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.


Hokie Mark said...

RE: Labor Day Monday - not sure who owns TV rights to Va Tech vs. Alabama, but both teams currently are open the following week so that game could be moved to Monday w/o much trouble. Alternative: FSU moves Wofford to week 13, then plays a strong opener?

Also, ESPN (and others) reports that N Carolina @ S Carolina will be the opening Thursday night game -

Raul said...

According to FBschedules, USC@Hawaii is set for 8.29.12. This could very well be the second game of ESPN's opening Thursday double header.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Yes it is. The game is part of the Mountain West telecast contract. Yes, ESPN did license some games from CBS last year, but I do not know if that will continue into 2013 and future years.