Monday, December 31, 2012

TV ramifications of MWC bringing back Boise St.

Happened to listen to the Mountain West teleconference replay.  Found some interesting items.

* In terms of the reconfigured TV deal between the MWC and CBS, the MWC will be selling packages of games.  CBS will retain a select number of priority picks and retains primary status.  The MWC can then sell two additional packages of games, where in the past CBS could sell those packages.  To me, this kinda feels like how the English Premier League does their TV rights bidding, where a package of games is sold and that package may have a mix of top choice, 2nd choice or 3rd choice.

In short, I don't believe Boise St. home games will be a specific package.  At least that's how it was framed by Craig Thompson on the call.  I think its home games will be spread out over multiple networks.  And Boise St.'s MWC road games could be in those packages too.

EDIT (1/2/13):  Boise St.'s term sheet with the MWC explains quite clearly that BSU's home TV rights will not be part of the MWC deal with CBS unless BSU & the MWC allow for it.  That would also include allowing CBS to sublicense the package of BSU games to another party, which BSU and the MWC would have to approve.

* There is a cherry for playing on national TV of $300K per school, plus an additional bonus of $200K for that game being on a Saturday.  Boise St. made its bones on weeknights on ESPN, but has only played one home weeknight game in the MWC, so in some ways, there's additional incentive to keep Boise St. on Saturday if national TV is an option.   So whatever the MWC collects in TV money from CBS (lets say $12 millions) plus whatever they get from their other packages goes into a pool.  The national TV payouts go first, then the rest gets spread evenly.  If we were to use 2012 as an example:

  • Boise St. & Nevada (playing each other on ABC) and Air Force (vs. Navy on CBS) would get $500K for appearing on a national TV game on a Saturday
  • UNLV (vs. Washington St.), Boise St. (vs. BYU), Hawai'i & Air Force (against each other) would receive $300K
So under just the CBS contract, assuming they paid out $12 million last year (and I'm not sure that's true), $2.7 million off the top would be paid out in appearance money and the remaining $9.3 million would be shared.

Note that the "national TV" designation is just the four broadcast networks, plus ESPN and ESPN2.  No NBC Sports Network, ESPNU, FOX Sports One/FX or the Turner networks if they decide to get into CFB.

* Teams that scheduled 13 games with the intention of playing at Hawai'i, such as Colorado St., may have to consider giving up a game under the possibility that a '13 schedule could have them not playing at Hawai'i.

* Boise St.'s existing non-conference games with dates attached must be honored by the MWC.  So that long term series with BYU, if it had any future dates on it, the MWC must schedule around it.

* Will this accelerate realignment in other areas such as the Big Ten with Rutgers & Maryland, or the ACC with Louisville, or C-USA with FAU & Middle Tennnessee?  Suppose it could.  Depends on the finances needed to break agreements and move on.

* The Big East really lost out on the chance to sell a conference championship game, at least until Navy joins in '15.  They'll have 11 members in '13 & '14, assuming things stay in place, at least for the next 20 seconds or so.  I think I have about four Big East rights fee articles in draft status for various incarnations of the conference that are worthless now.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Guesses on week one for 2013

Bored.  Haven't written anything worthwhile in a few weeks, plus...I'm bored.  So I'm thinking a little about 2013.  At least the opening weekend.

* Now that the MWC has resolved some contract issues with CBS for the final three years of their deal, I expect that ESPN will have a few games from the conference again this year.  Since CBS says they'll have some priority picks over those other two packages the MWC can sell, I'm thinking they'll keep that USC at Hawai'i game on the opening weekend, but the Rutgers at Fresno St. game is wide open for another network.  For the opening weekend, after being part of the Pac-12 rights package the last two years, I'm listing the Colorado-Colorado St. game as a MWC game.

* Georgia at Clemson looks so good as a spotlight game on Labor Day evening.  Clemson could get by with South Carolina St. on  short rest.  I can't see any scenario where Georgia would be willing to do the same when it comes to playing South Carolina.  Expect it on a Saturday.  Alabama vs. Virginia Tech, as someone else pointed out to me, could be a possibility.  The Tide are open the week after and Virginia Tech has Western Carolina.  Duke could end up hosting Wake Forest that day, but it doesn't have the pop.

Another possibility, particularly because its out west: Boise St. and Washington finished 2012 against each other and they'll start 2013 as opponents in Seattle.  Washington is off the week after this game, Boise St. has UT-Martin.  In my opinion, Texas Tech at SMU is also a possibility for a Thursday (ESPNU), Sunday or Monday game from the Big East.  I also think that there's a chance that Vanderbilt could consider moving its game with Ole Miss to Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

* FOX's choices for Conference USA's opening weekend are pretty ugly.  Would not surprise me to see FOX ask to pair UTEP at Tulane as a possible matchup to fill an FSN slot.  After that, Miami (OH) at Marshall is a possibility.

Here's something to talk about, argue with me over, etc. Guessing week one.  I'm listing the FOX national cable games as FX/FS1.  FS1 is the heavily rumored FOX Sports One that is expected to start in August.

Happy Holidays

7pm ESPN: North Carolina at South Carolina
7:30pm ESPNU: Texas Tech at SMU
8pm BTN: UNLV at Minnesota
10:30pm ESPN: Rutgers at Fresno St.
11pm CBSSN: USC at Hawai'i

8pm ESPN, Purdue at Cincinnati

12pm FX/FS1: UL-Monroe at Oklahoma
12pm ESPN: Mississippi St. vs. Oklahoma St.
12pm ESPN2: Buffalo at Ohio St.
12pm ESPNU: Ohio at Louisville
12pm FSN: New Mexico St. at Texas
12pm CBSSN: Morgan St. at Army
12pm BTN: Central Michigan at Michigan
12pm SECNet: UL-Lafayette at Arkansas
12:30pm ACCNet: Louisiana Tech at NC State
3pm ACC RSNs: FIU at Maryland
3:30pm ABC: Georgia at Clemson
3:30pm NBC: Temple at Notre Dame
3:30pm ESPN: Toledo at Florida
3:30pm ESPN2: Penn St. vs. Syracuse
3:30pm ESPNU: BYU at Virginia
3:30pm FSN: UTEP at Tulane
3:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Iowa
3:30pm BTN: Western Michigan at Michigan St.
4pm FX/FS1: Utah St. at Utah
7pm ESPN: LSU vs. TCU
7pm ESPNU: Washington St. at Auburn
7pm NBCSN: Colorado vs. Colorado St.
7pm SEC/FSN: Rice at Texas A&M
7:30pm FOX: Nevada at UCLA
8pm ABC: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama
8pm BTN: Massachusetts at Wisconsin
8pm BTN: Indiana St. at Indiana
10:30pm ESPN: Northwestern at California

3:30pm ESPN: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt

Afternoon: Wake Forest at Duke
Evening: Boise St. at Washington

Monday, December 10, 2012

Setting up CFB 2013

* Was looking through the opening week schedule for the ACC.  If the ACC is planning to have a game on Labor Day that will have some interest, they're going to have to move some games around.  BC, Duke and Wake Forest are currently open, but a conference game involving those three schools isn't going to move the needle.  The best looking game that weekend is Georgia at Clemson, but with Georgia hosting South Carolina the following week, I get the feeling that Georgia would strongly resist moving the date of that to Labor Day.  BYU at Virginia is also that weekend, but the Cougars would be hosting Texas on a short week  if they elected to move that one.  Same with the Penn St- Syracuse game at Met Life Stadium.

* Speaking of that Penn St.-Syracuse game, I do not know who the rights holder is for the game.  I've sent notes to both schools' media relations departments and have not yet received a response.  I'm listing it as a Big Ten game until I hear otherwise.

* Always important to check on when other sporting events conflict with college football schedules.  CBS's SEC schedule is expected to start during the 3rd week of the season.  ABC will carry NASCAR Nextel Cup in the evening on 9/7 and 10/12.  ESPN will have NASCAR Nationwide races throughout most of the season, though they'll have those races on Fridays the same weekends ABC has Nextel Cup races.  As an aside, an interesting schedule quirk with the Nationwide races has that series off for two straight weeks at the end of October.

* Because the ACC made an extremely late change back to an eight game conference schedule, multiple ACC schools likely will end up playing two FCS schools.  So far that list starts with Clemson and Georgia Tech.  At least 3-4 other ACC schools could join that list.  If they win both of those games, they would still need five FBS wins to guarantee bowl eligibility.   The number of teams needing a game this year is far fewer than previous years even with the amount of teams moving around.

* I'm told the Big East is still negotiating the TV rights for the 2013 conference championship game.  ESPN still gets 1st crack.  The game could be tacked on to the 2013 contract for ESPN, sold along with other Big East CCGs for future years to someone or it could be tacked onto a future regular season rightsholders' deal.

* Also with the Big East, the minimum number of games they must have carried on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 is 17, but that number was based on an eight team conference (28 conference games) and whatever number of non-conference games were available.  The number for 2013 will be 48 conference games, so I'd expect the number to be adjusted by ESPN and the conference.  ESPN is the full rightsholder to the conference right now, so for them to take on the additional games could be tough.  There is the ability for Boise St. and San Diego St. to take up spots in the late evening, and its possible there could be some doubling up on Thursdays or Fridays on ESPN & ESPN2, not through a doubleheader but by concurrent games.  There is also the matter of the syndication package taking on games out west.  Could the conference request that some games be sold off to another party?  Possibly, but that would be ESPN's decision to make.

* While I'm unaware of any minimums/maximums when it comes to the number of ACC football games that appear on the various ESPN platforms, there will also be some adjustments to that schedule to get extra games on the air.  We know that Syracuse and Boston College will be part of Friday night games and that there will be a Black Friday game.  I think the possibility exists that there will be a few more split regional ACC Network games.  The RSN package could also be expanded for another doubleheader or two.

* Let's assume FOX is again doing one game per week for the 1st three weeks of the season.  And yes, I know we don't have the complete Pac-12 schedule in hand.  Here's what I do see

  • 8/31 - Assuming the Pac-12 doesn't put together a conference game for its opening week, Boise St. at Washington looks like its best offering.  And looking over the Big 12, there's nothing of substance that they're offering.
  • 9/7 - The Big 12 put a conference game with West Virginia visiting Oklahoma, so that's inviting.  The non-conference games available with the Pac-12 look weak.  I'd say a conference game that weekend is possible.
  • 9/14 - Cy-Hawk, Ole Miss-Texas and TCU-Texas Tech are all available.  Wisconsin visiting Arizona St., Ohio St. going to Cal, Tennessee at Oregon and Boston College at USC have to be under consideration.
* Handful of game notes...With that 9/7 date, the Notre Dame-Michigan game again appears to be under strong consideration for a Michigan home night game, likely on ESPN...There was also talk from Vanderbilt's AD that the Ole Miss-Vanderbilt game could end up as the opening Thursday night game for ESPN...When the Big 12 schedule was announced, two games were set with flexible dates: Texas at Iowa St. could move from 10/5 to Thursday 10/3, presumably for ESPN, and the Iowa St.-West Virginia game could be moved from 11//30 to Black Friday 11/29...The Iowa-Nebraska series being played on Black Friday was initially done for two years.  I have not heard if this has been extended.  Same goes for LSU-Arkansas.  Another SEC series could be requested for a two year stint on that date if CBS wants it.

* There's still a fair amount of speculation as to what FOX Sports One will look like when the switch is flipped from SPEED to the all-sports format.  The expectation remains that FOX would move the telecasts from F/X over to the network.  The possibility exists that some of the content on FSN could move as well.  I do not know if FOX would be able work in any alterations with pay-TV providers to get the channel in more homes before launch.

* With the mass amount of schools moving over the next few years, the folks in various conference offices who develop initial schedules that get handed over to athletics directors and television outlets deserve some kudos.  I'm sure it can't be easy to throw a school out of a scheduling program, along with any requests they have, and to tack on someone else.  In some cases, trying to juggle geography and scheduling "fairness" can't be easy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bowl selection postscript

Why not start out with the most polarizing topics...

* Northern Illinois - If you want to say they didn't deserve it, have at it.  If you want to say they didn't earn it, not true.  This system and its qualification parameters were agreed upon by the conferences and independents encompassing FBS.  They may have backed into it by using the lesser of the two qualification methods (finishing in the top 16 with both Louisville and Wisconsin finishing lower than 16th), but they played their way into that position.

No, they would not have been part of a playoff after the 2014, and they aren't in the title game this year.  The 2014 system does eliminate some of the qualification parameters that hamper the BCS, such as no more than two teams from a conference.  There's also two more at-large slots to be filled by this committee.  And Northern Illinois would have been part of one of those three access bowls in 2014 as the highest ranking "Group of Five" conference champion.

* Louisiana Tech - Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  By not winning the WAC, they were guaranteed nothing.  Zero.  Zip.  The conference only had one tie-in, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and sent its champion there.  San Jose St. was sent clear across the country, but its a bowl game.   Saturday morning, we knew there was a possibility that with a UCLA loss, NIU could get moved up.  The place to look for NIU for its poll help was the beating Nebraska took.  Getting pushed behind NIU in both polls was huge for them, and disastrous for Louisiana Tech.

I don't like it, but in these cases, bowls are going to look at a AQ conference team over a non-AQ team every time.  It sucks, but its fact unfortunately.  Arkansas St. was also in the running for the Liberty Bowl slot that La Tech coveted per the twitter timeline of Sun Belt PR man John McElwain, and arguably more worthy since they won their conference.

* Georgia Tech - Should not have been granted a waiver.  Had someone contend to me that GT should be in a bowl game because at 6-7 they stayed with Florida St.  In that sense, and I'm making a bit of a leap, because it was a moral victory for them to stay within a TD of FSU, they should have been in a bowl game.

No.  The NCAA screwed this one up, but the ACC and Miami put them in this spot far too late in the season.  The NCAA made the rules, they didn't stick by them.  Miami, by waiting until they were bowl eligible before eliminating themselves from bowl selection, did GT no favors since it force them to win arguably one of the two toughest games on their schedule to get to seven wins.  The ACC should have put pressure on Miami earlier in the season to declare their bowl intentions so that everyone was on the same page.

At 6-6, should they have went to a bowl in my mind?  Absolutely.  Qualified within the existing parameters of the system.  At 6-7 with 71 other eligible teams, and that's the key: 71 other eligible teams, they should not have been available for selection.  If we were under 70 teams, no issue with them taking a spot because the NCAA determined a 6-7 team who lost in a conference championship game to be part of the an eligible pool of teams after 6-6 teams who either had a win vs. FCS who didn't met scholarship requirements or 6-6 teams who had two FCS wins.

There is that whole matter of them going to a bowl game, while Middle Tennessee sits at home too.  9/29/12 - Middle Tennessee 49, Georgia Tech 24.

Let's get to some better topics.

* We have No. 1 vs. No. 2.  That's really all that matters in the BCS and the BCS executives will tell you that.  After that matchup is settled, its a shell game.

* There were stories earlier this year about how Kansas St. elected to cancel a series with Oregon.  Low and behold, we still got the game.

* The Holiday Bowl game between UCLA and Baylor will be awesome.  Fitting tribute that the final season for the WAC, who help put together the Holiday Bowl after the Arizona schools left the WAC and the conference lost the Fiesta Bowl tie-in, has a Holiday Bowl with two teams who should put up the points.  Also fitting that the other game managed by the Holiday Bowl committee, the Poinsettia Bowl, has two schools who in the early 90s played some great games.

1990: 62-34 BYU
1991: 52-52 Tie
1992: 45-28 SDSU
1993: 45-44 BYU

* I do wonder if Syracuse and WVU will dust off the Schwartzwalder Trophy for the Pinstripe Bowl.  Have heard mixed reviews on that idea.  Should be a lot of offense there too.  I also wonder if they considered taking Pitt at all.  I kinda feel bad that the BBVA Compass Bowl will have Pitt once again.  I suspect that if an SEC team would not have been available to this bowl, Pitt would have ended up playing UCF in Tampa.  The goal at that point in the selection order is to match and SEC team vs. a Big East team.

* Contrast of styles: Arizona St.-Navy in the Kraft Fights Hunger Bowl

* After the title game and Kansas St.-Oregon, the Cotton Bowl and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl are the prime rib of the non-BCS games.  The Outback Bowl is the baked potato.