Matt Allevato, a writer for WVIllustrated.com, asked why Towson-LSU would be a night game on ESPNU where Baylor-WVU would get selected for a 12pm kickoff on F/X.
I'll briefly tackle the Towson-LSU item. The SEC, more or less, owns the 7pm slot on ESPNU. When the SEC has their primetime doubleheader on CBS (3:30pm & 8pm), ESPN cannot air games the evening window and you'll find the games often airing at 12pm or 12:30pm (yes, Alabama-LSU last year was an exception to the rule). I can only think of one or two times when the SEC had the ability to air a game in the 7pm ESPNU window and did not since their contract with ESPN started in 2009. It's extremely rare. Since the SEC doesn't have any regional cable windows on 9/29, CBS, ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU and the SEC Network syndication package should air all five games. ESPNU tends to fall at the end of the selection order.
Back to the Big 12. As a brief refresher, ESPN has 19 games to spread across their networks and has chosen five of them (Virginia-TCU, Oklahoma-Texas, West Virginia-Iowa St., TCU-Texas and one of the Longhorn Network games). So they have 14 left. FOX has roughly the rest of the games going forward to spend on their broadcast network, F/X, FSN or FOX College Sports.
On 9/29, there are three Big 12 games: Texas at Oklahoma St., Baylor at West Virginia and Texas Tech at Iowa St. What has been leaked and is known is the following:
- Multiple leaked schedules from FOX indicate that they've selected Texas at Oklahoma St. for their 7:30pm broadcast network game
- Slots available on F/X include the 12pm and 4pm slots. As with previous selections, the 4pm slot appears to be for the Pac-12 and the 12pm slot for the Big 12.
- An advance listing for FOX College Sports has a Big 12 game at 7pm ET
- FSN has three Conference USA games scheduled for the day
In case you were wondering whether moving one of the C-USA games to F/X would help WVU slot into a later time slot, unfortunately it wouldn't. FSN committed the 12pm, 3:30pm and 7pm slots to C-USA and the Houston-Rice game is at 3:30pm. ROOT Sports Pittsburgh, the RSN that covers a large portion of West Virginia, isn't picking up any of the C-USA games that day. They've committed to airing a Penguins preseason game at 3pm (granted, the lockout could make that moot) and a Pirates game at 7pm. So moving the game to FSN doesn't help WVU either.
On the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU side of the house, besides three SEC games to slot for those networks, they also have two Big East games to place on their various nets with Florida St.-USF being guaranteed ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 and VT-Cincy likely to be picked as well. A Big Ten game on ABC at 3:30pm in addition to Wisconsin-Nebraska at 8pm with the late game being a full national game it appears. Add the ACC in the mix, plus the Pac-12 late in the evening and there's a lot to juggle. With the Big 12 deal being set so late, it didn't allow for any games to be moved to Thursdays or Fridays except for TCU-Texas and WVU-ISU, but I'd expect some juggling in future seasons.
I do want to make it clear that when I'm doing the selections, they are based on what I know of in terms of available time slots, exclusivity rules (ie. in most cases, SEC games cannot air on CBS and ESPN at the same time) and appearance rules (ie. A single Big 12 team cannot appear on ABC more than six times a year). I do not make the guesses in a punitive fashion (I know Mr. Allevato didn't take it that way); I just try to place the games where I think they'll go and I'll try to explain any selection that I can.