Friday, February 24, 2012

Conference Tournament Viewer's Guide

You can always look here and here for info, but here's a brief primer:

America East - Semifinals on ESPN3 on 3/4 (a change from previous years) and the final again on ESPN2 on 3/10.

Atlantic 10 - Same as last couple years.  Quarterfinals will be syndicated by CBS Sports Network on 3/9, semifinals on CBS Sports Network on 3/10 and the championship on CBS on 3/11.

ACC - With the new ESPN contract, ESPN Networks now have full access to the conference tournament.  Raycom's ACC Network will continue to carry the tournament as well, but it no longer has exclusivity in ACC markets, so if you live in NC for example, you'll have two different broadcasts to look at.  ESPNU will carry 1st round action on 3/8, ESPN2 has the quarterfinals on 3/9, ESPN with the semis on 3/10 and the championship on 3/11.

Atlantic Sun - ESPN3, as part of a new deal with the conference, will exclusively air the quarterfinal games on 2/29 & 3/1.  CSS will carry the semifinals 3/2 and ESPN2 has the championship on 3/3 in the evening.

Big 12 - As the conference realigned this past offseason, so did the basketball tournament.  Only two 1st round games available and those will air on Big 12 Network syndication on 3/7.  On 3/8 the afternoon quarterfinals will air on ESPN2 and the evening quarterfinals are available through the Big 12 Network.  The semifinals on 3/9 will air on ESPNU in markets outside of the Big 12 areas and on Big 12 Network in Big 12 areas.  The final will air on ESPN on 3/10 in the early evening.

Big East - No changes to this conference tournament yet.  ESPN Networks will air the entire tournament.  ESPN2 with the afternoon 1st round games & ESPNU with the evening ones on 3/6, then all other games on ESPN from 3/7 - 3/10.  The Big East tournament will also be televised in 3D though the ESPN3D channel.

Big Sky - Same as last few years.  The semifinals will air on Altitude on 3/6 with the final the following evening on ESPN2.

Big South - Same as last few years.  The semifinals will air on ESPNU on 3/8 with the final on 3/10 in the afternoon on ESPN2.

Big Ten - Conference realignment has changed the format slightly with the tournament now resembling how other 12 team conferences handle their tournaments.  A hodgepodge of entities have the tournament this year.  BTN will take the 1st two 1st round games and ESPN2 has the evening games on 3/8.  The order will reverse for the quarterfinal games on 3/9 with ESPN taking the afternoon games and BTN the evening ones. Then CBS comes in for the semifinals on 3/10 and the championship the following day.

Big West - Same as the last few years.  ESPN3 will air the early semifinal game on 3/9 and ESPNU has the 2nd semifinal (the early semifinal will air on ESPNU on delay after the 2nd one).  ESPN2 again has the championship in the late evening on 3/10.

CAA - The quarterfinals and semifinals will air on various Comcast regional entities on 3/3 & 3/4 with the championship the following night on ESPN.  This will be the final year that ESPN will air the championship as it moves to NBC Sports Network next year, along with the semifinal games.

C-USA - EDITED For the 1st time, the entire tournament will be televised.  CSS will regionally televise the 1st round games on 3/7.  CBS Sports Network will air all quarterfinal games on 3/8 and the semifinals on 3/9.  FOX does own the rights to the championship game, but elected to continue licensing the game to CBS, who will again air it in the late morning on 3/10.

Horizon League - Same as last year.  Horizon League syndication will air the two 2nd round in the evening on 3/2.  ESPN3 will air the 1st semifinal and ESPNU will have the 2nd semifinal on 3/3 with the 1st semifinal airing tape delayed on ESPNU after the 2nd one completes.  ESPN will air the final again on 3/6 in the evening.

MAAC - A slight change, besides moving to the completely neutral court of Springfield, MA, is that all quarterfinal games on 3/3 and semifinal games on 3/4 will air exclusively on ESPN3.  The championship will air in the evening on ESPN2 on Monday 3/5.

MAC - A change to the MAC tournament has shifted around a portion of the telecasts.  The tournament will now grant the top two seeds byes to the semifinals and seeds 3-4 directly go to the quarterfinals.  The quarterfinals are now essentially a two game round (more info here).  STO will have the two evening 2nd round games on 3/7, the two quarterfinals on 3/8 and the semifinals on 3/9.  ESPN2 will again air the championship on 3/10 in the evening.

MEAC - The MEAC championship will air on ESPN2 on 3/10 in the afternoon.

MVC - All games from the tournament, including the 1st round games, will again be televised.  CBS will carry the championship on 3/4 in the afternoon, while the MVC TV Network (FOX Sports Midwest & CSN Chicago) will televise the 1st round on 3/1, quarterfinals on 3/2 and semifinals on 3/3.

MW - The MW will continue to have all tournament games televised.  The quarterfinal games will be televised by the mtn. on 3/8, with the 2nd and 4th games simulcast on CBS Sports Network.  CBS Sports Network will carry the semis on 3/9 in the late evening with NBC Sports Network taking the championship on 3/10.

NEC - The semifinals will air on MSG Network on 3/4 with the championship airing on ESPN2 on 3/7.

OVC - The 1st semifinal will air on ESPNU and the 2nd on ESPN3 on 3/2 with the championship on ESPN2 the following afternoon.

Pac-12 - With a increase in conference membership, the conference tournament will have four 1st round games.  FSN will have all games of the tournament from 3/7 - 3/9 (check local listings) with the championship on CBS on 3/10.

Patriot League - CBS Sports Network will air the semifinals on 3/3 and the championship on 3/7.

SEC - SEC Network syndication will air the 1st round games (3/8) and the quarterfinals (3/9).  The 1st two semifinals will air on ESPNU in non-SEC markets as well.  The semifinals on 3/10 and championship on 3/11 will air on ABC.

SoCon - The quarterfinals on 3/3 will air exclusively on ESPN3, the semifinals on 3/4 on the SoCon's syndication network with the championship on 3/5 on ESPN2.

Southland - The Southland's syndication network will air the semifinals on 3/8 with the championship airing on ESPN2 on 3/10.

SWAC - The SWAC championship will air on ESPNU on 3/10 in the evening.

Summit League - The quarterfinal games on 3/3 & 3/4 will air through MidCo Sports Network and be available through FOX College Sports, along with the semifinals on 3/5.  The championship will air on 3/6 in the evening.

Sun Belt - Two quarterfinals on 3/4 will air on the Sun Belt Network syndication along with the semifinals on 3/5.  The championship will air on ESPN in the evening on 3/6.

WCC - With the addition of BYU as a member, the format has changed slightly along with the dates of the non-championship rounds to accomodate BYU's stance regarding Sundays and athletic competition.  The 2nd round games will air on BYUtv on 3/1 and the quarterfinals on ESPNU on 3/2.  The semifinals on ESPN2 on 3/3 with the championship on ESPN on 3/5.

WAC - ESPN dropped coverage of the quarterfinals and one of the semifinals as part of membership changes.  WAC Sports Network syndication on 3/9 will carry the semifinals and the championship will air on ESPN2 on 3/10 in late night.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If I were scheduling college football on TV for 2012 Week 2

This week the issue is that ABC doesn't have an 8pm ET telecast window because of NASCAR commitments.  It leads to a very congested schedule.

Yes, I know that some games, like Middle Tennessee-Georgia Tech, are very likely to move to a different week of the season.   Just going on what I know.

Penn St. at Virginia, 8pm (ESPN)

NC State at Connecticut., 8pm (ESPN)

Air Force at Michigan, 12pm (ESPN)
Georgia at Missouri, 12pm (ESPN2)
Rice at Kansas, 12pm (FSN)
Maryland at Temple, 12pm (ESPNU)
Vanderbilt at Northwestern, 12pm (BTN)
East Carolina at South Carolina, 12:30pm (SECNet)
Ball St. at Clemson, 12:30pm (ACCNet)
Sacramento St. at Colorado, 2pm (Pac-12)
Weber St. at BYU, 3pm (BYUtv)
UCF at Ohio St., 3:30pm (ABC/ESPN2)
USC vs. Syracuse, 3:30pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Purdue at Notre Dame, 3:30pm (NBC)
Florida at Texas A&M, 3:30pm (ESPN)
Fresno St. at Oregon, 3:30pm (F/X)
UTEP at Ole Miss, 3:30pm (ESPNU)
Tulane at Tulsa, 3:30pm (CBS Sports Network)
New Hampshire at Minnesota, 3:30pm (BTN)
Middle Tennessee at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm (ACC/FSN Regional)
Southern Utah at California, 3:30pm (Pac-12)
Eastern Washington at Washington, 3:30pm (Pac-12)
Washington at LSU, 7pm (ESPN)
Auburn at Mississippi St., 7pm (ESPN2)
Western Kentucky at Alabama, 7pm (ESPNU)
Iowa St. at Iowa, 7pm (BTN)
FAMU at Oklahoma, 7pm (Sooner Network)
Kent St. at Kentucky, 7pm (SEC/FSN Regional)
UL-Monroe at Arkansas, 7pm (SEC/CSS)
Nebraska at UCLA, 8pm (FOX)
Miami (FL) at Kansas St., 8pm (F/X)
USF at Nevada, 8pm (CBS Sports Network)
New Mexico at Texas, 8pm (Longhorn Network)
Oklahoma St. at Arizona, 10pm (Pac-12)
Duke at Stanford, 10pm (Pac-12)
Wisconsin at Oregon St., 10:15pm (ESPN)
Illinois at Arizona St., 10:15pm (ESPN2)
Utah at Utah St., 10:15pm (ESPNU)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SEC Expansion and Television Packages

An excellent article came out yesterday about how CBS and ESPN are having to adjust to the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC with respect to television selections.

One item that wasn't mentioned is how both networks will go about televising those extra games.  48 conference games is now 56 and the out of conference number has increased as well.  Today, the breakdown of games looks something like this:

Note: In ESPN's case, these can be minimum numbers

CBS: 14
SEC Network: 13
Regional Cable (FOX & CSS): Approx. 15

In 2012, the SEC inventory is 96 games as of today while we wait for Missouri to complete its schedule, 11 more than last year's number of 85 (count does not include championship game).  Each school also gets the possibility to televise one game via PPV, online, local TV.  Nine of the 85 games last year were part of the institutional package.

Let's assume 11 games are institutionally televised out of the 96, leaving 85 games for TV partners.  So what amounts to another television package (8-10 games) could be carved out.  Who gets them?

CBS - I don't think so.  Since they have their US Open tennis obligations, plus their windows are exclusive, it would be tough for CBS to add to their package of games.

ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU - I could see a game or two being added here.  There's only 24 hours in the day.  Possibly another Thursday night game.

SEC Network - Not likely.  I don't think they want to do split telecasts in the 12:21pm ET slot.

Regional Cable (FOX & CSS) - Possible beneficiaries.  Could see them each getting a couple more telecasts.

ESPN3 - The wildcard.  ESPN3 doesn't televise any games exclusively from the SEC today, but it makes sense that the broadband network could receive these new games.  If I were the SEC I would try to push that they be non-conference games.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If I were scheduling the television for 2012 Week 1...

Tried to take into account the US Open tennis event, along with NASCAR Nationwide & Indycar events.  I did move a few games off Saturday, due to network conflicts.  I've marked those that I moved with an asterisk.  My assumptions for the US Open were based on the television schedule used for the 2011 event.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8pm (ESPN)
Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech, 8pm (ESPNU)
*Tulsa at Iowa St., 8pm (FSN)
Northern Colorado at Utah, 8:30pm (Pac-12)
*Northern Arizona at Arizona St., 10pm (Pac-12)

Boise St. at Michigan St., 8pm (ESPN)

Notre Dame vs. Navy, 9am (CBS) - Several sources point to a 9am ET / 2pm Dublin kick time
NC State vs. Tennessee, 12pm (ESPN)
Ohio at Penn St., 12pm (ESPN2)
Northwestern at Syracuse, 12pm (ESPNU)
Marshall at West Virginia, 12pm (FSN)
Indiana St. at Indiana, 12pm (BTN)
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue, 12pm (BTN)
FIU at Duke, 12:30pm (ACC Network)
Buffalo at Georgia, 12:30pm (SEC Network)
Nevada at California, 3pm (Pac-12)
Nicholls St. at Oregon St., 3pm (Pac-12)
Southern Miss at Nebraska, 3:30pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech OR Miami (FL) at Boston College, 3:30pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Arkansas St. at Oregon, 3:30pm (ESPN)
Washington St. at BYU, 3:30pm (ESPNU)
Rutgers at Tulane, 3:30pm (FSN)
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin, 3:30pm (BTN)
Western Michigan at Illinois, 3:30pm (BTN)
Richmond at Virginia, 3:30pm (ACC/FSN Regional)
Wyoming at Texas, 4:30pm (F/X)
San Jose St. at Stanford, 6:30pm (Pac-12)
North Texas at LSU, 7pm (ESPNU)
Miami (OH) at Ohio St., 7pm (BTN)
Bowling Green at Florida, 7pm (SEC/FSN Regional)
Michigan vs. Alabama, 8pm (ABC)
Clemson vs. Auburn, 8pm (ESPN)
San Diego St. at Washington, 8pm (F/X)
UCLA at Rice, 7pm (CBS Sports Network)
Toledo at Arizona, 10pm (Pac-12)
Hawai'i at USC, 10pm (ESPN2)
Oklahoma at UTEP, 10:15pm (FSN)
Minnesota at UNLV, 10:30pm (CBS Sports Network)

*Kentucky at Louisville, 3:30pm (ESPN)
*SMU at Baylor, 7pm (FSN)
Colorado vs. Colorado St., 7:30pm (NBC Sports Network)

*Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech OR Miami (FL) at Boston College, 8pm (ESPN)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thoughts on the possible Big 12 schedule & television implications

While we wait on the Big 12 football schedule, and while I finally get around to listening to "The Whole Love" by Wilco (2LP), lets look at a few television related items for the conference:

1) One institutional game per year - With the new FOX Sports Media Group deal, each school will retain a game for them to sell to local/regional television, stream over the internet, etc.  Let's assume as well that Texas only gets one game for the Longhorn Network.  Per the teleconference when the FOX deal was announced, FOX will let the schools know which game will be returned to them before the season starts so they can plan how to distribute the game.  My guess is that it will be the FCS game on a team's schedule or their lowest rated OOC game.  So who would that be in 2012?

Baylor - Sam Houston St.
Iowa St. - Western Illinois
Kansas - South Dakota St.
Kansas St. - Missouri St.
Oklahoma - one of their 2 OOC games not contracted yet.  If the rumored UTEP road game comes to fruition (more on that later), the last OOC game will be the institutional game since the other OOC home game is Notre Dame.
Oklahoma St. - Depends on the remaining OOC game.  Could be the UL-Lafayette game
TCU -Grambling
Texas - New Mexico
Texas Tech - Northwestern St.
West Virginia - James Madison

2) Based on the math, assuming that one of the two remaining Oklahoma OOC games not scheduled will be a home game, along with Oklahoma St.'s remaining OOC game, the Big 12 has 65 games to offer television.  ABC can take as many as 18, FOX as many as 40.  With each school retaining one game, that means FOX and ABC have 55 Big 12 games to choose from.  I don't know if there is a provision where a school can forego the local game if ABC and/or FOX want to televise the maximum number of games.

3) In my opinion, if the rumored Oklahoma-UTEP series happens, FOX appears to be the matchmaker.  Here's why:

  • FOX can televise both ends of the series.  As the C-USA rights holder, they get the 1st ten selections for the conference's home games.  And as the Big 12 cable rights holder, it is more likely that this game would fall to them instead of ABC.
  • Order is important as to which game happens first.  If the often rumored MWC & C-USA merger occurs, depending on the conference formation & legal stuff, FOX isn't guaranteed to be the rightsholder of the merged conference if it is a new entity.  So while C-USA exists, it is to FOX's benefit to have the game at UTEP occur first.  FOX can pick up the 2nd half of the series in Norman as part of the Big 12's television package as that conference is more stable (can't believe I typed that) at this time.
  • UTEP, due to location in the Mountain time zone, has better kickoff time flexibility and can kick off a game at 10pm eastern time, allowing FOX's regional affiliates to finish any MLB or regional football commitments.
4) Looking over the first three weeks of the Big 12 season, it would not stun me to see a conference game or two slipped into the schedule.  Not a lot for ABC and FOX to choose from in terms of quality.  TCU-Oklahoma St. (9/1), WVU-Baylor (9/8) and a combination of Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas (9/15) would be possibilities.  FOX and ABC did want the schedule to have non-conference games spread out in the schedule and have conference games available earlier to maximize television opportunities.  Of course, things can change and these teams could be moving around OOC games too so they don't have early season conference games.

5) Special dates - FOX can have up to five "special dates" games.  Those are:
  • Friday after Thanksgiving
  • Sunday of Labor Day weekend
  • Up to three Thursday night game
FOX can sublicense their content to other cable networks like they have previously with TBS, ESPN and Versus/NBC Sports Network.  If they do Thursday night games, expect them on ESPN.  FOX would likely keep the Labor Day weekend game as they have in past years.  I believe the Black Friday window is new.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who needs a game in 2012?

Realignment means games get dropped, added, cancelled & postponed.  So who needs a game in 2012 as of March 9th, 2012?

Boise St. - 13th game available
Hawai'i - 13th game available
Nevada - 13th game available

Much of this information came from plus a spreadsheet that I've been compiling.  If you know that a team has filled its schedule, let me know.   Let know too.  They do great work over there.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thinking scheduling for 2012

First off, I was able to complete the programming changeover to the website.  Should run a little faster.  If you have any old links to specific seasons or have trouble with the site, please go to the main page ( and refresh that page as it should update any cached links you have on your laptop/PC/tablet/phone, etc.

To other scheduling related items, looking over the ACC and its possible Labor Day matchups, five ACC teams may be available to open the season that day in conference games (Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech & Wake Forest).  Now that Florida St. has also lost the WV game, I could see them moving the Murray St. opener and being available.  I don't think its out of the question that Miami & Florida St. could find each other on Labor Day.

Now to the Big East & Big 12.  The Big 12 did submit a schedule to ABC & FOX that included "ten teams" which seems to mean West Virginia will be there.  Coupled with the news that WVU dropped Florida St., they are on the way.  What does that mean for the Big East?  I suspect they will continue to work the legal system.  For the other schools, it remains to be seen whether the Big East will release a schedule with WVU on it (some schools did release their out of conference schedules noting that WVU would be a home or road game).  If WVU is allowed to leave and I think they will be moving on, WVU may be on the hook to find a replacement game for each Big East school (possibly Florida St. too).  The Big East schools could also go with an 11 game regular season if the schools cannot find a 12th game at a late date.  Depending on how many home games each team already has, the 12th game has often been the "extra revenue" game, so the situation may not be ideal.  That scenario may also result in a temporary drop in revenue from ESPN if there are not enough games for ESPN to choose from.

As noted in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's address to the media on Friday, the NFL Network will have a package of weekly Thursday games with the exception of the opening night of the season and Thanksgiving night which remain NBC's property.  At the end of the day, ESPN is affected on multiple fronts.  First, on the NFL front, they don't have a direct competitor on the cable television front who picked up these games (Turner, NBC Sports Network, F/X, etc.).  NFL Network isn't in enough homes, so they remain the premier network for the NFL on cable.  As for how to counter program the NFL, I don't think they'll do anything different.  The Big Ten and/or SEC likely will have their Thursday night games with little NFL competition (South Carolina-Vanderbilt is before the NFL season starts), so the schedule will be the ACC, Big East & Pac-12 plus whatever FOX elects to license to ESPN from their Big 12 inventory.   I can't get too worked up about this competition unless the NFL puts marquee games on Thursdays and the indication is that the expansion of the Thursday night package is to get each team a primetime game no matter what their record is, not Patriots vs. Steelers-like matchups.