3:30pm FOX College Sports/Root Sports NW
Texas A&M at Iowa St., 7pm FSN
Utah at California, 10:30pm FSN

Indiana at Iowa, 12pm (time confirmed)
Penn St. at Northwestern, 7pm (confirmed)

Regional Syndication
Arkansas at Ole Miss, 12pm SEC Network
Cincinnati at USF, 12pm Big East Network (confirmed)
Wake Forest at Duke, 12:30pm ACC Network
Jacksonville St. at Kentucky, 1pm Big Blue PPV

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Guesses for 10/15 12 Day Selections

Note that ESPN is likely to choose a Big 12 game on ESPN/ESPN2 in primetime and that ABC does not have an 8pm slot due to NASCAR.

LSU at Tennessee, 3:30pm

ABC (both at 3:30pm)
Michigan at Michigan St. (RM)
Clemson at Maryland (RM)
Kansas St. at Texas Tech

Indiana at Wisconsin, 12pm (time confirmed)
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Oklahoma St. at Texas, 7pm
Arizona St. at Oregon, 10:15pm

Louisville at Cincinnati, 12pm
Georgia Tech at Virginia, 6pm
Florida at Auburn, 9:15pm

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 12pm
Utah at Pittsburgh, 3:30pm
Alabama at Ole Miss, 7pm

FOX Sports
Oklahoma at Kansas, 12pm FSN
Florida St. at Duke, 3pm ACC RSNs
UCF at SMU, 3:30pm FSN
UTEP at Tulane, 3:30pm FOX College Sports (confirmed)
Baylor at Texas A&M, 7pm F/X
Iowa St. at Missouri, 7pm FOX College Sports
Georgia at Vanderbilt, 7pm SEC RSNs

Stanford at Washington St, 7:30pm

Purdue at Penn St., 12pm (time confirmed)
Ohio St. at Illinois, 3:30pm
Northwestern at Iowa, 7pm (confirmed)

Regional Syndication
South Carolina at Mississippi St., 12pm SEC Network
USF at Connecticut, 12pm Big East Network
Miami (FL) at North Carolina, 12:30pm ACC Network
Colorado at Washington, 3:30pm ROOT Sports RSNs
Navy at Rutgers, 3:30pm SNY/Big East Local
BYU at Oregon St., 7pm ROOT Sports RSNs

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guesses for 10/8 12 day selections

What is somewhat tricky is the Louisville-UNC game.  When the game was put together to allow Georgia to play in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic, it was to be played opening weekend and guaranteed ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 coverage.  When UNC couldn't move or get out of the James Madison game, they had to find another date, but I think the promise of ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 coverage remains.

F/X is confirmed to have a Big 12 game as both Pac-12 selections for FOX have been set for FSN.  Versus has its first Pac-12 in-season pick.

Florida at LSU, 3:30pm

Oklahoma vs. Texas, 12pm (confirmed)
Texas A&M at Texas Tech, 3:30pm (RM)
Iowa at Penn St., 3:30pm (RM)
Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech, 8pm
Ohio St. at Nebraska, 8pm

Illinois at Indiana, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Vanderbilt at Alabama, 7:45pm

Louisville at North Carolina, 12pm
Auburn at Arkansas, 7pm

Florida St. at Wake Forest, 12pm
Pittsburgh at Rutgers, 3:30pm
Georgia at Tennessee, 7pm
San Jose St. at BYU, 10:15pm

FOX Sports
Mississippi St. at UAB, 12pm FSN (confirmed)
Arizona St. at Utah, 3:30pm FSN
Boston College at Clemson, 3:30pm ACC RSNs
Iowa St. at Baylor, 7pm FSN
Missouri at Kansas St., 7pm FOX College
Kansas at Oklahoma St, 8pm F/X
Washington St. at UCLA, 10:30pm FSN

Colorado at Stanford, 7:30pm

Minnesota at Purdue, 12pm

Connecticut at West Virginia, 12pm Big East (confirmed)
Kentucky at South Carolina, 12pm SEC
Maryland at Georgia Tech, 12:30pm ACC
Arizona at Oregon St., 7pm FSAZ/ROOT NW

Central Michigan at NC State, 6pm

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thoughts on the off-field crap...

I'm not thrilled with the decision for Syracuse and Pittsburgh to bolt for the ACC.  But I get it.  It's not about the cash.  The ACC will be behind the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-1? in that regard.  It's about stability in a conference when you look at the ACC increasing its exit fee to $20 million.  They made a commitment to each other, compared to the Big East's $5 million exit fee which neither school will have much trouble paying out.

It is an indictment on the leadership of John Marinatto.  I admit that I was willing to give John a chance and the move to invite TCU (which I wasn't in favor of, but accepted) and the feeling that they could do better than the ESPN offer the conference rejected in April, an offer that had a decent increase in rights fee but was dwarfed by both the Big 12's contract from FOX (who knows what is going on there) and the Pac-12's split deals with FOX and ESPN.  You had a feeling that Marinatto wasn't going to be blind to the football side of the house.  And with some of the fracturing going on, you had to wonder if the Big East could be considered in a position of strength.  They had possible flexibility with a free agent like Texas, maybe a travel buddy for TCU, allowing them to keep their Longhorn Network and be a bell cow for the football side.  Something beyond enticing the remnants of a broken conference.

Something happened.  Maybe spurning the ESPN deal neutered that flexibility, where ESPN could have said their offer no longer was in play.  Maybe Marinatto, serving 16 masters today but of different agendas athletically, was pressured to continue to push Villanova as a viable option as a football playing member.  There could have been internal conflict about who he wanted to contact about conference membership and the type of membership (full member, football only, everything but football, financial incentives, etc.) but couldn't get any consensus on what to do.  Maybe the appeal of the left behind members of the Big 12 didn't  appeal to everyone where it might have appealed to Marinatto, or vice-versa.

He didn't hitch his wagon to Texas like Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did, and it appears that Beebe could end up managing a conference where the member with the most stature is Missouri.  Sorry Kansas, football will matter and I saw what Georgia Tech did to you guys, and Louisville might have more overall health as an athletic department than anyone who might remain from the Big 12.  The inability to build consensus and relationships between himself and among other members kept an uneasy alliance...uneasy, and now irreparably broken.

John wasn't given the power that Larry Scott was given by the Pac-10 presidents, to go out and do things for the conference, within committed parameters of revenue sharing.  He could wine and dine Texas & Oklahoma, and while it sounded like he only hit a double with the additions of Colorado & Utah, he used his media connections and savvy to get a massive television rights contract for his members and a very out-of-the-box approach to a conference network.  His lessons learned appears that it will allow him to make another run at Texas & Oklahoma and friends, with parameters that appear to be the consensus of the school presidents.

We know how powerful Jim Delany is and how committed the Big Ten members are to each other, a common agenda in education and athletics.  And we now see that John Swofford was able to maintain a united front in the ACC, one that appealed to two Big East schools and possibly two more in the near future.

Fact is, the appointed leader is only as good as the backing of his constituents, managing those egos and expectations.  In the cases of John Marinatto and Dan Beebe, that backing was missing, their faith was misplaced, vision was shortsighted.  But those same school presidents need to look at what they could have done.  The Big East, as Rick Pitino once said, was a corporation and not a conference.  A governing body not unlike the old ECAC, where many of those founding Big East members came from.  The Big 12 was an uneasy partnership from day one, forged in the purpose of making money from television rights.  Kevin Weiberg knew he couldn't build that consensus while leading the Big 12 and bolted for greener pastures, first at the Big Ten Network and now in the Pac-1? office.

The school presidents' failure to get a strong leader doomed them, but these men were their spokesman, the presenter of their agendas and that speaks volumes about the backbone of many of those presidents.  And that includes Nancy Cantor and Mark Nordenberg.  Their decision to bolt makes sense, but they also need to be accountable for the failure of the Big East to move forward.

Guesses for 10/1 TV Selections

If you are new to this blog, I tend to try to guess which games networks will pick for a given weekend before they make their selections on Monday.  Not keeping score, but I do try to follow each conference's contract rules and make some educated guesses.    Feel free to comment, tell me I'm FOS, ask questions, etc. has the current confirmed games & times.  Click on the Flex Windows on the page to see the timeslots available.

These selections are for October 1st

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, 3:30pm
Alabama at Florida, 8pm

ABC (both 3:30pm games reverse mirrored to ESPN)
Wake Forest at Boston College, 3:30pm 
Michigan St. at Ohio St., 3:30pm 
Nebraska at Wisconsin, 8pm 

Minnesota at Michigan, 12pm
Notre Dame at Purdue, 8pm

Auburn at South Carolina, 12pm
Clemson at Virginia Tech, 6pm

Northwestern at Illinois, 12pm
Idaho at Virginia, 3:30pm
Georgia Tech at NC State, 7pm

FOX Sports
Texas Tech at Kansas, 12pm (FSN special presentation)
Kentucky at LSU, 12pm (SEC RSNs)
Washington at Utah, 3:30pm (FSN)
Bethune-Cookman at Miami (FL), 3:30pm (ACC RSNs)
Iowa St. at Texas, 4pm (F/X)
Baylor at Kansas St., 7pm (FSN)
Arizona at USC, 8pm (F/X)
UCLA at Stanford, 10:30pm (FSN)

Penn St. at Indiana, 12pm

ACC Network
Towson at Maryland, 12:30pm

SEC Network
Mississippi St. at Georgia, 12pm

Buffalo at Tennessee, 12pm (CSS)
Washington St. at Colorado, 7pm (Root Sports NW/Fox College Sports)
Oregon St. at Arizona St., 7pm (Root Sports NW/Fox Sports Arizona)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My View on Realignment

I've tried to stay out of the realignment feeding frenzy.  It isn't my cup of tea.   It hurts my head to try to discuss or think about.  But I do think that some important points need to be brought up.  Some of this might sound reactionary/impulsive based on my team's alliance (Syracuse -> Big East) and I'm not going to apologize for that.  I will incorporate some TV aspects into this

  • The MAC has been running on 13 teams for quite a while and holding a championship game.  No the math does not work out for 13 teams and eight conference games per team, but somehow they've been doing it for a while.  The SEC doesn't have to get to an even number immediately.
  • College presidents run the show and they have great academic credentials.  They need to be mindful of their boosters but also take the big picture into account.  Texas Tech moving to a Pac-16 in theory means they'll get to play USC, but they might only play them once or twice a decade.  No different than negotiating a non-conference series.
  • I wrote this piece on the possibility of a Pac-16 and how it could become unwieldy to negotiate for any TV network.  My position hasn't really changed.
  • As Frank The Tank (see 1st point), then Darren Rovell stated, composition of conference clauses are for the benefit of the TV network, not the conference.  The conference is not guaranteed anything when adding a new member, but the possibility exists when it loses a member that it will lose television money.  The SEC's "look-ins" aren't renegotiation points, they are evaluation points.  Are ESPN and CBS doing a good job?  Does the SEC want more afternoon games?  Can CBS have more games in primetime?  Those are the questions that get asked at a look-in.
  • There are still only 24 hours in a day.   Go ahead and cannibalize the Big East's football conference.  Just be aware that the only things you gain by doing that are several Thursday-Friday night time slots.  Does your conference want to play on those dates?
  • The thing that boggles my mind is that A&M doesn't appear to have made any headway regarding attempting to set up a TV network/digital platform of their own.  They have fought ESPN, and by extension Texas, regarding the Longhorn Network's programming, but outside of a brief note that the head of Fox Sports Southwest is an Aggie alum and would help set up that same platform in the SEC, they don't appear to have done anything towards their own network.  At least we know that Oklahoma and Kansas St. have HD facilities for production.  AD Bill Byrne used to talk about ticket sales being a reason for no games on PPV or Fox College Sports, but Byrne noted that they have sold out their season tickets.
  • I don't pretend to know what did/didn't happen when the Big 12 and FOX negotiated their last contract, but A&M president R. Bowen Loftin was given the power by his own university's trustees to negotiate on behalf of the school.  If you don't like a deal, don't complain when you have the power to change it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

CFB: What to watch, 9/1 - 9/5

Opening week of college football is great, especially because it falls over Labor Day weekend.  Many parts of the country still have great weather, so its perfect for a barbecue or tailgate.  Unfortunately the quality of the games don't always measure up.  But there's a few out there to peek in on...

All times Eastern. 

...but opening night is not one of those nights.  UNLV-Wisconsin (ESPN, 8pm) and Mississippi St.-Memphis (FSN, 8pm) are there for your football fix, but no one will judge you if you decide to watch MLB or preseason NFL football.

TCU at Baylor (8pm, ESPN) provides a nice start to the weekend.  Baylor made its 1st bowl game as a Big 12 member last year, when the conference name numerically matched the number of schools.  Robert Griffin III doesn't always get the publicity he deserves as a dual threat QB.  TCU lost key players like quarterback Andy Dalton and receivers James Young and Jeremy Kerley, so the offense will be learning on the fly.

No one will be upset if you want to bypass the early afternoon games.  Sleep in, get some chores done, get some groceries, stock the fridge.  You'll thank me later.

USF at Notre Dame (3:30pm, NBC) is a great starter to the day.  Notre Dame is an improving team, but USF is too and will likely have a say in the Big East's title race.  QB BJ Daniels will begin his 3rd year as a starting QB and he needs to improve on his passing awareness, improving his completion percentage, but throwing more INTs than TDs and seeing his rushing stats decline, though Skip Holtz's offense goal was to try to limit Daniels' improvisation skills.  For the Irish, Dayne Crist was named the starter over Tommy Rees through training camp competition, though Rees finished last year 4-0.  Key stat, though somewhat irrelevant due to USF's change in coaches is that Brian Kelly went 3-0 vs. USF as head coach at Cincinnati.

Last year, I thought Houston's visit to UCLA would result in a pretty severe beating for the Bruins, but Case Keenum ended up being injured for the rest of the season and took a fair amount of steam from the rest of the Cougars rematch.  Keenum returns for the somewhat rare 6th season of eligibility in the rematch in Houston (3:30pm, FSN).

BYU replaced Boise St. in this visit to Ole Miss (4:45pm, ESPN) so that the Broncos could participate in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff vs. Georgia, but the degree of difficulty on Ole Miss's part didn't change.  Problem for the Rebels is that their challenges have been self-inflicted with starting QB Randall Mackey suspended for a bar fight.  In BYU's case, they'll enter this season with a clear #1 QB in Jake Heaps vs. the in-season competition with Riley Nelson that hampered the Cougars early in the year.

ABC and ESPN have dueling 8pm games that are the best of the day, particularly the Oregon-LSU game from Dallas on ABC.  LSU will be down a starting QB in Jordan Jefferson, but some Tigers fans aren't exactly thrilled with his ability at times.  Still, when #3 meets #4 on a neutral field to open the year, its must see.  ESPN's contribution is Boise St.'s matchup with Georgia in "neutral" Atlanta.  Don't kid yourself, this is a Boise St. road game with the number of tickets sold to Georgia fans and proximity to campus.  But this is not the same as the Broncos' visit to Athens when they were looking for national respect and received a beating at the hands of the eventual SEC champs.  The tables have turned, the men in blue are a top five team and Georgia is the team trying to (re)gain a measure of national respect.

Sunday & Monday
On Sunday, we'll get to see how well West Virginia's personnel matches up with Dana Holgorsen's "mad scientist"-like offense (3:30pm, ESPN).  After that, SMU will visit Texas A&M (7:30pm, FSN).  Maybe we'll find out which conference the Aggies will belong to in 2012 at that point.  Same with SMU possibly...

And on Monday, find out who is left from Miami (FL) that will be able to take the field vs. Maryland (8pm, ESPN).  Nothing has been set regarding when Miami has to sit the players that the NCAA has ruled to be ineligible, if they can stagger the suspensions or if they must be taken all at once, particularly when your opener is a conference game.  I suspect that if Bethune-Cookman were the opener, everyone with a one game suspension would be sidelined, but if they can stagger them, you might see a mostly full squad suit up.

The entire schedule

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What's New for college football on TV in 2011?

What's new in broadcasting:

ACC - A brand new rights agreement with ESPN should allow for more games to air on TV.  Not necessarily on ESPN or ABC though.  Raycom will manage a pair of syndication packages, one for over-the-air networks and one for regional cable networks.  Fox Sports South (including the Carolina subfeed) & Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports will carry games from the regional cable package.  Also appears Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will have some games.  It is unknown who would be an affiliate in New England, but NESN was part of FSN's affiliate group for ACC games, so they may be in the mix again.

C-USA - Also starting a pair of new rights agreements, one with CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports) and one with Fox Sports Media Group.  C-USA will increase its national game coverage by over 60%, not to mention their right fee revenue, by moving to FSMG from ESPN.  The FSMG deal has not been without controversy, as ESPN has sued the conference, believing that C-USA did not negotiate in good faith.  Most of the FSMG games will air on FSN and the conference's championship game will air on F/X or on FOX's broadcast network.

F/X - FOX decided to take some of its inventory and place it on F/X.  Games from the Big 12, Pac-12 and C-USA will air on the network with Gus Johnson signed to the network to be the primary voice of the package of games.

Big Ten - Besides negotiating their championship game rights with FOX, the conference also was able to strike a deal with ESPN that would allow ABC telecasts to coexist with BTN games (BTW, the Big Ten Network is now officially going by the acronym of BTN).  This will lighten the load of 3-4 games in the same time slot on BTN, plus allow the Big Ten to retain its stance of no night games in November.

Pac-12 - FOX signed up the Pac-12's championship for 2011 in a one-year deal that will also provide an additional six games for FSN & F/X to air this season.  Their package of pay-TV games increased from 18 games to 24.  None of the added games are being sublicensed to Versus, who will retain their seven game package of games sublicensed from FSMG.

With the Pac-12 Network and regional nets starting up next year, Utah (KJZZ) and Colorado (rumored to be Fox College Sports) will make agreements to have their 3rd tier games aired.

BYU - Armed with their own TV deal with ESPN, plus at least one game on BYUtv, the Cougars start life as a football independent.  They'll have at least four home games on ESPN/ESPN2 (including the "neutral" site game vs. TCU in Arlington), plus possibly three games on ESPNU (San Jose St., Idaho & New Mexico St.) with the Idaho St. game on BYUtv.

WAC - The biggest casualty in realignment, the conference will see its exposure cut at least in half, while their rights fee with ESPN may have been cut even more.  Won't get any easier for the conference next year.

Versus - After the season, the network's name will change to NBC Sports Network as Comcast is now the primary stakeholder of NBC Universal.  No word as to whether there will be more college sports programming besides the package of games they have from the Ivy League, Mountain West and Pac-12.

ESPN - Per ESPN PR's Mike Humes, both halves of a Reverse Mirror game should be available in HD to all viewers.  Sadly, it appears that the Game Plan package will remain HD-less and will not carry ESPNU games live, though users of the WatchESPN app & ESPN's authenticated services will be able to watch ESPNU on their PCs and mobile devices.

Longhorn Network - Saving the most controversial for last, the ESPN-owned and University of Texas-centric network struck a deal with FOX to allow for games from the ABC inventory of Big 12 games to appear on the network in 2011.  At least the opener vs. Rice will appear on the networks, plus the possibility of a conference game as long as the competing schools and the conference grant approval.  I'm not going to go into the messy situation regarding the possibility of high school games airing on the network.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

College Football on Fox Sports Detroit for September 2011

Received an email confirming the live football telecasts that Fox Sports Detroit will have for September 2011.  In short, they'll have all the FSN games live on the main channel, with the 12pm SEC Network games shown on the plus/alternate channel.

9/1 8 pm, Mississippi State at Memphis
9/3 12 pm, Miami (OH) at Missouri
9/3 12 pm, Kent State at Alabama (FS PLUS)
9/3 3:30 pm, UCLA at Houston
9/3 10 pm, Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss
9/4 7:30 pm, SMU at Texas A&M
9/10 12 pm, Iowa at Iowa State
9/10 12 pm, Mississippi State at Auburn (FS PLUS)
9/10 3:30 pm, Virginia Tech at East Carolina
9/10 7 pm, UTEP at SMU
9/17 12 pm, Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (FS PLUS)
9/17 1:30 pm, Colorado State at Colorado
9/17 10 pm, Oklahoma State at Tulsa
9/24 12 pm, SMU at Memphis
9/24 12 pm, SEC Game TBD (FS PLUS)
9/24 3:30 pm, PAC-12 Game TBD

Friday, July 22, 2011

1st 3 Weeks of CFB on Fox Sports South & SportSouth

Received this from Fox Sports South this morning.  All times Eastern.  Most of the national FSN games have been pushed to SportSouth, while FSSouth gets the regional ACC & SEC packages.

Thu 9/1/2011 Mississippi State @ Memphis 8:00 PM SPSO
Sat 9/3/2011 Miami (OH) @ Missouri 12:00 PM SPSO
Sat 9/3/2011 UCLA @ Houston 3:30 PM SPSO
Sat 9/3/2011 James Madison @ North Carolina 3:30 PM FSSO
Sat 9/3/2011 East Carolina vs South Carolina 7:00 PM FSSO
Sat 9/3/2011 Louisiana Tech @ Southern Miss 10:00 PM SPSO
Sun 9/4/2011 SMU @ Texas A&M 7:30 PM FSSO
Sat 9/10/2011 Iowa @ Iowa State 12:00 PM SPSO
Sat 9/10/2011 NC State @ Wake Forest 3:30 PM FSSO
Sat 9/10/2011 Virginia Tech @ East Carolina 3:30 PM SPSO
Sat 9/10/2011 UAB @ Florida 7:00 PM FSSO
Sat 9/17/2011 Kansas @ Georgia Tech 12:30 PM FSSO
Sat 9/17/2011 Colorado State @ Colorado 1:30 PM SPSO
Sat 9/17/2011 Arkansas State @ Virginia Tech 4:00 PM FSSO
Sat 9/17/2011 North Texas @ Alabama 7:30 PM FSSO
Sat 9/17/2011 Oklahoma State @ Tulsa 10:00 PM SPSO

Remember that Fox Sports Carolinas & Fox Sports Tennessee are subfeeds of Fox Sports South.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Schedule Stuff & Media Days

* Media days for conferences and independent schools start today with the BYU media day on BYUtv and  ESPNU will also carry coverage of the SEC (7/20-7/22), Pac-12 (7/27, taped from 7/26), Big East (8/2) and whip-around coverage on 7/25 & 7/26, which should cover the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 and possibly coverage from the MAC & MWC. will simulcast all ESPNU coverage.

I'm unsure if its been confirmed, but I'll be surprised if the Big Ten's media days are not covered by BTN on 7/28 & 7/29.

* ABC will have five 12pm ET windows in 2011, four on Saturdays and one on Black Friday.  Three of the five windows have games attached to them (9/17: Auburn at Clemson, 10/8: Oklahoma vs. Texas, 11/25: Nebraska at Iowa).  The other two windows are on 9/24 and 11/26.  11/26 is very likely to be the Ohio St.-Michigan game and the 9/24 game could be one of two Big East games that are marked for TV on an ABC/ESPN platform (Notre Dame at Pittsburgh or LSU at West Virginia).

* FSN is extremely stretched this year with the addition of C-USA to its roster nationally and the ACC on a regional basis.  Next year the load could be lighter as all Pac-12 content will move to F/X.   An early casualty, regionally, is the Southern Conference who closed a deal with public broadcasting entities in NC, SC and GA.  When the SEC moved on to CSS, several SoCon games moved from CSS to local TV, so this isn't much of a surprise.

But the SoCon deal with public TV isn't as viewable as some would make it out to be.  A poster on (a great place for all things sports and TV) noted that the games would appear on digital subchannels, not on the main channels of these public broadcasters.  Could mean that an extra digital tier might need to be purchased on cable for the games.  Satellite folks could be out-of-luck as subchannels aren't required to be carried as part of "must carry" laws and very few appear on these systems, usually only those that are Big Four affiliates.

* CBS Sports Network's new deal with the Patriot League will give the network a foothold in the "Championship Week" arena with its 1st conference championship.  The conference will also have a national outlet for at least two football games per year, which puts it ahead of more prestigious FCS conferences like the Big Sky, CAA and SoCon.  At this time, only the Ivy League places more games on a national network with their package of games on Versus.

* The move of the Air Force-Navy game to CBS on 10/1 was a great move.  Too bad CBS allowed Versus to have the rights to Army-Air Force.  Would make great sense, and be a very cool gesture, to have the three Commander-in-Chief's games on network television.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Longhorn Network, ESPN's use of HD & Pac-12 Network

ESPN's use of HD

This revolves around the GamePlan package and reverse mirror games that usually occur at 3:30pm with a Big Ten game and on occasion at 8pm.  The good news is that it appears that ESPN plans to make both reverse mirror games available in HD to 100% of the nation.  Previously, it would depend on how widely distributed a game would be on ABC and subsequently on ESPN.  It would take me a long time to explain, but the rule of thumb used to be if a game would be seen by over 50% of the nation on ABC, it would not be in HD on ESPN.  Now ESPN's plan is to make everything available in HD for these situations.

Item #2 revolves around the GamePlan package, which will not be in HD this year.  I have not subscribed to GamePlan in several years, using and regional sports networks to fill in the gaps.  I do realize that this upsets some people, particularly those who do not have the option or go to bars/restaurants to watch games. 

All courtesy of this Twitter exchange.

Longhorn Network

It came out yesterday that the opener vs. Rice would officially be the 1st live football game on the Longhorn Network.  The item that was somewhat surprising, though alluded to by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, is that the network will air a 2nd Texas game and it will be a Big 12 conference game.

Based on several tweets and discussions yesterday, this is what we know:
  • FOX received some form of special considerations for allowing the 2nd LHN game.  It could be that FOX will leapfrog ABC in the selection order a certain number of times during the season for a premium game on F/X or FSN and/or that FOX Network will be able to air a Big 12 game or two.
  • Any game on Longhorn Network beyond the initial game that is set aside for them to air, as per the new media deal starting next year, will come out of ABC's rights agreement.  But ESPN had to work with FOX to get any games for 2011.  This means that ABC could air 15 Big 12 games as a maximum in 2011.  ABC is contracted for 18 games and when Texas-Texas A&M appears on ESPN, it counts towards the 18 games.
  • The current deal with ABC allows for a team to appear on ABC no more than six times as part of the contract.  Since both Longhorn Network games come out of ABC's pool, plus ESPN has set aside the Baylor (ABC), Oklahoma (ABC) and Texas A&M (ESPN) games, ABC will likely have only one other Texas game as part of the Big 12 contract (ie. excluding their appearance at UCLA).
  • Texas can still appear on ESPN as part of games sublicensed from FOX, such as the BYU game.  Those do not count towards appearances from the ABC contract.
  • These games will not be available on
What we don't know:
  • Does the 2nd game have to be a Texas home game?  I assume that it does, so either road game vs. Missouri and Oklahoma St. could end up being the other ABC appearance.  That leaves home games vs. the Kansas schools, plus Texas Tech as options.  My money feels safe on Texas Tech.  Makes sense too since you are trying to sell the network in Texas.
  • How would the other Big 12 team get compensated for a game on LHN?  My assumptions, since it comes out of the ABC pool of games, is that they get compensated as if the game aired on ABC.
  • Can I see these games on  You might.  Maybe that's where they end up instead of
Pac-12 Network

Per a series of tweets from Jon Wilner, the Pac-12 Network expects to have overflow channels for football games like BTN uses throughout the season.  Also, FOX & ESPN will consult with the conference office to determine game draft order and scheduling to allow for all parties, including the Pac-12 Network, to have premium content available to them throughout the season.

Wilner also notes that no distribution models have been finalized and that having TV overflows could be a companion to digital/mobile outlets.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CFB TV Scheduling Update, 6/28/2011

Because I feel the need to write something....

It's the very end of the 2010-11 athletic year so I suspect some college administrators and maybe some TV folks are laying low.  On Friday, the athletic calendar turns to 2011-12 which does mean some realignment will occur (Boise St., BYU, Colorado, Nebraska and Utah: welcome to your new homes in FBS; same to you Savannah St. in FCS, moving football into existing all-sports conferences Old Dominion & Lamar, plus startup program UTSA).   Expect some college athletic websites to transition over to new hosts as Nevada, Ohio St., Minnesota, Army and Missouri St. transition over to the CBS College Network, which could also mean downtime.  I'll probably keep track of that on Friday as its been a day to redesign or fire up a new website host in prior years. 

Here's what we're waiting on, conference by conference, regarding some final TV decisions for the 1st few weeks

ACC - Nothing major.  The regional cable package will have some Fox Sports affiliates and probably at least one Comcast Sports affiliate.  Because of the Comcast negotiations with Raycom, some FCS conferences like the CAA are waiting to set their TV schedules.

Big 12 - Regional/local/PPV/FOX College Sports games.  There's a few open holes, namely one at 3:30pm ET on 9/3.  Sounds like the Rice at Texas game is targeted to the Longhorn Network and that would enable other schools to make plans for regional, PPV or FOX College Sports games on that day.  But if it becomes an ABC game, it becomes an exclusive TV window and pushes everything outside of that window.

Big East - Local games and/or exclusives.  After the Wake Forest-Syracuse game was moved to Thursday for (bleh), teams are likely working with ESPN and/or regional networks to air games.

Big Ten - Making the official announcement that Nebraska's games vs. Chattanooga & Fresno St. will air on BTN.  Widely alluded to during interviews with BTN and Big Ten staff, but both sides want Nebraska's cable systems on board with how the network is distributed in other Big Ten states.

C-USA - Removing of "TBA" from the kickoff times of several games, plus addition of some local/regional telecasts, notably for East Carolina.  Most of the FSN game times are known or have been found, but the CSS games are likely waiting on finalizing of the SEC's regional TV schedule (see below).

Independent - Besides the rumored move of the Air Force-Navy game to CBS (its apparently being discussed), I don't have a great feeling as to whether all BYU kick times will be known before the season or not.  Four home games are TBA.  At least one game must be televised by ESPNU.  Maybe ESPN would release the Idaho St. game to BYUtv so they can work on televising that one.

MAC - Maybe a few regional telecasts from Northern Illinois and any announcement regarding a conference web-streaming package such as the All-MACcess package offered previously.

MWC - Nothing.  Everything is in place.

Pac-12 - A fair number of games during the 1st three weeks are waiting for local carriers to pick them up.  Only one has been finalized, UCLA's home game vs. San Jose St.

SEC - The ESPNU, CSS, Fox Sports regional and institutional packages (PPV or other distribution means).  These often come out at the SEC media day.

Sun Belt - The Sun Belt Network regional package.  CSS helps in production of these games, so while they might announce the package of games, the kick times, along with the C-USA slate of CSS games, may have to wait until the SEC's games are decided.

WAC - Maybe a few ESPNU games, plus the Hawai'i PPV package and the AggieVision games for New Mexico St.