I think there is one way to make both sides a bit more receptive to taking on extra schools and that is for the conference to be a bit more open to weeknight games. Currently, the Big 12 allows TV partners to request four Thursday games and a Labor Day Sunday game. My assumption is that the conference and TV partners can work within those parameters to also move games to the Friday after Thanksgiving and when necessary during the season.
The additions the Big 12 is expected to make will come from outside the Power Five conferences and these are conferences where playing on Thursday and Friday nights are regular occurrences in the yearly schedule. My expectation is that any additions will come with a caveat from one side of the table or another to allow for more Friday night games, potentially with the incoming schools to be the ones hosting those games at first. Both TV networks I would think would be receptive to an extra game from these conferences 3-4 times a year on Thursdays & Fridays. Currently, the Pac-12 television contract requires a total of eight Thursday & Friday games (four from each day of the week) to be provided to TV partners.
For example, when Pittsburgh & Syracuse were added to the ACC, a deal was made to schedule some Friday night games with Boston College and Syracuse agreeing to be primary hosts for those games. Since 2013, the schools hosting Friday night football in the ACC, excluding Black Friday and Friday before Labor Day:
Boston College - 4
Syracuse - 2
Florida St. - 1
Louisville - 1
Virginia - 1
Virginia Tech - 1
Wake Forest - 1
Louisville, added in 2014, was also not a stranger to hosting weeknight games in Conference USA and the Big East. Same with Virginia Tech. West Virginia, a current Big 12 member, played quite a few weeknight games as a Big East football member
Schools like Iowa St. & Kansas might be willing to move a game or two off Saturdays and I'm willing to bet that any incoming school won't be against maintaining a weeknight game. And TV loves for a conference who is willing to be creative with their scheduling.
* Sinclair's American Sports Network released their telecast schedule on Wednesday. Here's a brief overview:
- The Sun Belt will have around seven to eight games and the American will have five games on ASN per the release. The AAC games have already been accounted four. It appears that the Sun Belt will have two to three twelve day selections during the year.
- November 26th appears to be wide open for both the Sun Belt and Conference USA based on the following:
- FCS conferences are in playoffs or have completed their seasons
- All MAC games that week are on weeknights or Black Friday / November 25th
- This assumes there won't be any additional American Athletic Conference games
- Massachusetts will have four games on ASN. I'm unsure if these will be carried on ESPN3, nor what the plans are for the FIU (9/17) and Wagner (10/29) games. Wagner's game will start at 1pm ET, which doesn't seem to fit in any ASN telecast window.
Since ASN operates on a syndication basis & a full time over-the-air subchannel, the games that will air on your local station will vary. My expectation is that C-USA games will, more likely than not, take priority on the national feed and that many FCS telecasts will be focused to local markets and maybe regional sports networks that will serve a large portion of a conference's land area.
* Several C-USA schools have loaded their non-televised home games into CUSA.TV. Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee loaded several updates to their schedule, including some games on ESPN3 and the game at North Texas on Campus Insiders. I've reached out to Campus Insiders but have not yet heard back from them.