* I was a bit surprised that ESPN didn't pick up California at North Carolina, but upon closer inspection, maybe we shouldn't be. I don't know the order of events on how selections were made, but when you see that Bowling Green at Michigan St. is on ESPNU, I guess a conclusion that could be drawn is that it was the last selection for either ESPN or FOX Sports on the opening weekend. Add that Troy at Boise St. being played at 3:45pm, maybe a concession to the concern about so many evening start times in the Mountain West, it left very little room for the game on ESPN's channels.
Akron at Penn St. might be the one game you would point to & ask "That one over a game with two Power 5 schools"? My assumption there is Penn St.'s position in several early top 25 predictions played a role. Might be more interest in the Nittany Lions too nationally compared to the Bears & the Heels.
Also, to be clear about this, to my knowledge ESPN does not set Raycom Sports' telecast time for the ACC Network and apparently it can vary from week to week, with their window on 9/9 at 7pm ET. I realize that it isn't ideal for Pac-12 schools to travel east & get set for a noon game, but with this one not on ESPN, I don't think they had much sway on the start time.
And regarding the 7pm start time for ULM at Florida St. on Raycom's ACC Network over-the-air syndication package, it is my understanding that Florida St. has made requests for no early afternoon starts in September going forward, similar to how the Pac-12 Arizona schools strongly prefer night games during September. The key goal being staying out of the heat.
* I realize some of the releases from 2013 for Florida vs. Michigan indicated the game would be a primetime game and at one point, the game was targeted for a move to Sunday, September 3rd, presumably to meet that primetime goal. My suspicion is that once the two schools decided to stay on Saturday, a decision had to be made about whether to play the game with some overlap with Alabama vs. Florida St., maybe on ESPN in the evening. From the final result, the decision was made to play the Cowboys Classic in the afternoon and have (roughly) back-to-back high profile neutral site games on ABC.
* Found it slightly amusing to see Colorado St. move up the start time of their opener vs. Oregon St. by 30 minutes to 2:30pm ET / 12:30pm MT, touting that it was so it could be the first FBS game played "according to current schedules". Portland St. at BYU was set for the same original start time (3pm ET) before the start time change.
The "according to current schedules" part is amusing because Hawai'i at Massachusetts does not yet have a start time, nor a known TV partner, but could conceivably be the first game started. Unless CBS Sports Network has something planned for approximately 90 minutes of fill time between the end of this game & USF at San Jose St. that truly needs 90 minutes, the move could be pointless unless an agreement has been reached to start UMass's game after CSU's.
* As we are awaiting start for a fair portion of SEC games being played in the first three weeks, I did find it odd that the start times for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU games were released, but only by ESPN and the schools themselves. I can't find anything on the conference website regarding a release for these games and their start times.
So where are the SEC Network games? "Coming soon" is the best answer I can give, or more precisely the answer I've been given when asked. Maybe ESPN is crafting a schedule with the schools, or maybe its ready and we're waiting for...something (College World Series to complete?).
* With the BTN early season schedule announced, all Big Ten schools have a home night game scheduled except for Iowa, Maryland and Michigan. From Scott Dochterman, the Big Ten schools will now have the potential for night games to be set during the season, but cannot be flexed into the evening on a six day hold. Maybe it is possible for a six day hold to occur where a game is scheduled for 7:30pm ET or 8pm ET with the only remaining item to be set is the TV outlet.
* 38 C-USA controlled games remain without a planned TV or streaming media partner. Many of those could end up with CUSA.TV. Last year, Campus Insiders carried six games online exclusively, but with STADIUM coming into play combining both ASN and Campus Insiders, I'm unsure if there will be STADIUM online exclusives that will be separate from those being shown on the 24/7 feed.
It was mentioned in the C-USA TV release that ESPN3 would be adding games and schools like Old Dominion, Charlotte and Rice were working towards being able to self produce ESPN3 content, so we may see the use of school productions for ESPN3 pick up the slack.
* Looking over the CBS Sports Network schedule openings, I gather that the openings for the AAC & MAC are the following:
9/23: 12pm MAC or AAC
9/30: 12pm MAC or AAC
10/7: 12pm & 7pm MAC or AAC
10/14: 3:30pm & 7pm MAC or AAC
10/21: 7pm MAC or AAC
10/28: 11:30am & 6:30pm MAC & AAC
11/4: 12pm AAC
11/11: 7pm AAC
11/18: 12pm AAC
11/25: 12pm AAC
The MAC has nine scheduled telecast windows so far on CBSSN, so my belief is they will have windows on the three dates with two open telecast windows (10/7, 10/14, 10/28). That would leave the AAC, excluding the Navy home games that are under a separate television agreement, with 14 sublicensed windows from ESPN which is in line with the agreement the two television entities have.
In case you're wonder why the Boston College-Connecticut game at Fenway Park is on CBSSN, the game was originally a UConn home game and remains as such with the venue change.
* With the American at 14 selections on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, they'll need 14 in-season selections for those same networks to hit what appears to be a minimum of 28 games on those four channels. With 73 conference controlled games available to ESPN as a rightsholder (five other games are part of Navy's TV rights), the end of season breakdown should look something like this, assuming the 28 game minimum is realized:
- ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU: 28
- ESPNEWS & CBS Sports Network: 30-38
- 13-15 of those games on CBS Sports Network
- ESPN3 & local/regional TV: 7-15 (10-20% of games)
- 13 already set for ESPN3 or local/regional TV