Monday, September 28, 2009

Pointsettia Bowl, WAC announce agreement

The WAC and the Pointsettia Bowl announce an agree to face a MWC representative in 2011 and 2012. This fills in the blanks where the WAC will fill the Emerald Bowl slot in 2010 and 2013 as Army and Navy will be there the other two years.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 6 Network Selections

Here's the network selections for games to kick off on 10/10. The Big Ten and PAC-10 announced their selections on Sunday.

Boston College at Virginia Tech, 12pm Raycom
Indiana at Virginia, 3:30pm ESPN360
Georgia Southern at North Carolina, 3:30pm ESPN360
Duke at NC State, 4pm ESPNU
Maryland at Wake Forest, 6:30pm ESPN360
Florida A&M at Miami (FL) , 7pm ESPN360
Georgia Tech at Florida St., 8pm ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (Network TBA on 10/4).

Big 12
Oklahoma St. at Texas A&M, 12:30pm FSN
Iowa St. at Kansas, 12:30pm Versus
Baylor at Oklahoma, 3:30pm ABC
Colorado at Texas, 7:15pm ESPN/ESPN2

Big East
Connecticut at Pittsburgh OR West Virginia at Syracuse, 12pm Big East (six day pick)
Connecticut at Pittsburgh OR West Virginia at Syracuse, 12pm Big East (six day pick) Southern Miss at Louisville, 7:30pm ESPNU

Big Ten
Purdue at Minnesota, 12pm ESPN/ESPN2
Eastern Illinois at Penn St., 12pm ESPN Classic
Michigan St. at Illinois, 12pm Big Ten
Miami (OH) at Northwestern, 12pm Big Ten
Wisconsin at Ohio St., 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Michigan at Iowa, 8pm ABC or ESPN

Oregon at UCLA, 3:30pm ABC
Stanford at Oregon St., 7pm FSN
Arizona at Washington, 10pm FSN NW

Florida at LSU, 8pm CBS
Kentucky at South Carolina, 12:30pm SEC/FSN

The other four slots (3:30pm CBS, 12pm ESPN/ESPN2, 12pm SEC Network, 12:30pm ESPNU) are being held for a six day pick. The games in question are Houston at Mississippi St., Alabama at Ole Miss, Auburn at Arkansas and Georgia at Tennessee

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 6 TV Guesses

Here's my guesses for the TV selections for 10/10. Looks like a Big 12/Versus window was added sometime recently at 12:30pm ET.

Note that CBS has exclusivity in the primetime window this week, so ESPN's SEC windows have moved up to 12pm.

Alabama at Ole Miss, 3:30pm
Florida at LSU, 8pm

Colorado at Texas, Boston College at Virginia Tech, Wisconsin at Ohio St., Oregon at UCLA 3:30pm
Michigan at Iowa, 8pm

Purdue at Minnesota, 12pm
Oklahoma St. at Texas A&M, 7:45pm


Auburn at Arkansas, 12pm
Georgia Tech at Florida St., 7:30pm

Baylor at Oklahoma, 12:30pm
Stanford at Oregon St., 7pm

Kansas St. at Texas Tech, 12:30pm

Houston at Mississippi St., 12pm
Duke at NC State, 3:30pm
Pittsburgh at Connecticut, 7pm

ESPN Classic
Michigan St. at Illinois, 12pm

Big Ten (all at 12pm)
Miami (OH) at Northwestern and Eastern Illinois at Penn St.

Kentucky at South Carolina, 12pm SEC/FSN
Georgia at Tennessee, 12pm SEC Network
West Virginia at Syracuse, 12pm Big East
Maryland at Wake Forest, 12pm Raycom
Indiana at Virginia, 3:30pm ESPN360
Southern Miss at Louisville, 3:30pm ESPN360
Iowa St. at Kansas, 7pm Fox College Sports
Arizona at Washington, 10:15pm FSN NW/FS AZ

I think there's a small chance ABC could again bypass a Big 12 game, though it doesn't seem likely. If that did happen, assume that ESPN at 7:45pm is the 1st choice:

Colorado at Texas, ESPN 7:45pm
Oklahoma St. at Texas A&M, 3:30pm FSN (FSN can move their early window to 3:30pm if ABC does not use the telecast window)
Baylor at Oklahoma, 12:30pm Versus
Kansas St. at Texas Tech, 7pm Fox College Sports

Iowa St. at Kansas could then go untelevised unless either a "regional window" opened for the Big 12 at 12pm or FSN opted to have two national Big 12 windows.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 4 Viewers Guide

Week three didn't disappoint. Great finishes in Washington and Syracuse wins, a collapse by Nebraska in Blacksburg and another big finish involving Notre Dame. Each week feels like a game of "Can You Top This?". So can week four top week three?

I'm bypassing the weeknight games this week. Nothing in my opinion that brings a lot of viewers, though a top ten SEC team is usually worth watching (Ole Miss).

USF at Florida St., 12pm (ESPNU HD) - It's a shame that Matt Grothe's career at USF would end before getting his shot at two of Florida's big three schools (this week at USF, 11/28 vs. Miami (FL)). BJ Daniels will get the start and gets a nice nine game run through those two and the seven Big East games. Florida St. awoke from a lackluster effort against Jacksonville St. to whitewash BYU and will be coming home to reestablish itself. No better way to do that then win in-state.

North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 12pm (Raycom HD/Game Plan) - TJ Yates efficiency has been the key to UNC's victories over UConn and East Carolina. Georgia Tech has been hit and miss with their pass defense, on vs. Clemson and completely off vs. Miami (FL). They'll need to be on to keep UNC in check.

Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech, 3:30pm (ABC HD/ESPN) - Lots of ACC so far, but both of these teams have been involved in some great games so far and Miami (FL) could have the look of an ACC champion, at least early. If I were Randy Shannon, I'd be thrilled with a 2-2 or 3-1 start if I had Florida St., Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma as my 1st four games for a season. Get to 3-0 and you can really play with house money against the Sooners. But don't look ahead. Virginia Tech is always ready.

Texas Tech at Houston, 9:15pm (ESPN2 HD) - The 1st matchup between these two former SWC schools was also Texas Tech's final SWC game (Houston and Rice played each other the following week). Houston has quietly made a name for itself with a high octane offense and may have the most impressive non-AQ win with the win at Oklahoma St. Texas Tech, like Houston, also ranks in the top 20 in offense. Should be a wild night with lots of points in front of the largest crowd to watch a game at Robertson Stadium.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 5 TV Selections

Placeholder for the ACC, Big Ten, PAC-10 and SEC selections for games to be contested on October 3rd. I am not expecting any Big 12 or Big East games to be selected or have kickoff times changed.

Come back here for updates.

Clemson at Maryland, 12pm ESPNU
Virginia at North Carolina, 12pm Raycom
Virginia Tech at Duke, 12pm
NC State at Wake Forest, 3:30pm ESPNU

Oklahoma at Miami (FL) is a six day pick for ABC at either 3:30pm or 8pm.
Florida St. at Boston College is a six day pick for ESPN/ESPN2 at 12pm or ABC at 3:30pm

Big Ten
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 12pm ESPN/ESPN2
Arkansas St. at Iowa, 12pm ESPN2/ESPN Classic
Michigan at Michigan St., 12pm Big Ten
Purdue at Northwestern, 12pm Big Ten
Penn St. at Illinois, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN

UCLA at Stanford, 3:30pm ABC
Oregon St. at Arizona St., 7pm Versus

Alabama at Kentucky, 12pm SEC Network
LSU at Georgia, 3:30pm CBS
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 7pm ESPNU
South Carolina St. at South Carolina, 7pm ESPN Classic
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas, 7:30pm ESPN2
Georgia Tech at Mississippi, 7:30pm CSS
Auburn at Tennessee, 7:45pm ESPN

Colorado St. at Idaho, 10:30pm ESPNU (moved from a 5pm ET kick on Altitude2)

Penn at Dartmouth, 12pm Versus
William & Mary at Villanova, 3:30pm Versus <--- Possibly a simulcast of Comcast Network

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 5 TV Guesses

Here's my guesses for the Week Five TV selections. The ACC, PAC-10, Big Ten and SEC are the conferences having game times announced. The Big East only has one Saturday game and it is earmarked for their syndication package and the Big 12 had their selections for this date done prior to the season starting.

Note that there are two open TV windows for this date on ESPN Classic. I'm guessing one will be an SEC game.

I think it is possible that we could see the ACC's TV partners invoke a six day selection for their games.

LSU at Georgia, 3:30pm

Florida St. at Boston College (RM), Michigan St. at Michigan (RM) and UCLA at Stanford, 3:30pm
Oklahoma at Miami (FL) and USC at California (confirmed), 8pm

Penn St. at Illinois, 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Alabama at Kentucky, 7:45pm

Virginia at North Carolina, 12pm
Texas A&M at Arkansas, 7:30pm

Texas Tech at New Mexico. 3:30pm (confirmed)

Virginia Tech at Duke, 12pm
NC State at Wake Forest, 3:30pm
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 7pm
UNLV at Nevada, 10:30pm

ESPN Classic
Wisconsin at Minnesota, 12pm
South Carolina St. at South Carolina, 7pm

Big Ten
Arkansas St. at Iowa & Northwestern at Purdue, 12pm
Ohio St. at Indiana, 7pm (confirmed)

Oregon St. at Arizona St., 7:30pm

Auburn at Tennessee, 12pm SEC Network
Clemson at Maryland, 12pm Raycom
USF at Syracuse, 12pm Big East (confirmed)
Cincinnati at Miami (OH), 1pm ESPN360 (confirmed)
Kansas St. vs. Iowa St., 3pm Fox College Sports (confirmed)
Georgia Tech at Mississippi St., 7:30pm CSS
Washington St. at Oregon, 9:15pm Oregon Sports/FSN Northwest (semi-confirmed)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


A few small items worth discussing:

  • A reader sent in that Bright House Sports will also show the SEC package of games that CSS originally signed up for. Coupled with the recent announcement from Cox Sports in Louisiana, the CSS package should reach the entire footprint, excluding satellite.
  • After probably a lot of backroom negotiation, the Stanford-Washington game on 9/26 will be televised by Fox College Sports. Earlier this week, UW issued a press release which seemed to blame Stanford for the reason why the game would not be on TV.
  • Right around the same time Washington issued their release about their game originally not being televised, Nevada also issued a "broadcast information" release about their road game at Colorado St. In the release, Nevada simply says the game would not be on TV because the MWC's TV partners decided not to pick it up AND they would not grant a waiver to allow a local broadcast back to Reno. I believe this is the 2nd time Nevada has been denied a local broadcast by a MWC since CBS College Sports/CSTV purchased the MWC's TV rights. A few years ago they denied the right for Nevada to do a local broadcast of a Nevada-UNLV game. Different circumstances though as the mtn. did televise the game, but the mtn. did not have carriage in Reno.
  • In other PAC-10 related TV news, Oregon took a somewhat unusual step to announce the kickoff time of their home game vs. Washington St. in the event it would not be televised on ABC or Versus on 10/3. Me thinks that the poor shape of the Cougars has already eliminated this game from television coverage.
  • Sports Business Journal did a great followup article on the demise of the Arizona Wildcats Sports Network, which really never did get off the ground. According to SBJ, neither IMG nor the Wildcats athletic department ever checked with the conference regarding the parameters involved in a local broadcast deal. The real problem was when the partners announced affiliates across the nation, which put them in violation of the deals the conference struck with ABC and FSN.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Washington not happy about Stanford game time?

Washington issued a press release late Monday, noting that their consecutive televised game streak would end at 29 games after this week's game vs. USC. And it kinda sounds like they are placing the blame completely on Stanford.

The Cardinal athletic department elected not to move off its standard game time of 6 p.m. and make a request for a league waiver for a local telecast - which would have provided the UW's partner, FSN Northwest, the rights to televise the game. The home team for all Pac-10 games controls the kickoff time when the game is not picked-up for a league television appearance.

FSN Northwest owns the UW's exclusive television rights, after the Pac-10 makes its weekly television selections. The network has the contractual obligation to televise every Husky game, provided the game time can be moved into a window that does not have a head-to-head conflict with a Pac-10 telecast.

The article notes that the last untelevised game was also against Stanford. Stanford themselves announced the 6pm PT start well before the season started and appeared to take themselves out of the TV selection process.

Week 4 Network Selections

This is a placeholder for selections for week four from the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and PAC-10. The Big 12's selections were done before the season but there may be a selection for Fox College Sports. The Big East also does not have any games to choose for national networks but the Rhode Island-Connecticut game may be done as a local game through Big East Network syndication.

Stop back here as the selections are made today.

USF at Florida St., 12pm ESPNU
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 12pm Raycom
TCU at Clemson, 1pm ESPN360
Wake Forest at Boston College, 2pm ESPN360
Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Rutgers at Maryland, 3:30pm ESPN360

Big East
Rhode Island at Connecticut, 12pm ESPN360

Big Ten
Wisconsin-MSU 12pm on ESPN/ESPN2
Indiana-Michigan 12pm on ESPN/ESPN2
Illinois-OSU 3:30pm on ABC/ESPN
Iowa-Penn St. 8pm on ABC
Notre Dame-Purdue 8pm on ESPN

Arizona at Oregon St., 7:30pm Versus
Washington St. at USC, 10:15pm FSN

LSU at Mississippi St., 12pm SEC Network
Arkansas at Alabama, 3:30pm CBS
Florida at Kentucky, 6pm ESPN2
Arizona St. at Georgia, 7pm ESPNU
Ball St. at Auburn, 7pm SEC/FSN

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What to Watch: Week 3

Houston stepped up big against Oklahoma St., Fresno St. lost at Wisconsin but gave the Badgers a big scare, Central Michigan took one from the Spartans, Purdue lost on a two point conversion, Ohio St. and USC played a defensive struggle, Notre Dame and Michigan played a whale of a game...

Week two was a lot better than it was advertised. Let's see if week three can match it.

Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) (ESPN HD, 7:45pm) - Georgia Tech escaped with the win against Clemson after starting fast and letting Clemson back into the game. Miami's game with Florida St. was exciting and Jacory Harris' accuracy will be the key to this game. If Clemson had any good QB play early in the game it may not have been the runaway game it started out as.

Nebraska at Virginia Tech (ABC HD/ESPN2 HD, 3:30pm) - Nebraska has taken out their two opponents in short order, while Virginia Tech had a very good showing against Alabama in Atlanta and ran through Marshall. Nebraska has yet to test itself outside of the Sun Belt opponents it has started out with and this will likely be a litmus test for where Nebraska resides in the Big 12 pecking order once conference play begins.

Utah at Oregon (ESPN HD, 3:30pm) - Utah has played a pair of WAC opponents likely closer than they would have in 2008, but still came away with wins. The rush defense of the Utes improved from 221 allowed vs. Utah St. to 22 vs. San Jose St., but Oregon has yet to establish a real offensive identity under new coach Chip Kelly (yes, I know Chip was the offensive coordinator). Will definitely be a battle of the line of scrimmage and whomever controls it.

Tulsa at Oklahoma (FSN HD, 3:30pm) - Oklahoma got a nice breather again FCS team Idaho St. A chance to work out the kinks for Landry Jones and get some confidence for the offensive line. Tulsa will give them a chance to step back up in class before starting Big 12 play. TU has played well against Tulane and New Mexico and QB G.J. Kinne is the team's leading offensive player, both with his arm and his feet. The Sooners already know they can't team a non-AQ team lightly and would be wise to remember their in-state rival's loss to Houston this past weekend.

Cincinnati at Oregon St. (FSN HD, 6:45pm) - The 1st of two opportunities for the Big East to gain some respect on the national stage. Two years ago the Beavers came to Cincy and were pasted 34-3 turning the ball over seven times (six INTs). Same old Bearcats since then with an attacking defense and an efficient passing offense. The Beavers didn't have Jacquizz Rodgers back then (Yverson Bernard wasn't bad though) and the quarterbacks (Canfield and Moevao) have both grown up through playing time.

West Virginia at Auburn (ESPN HD, 7:45pm) - Auburn has looked extremely stout defensively against both Louisiana Tech and Mississippi St., allowing under 300 yards of total offense to both opponents. Neither one has the talent of West Virginia and the Mountaineers seemed to be gearing themselves more towards the passing game in their spread attack, possibly to keep Noel Devine fresh early in the season (36 carries in the two games). It will be interesting to see whether Devine becomes a bigger factor in a game like this where his speed can be a difference.

Week 4 TV Guesses

Since we know the available TV windows for the following week, here's my guess where each game fits:

EDIT 11:14am: Forgot Pitt-NC State was preselected for ESPNU at 3:30pm. Moved TCU-Clemson to 12pm on ESPNU and Rutgers-Maryland to ESPN360 exclusive at 3:30pm

Arkansas at Alabama, 3:30pm

California at Oregon (confirmed), North Carolina at Georgia Tech and Michigan St. at Wisconsin, 3:30pm
Iowa at Penn St. (time confirmed) and Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech, 8pm

USF at Florida St., 12pm
ABC Reverse Mirror, 3:30pm
Notre Dame at Purdue (time confirmed), 8pm

Indiana at Michigan, 12pm
Arizona St. at Georgia, 6pm
Texas Tech at Houston (confirmed), 9:15pm

TCU at Clemson, 12pm
Pitt at NC State (confirmed), 3:30pm
Florida at Kentucky, 7pm

Southern Miss at Kansas (confirmed), 12pm
UTEP at Texas (confirmed), 3:30pm
Arizona at Oregon St., 10:15pm

Washington St. at USC, 7:30pm

Big Ten
Minnesota at Northwestern & Illinois at Ohio St., 12pm

Wake Forest at Boston College (Raycom), 12pm
LSU at Mississippi St. (SEC Network), 12pm
Ohio at Tennessee (PPV, confirmed), 7pm
Ball St. at Auburn (SEC/FSN, semi-confirmed), 7pm
Rutgers at Maryland (ESPN360), 3:30pm

The possibility exists for a Big 12-Fox College Sports game at 7pm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bowl News and Versus

Two news items in a slow week
  • The Emerald Bowl has signed up its matchups for the 2010-2013 seasons. The PAC-10 will always be tied to the bowl with its 6th representative. The opponent will vary, with the WAC the representative in 2010 and 2013, with Army the primary in 2011 and Navy in 2012.

    This means that the ACC will move east. Over the past two seasons the ACC has declined to return to its two western bowls (Humanitarian and Emerald).

  • DirecTV and Versus are still at their stalemate and there have been no hints of compromise on either side. Texas is making fans aware of the situation, point them to a place where they can find a channel provider with Versus.

    Based on this information, I wouldn't expect any legal webstreaming options for this game. And Texas has appeared as part of the Big 12 set of games on Versus, back in 2007 vs. Baylor.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 2 Viewers Guide

Week one had some great surprises. BYU winning in Arlington vs. Oklahoma will get discounted by some national media because of Sam Bradford's injury, but they were holding their own while he was in there, plus OU's defense wasn't injured. BYU had to score, and they got just enough. Notre Dame and Michigan also began to re-assert themselves as top programs in the midwest and look who happens to play each other this week...

Two programs that hit rock bottom also appeared to pick themselves up off the mat with good showings in defeat were Syracuse and Washington. Washington had one too many turnovers again LSU and Syracuse had one unfortunate turnover in OT against Minnesota, but neither one appears to be the pushover they've been in prior seasons.

The schedule itself is a little bit lighter like other Week Two schedules from past seasons.


Clemson at Georgia Tech (ESPN HD, 7:30pm) - 1st ACC conference game to be played this year and both schools. Georgia Tech's run attack was in full force against Jacksonville St. but one concern could be the lack of work Johnathan Dwyer got in the game as he sat out the 2nd half and only had seven carries for 95 yards, 74 of that coming on the 1st play of the game. Clemson's CJ Spiller also sat out much of the game vs. Middle Tennessee, but because he was dinged up. No word on his status.


There isn't much to whet the appetite early in the afternoon. Syracuse at Penn St. (12pm, Big Ten HD) provides some intrigue for me, but I'm not naive to think that the Nittany Lions should be highly favored. Stanford at Wake Forest (12pm, Raycom HD) and Pittsburgh at Buffalo (12pm, ESPN+) also bear watching, but not with great detail.

Notre Dame at Michigan (ABC HD, 3:30pm) – National telecast here and both teams came out on fire against lesser opponents. Both Casey Clausen and Tate Forcier were efficient, Clausen also providing the downfield element to the ND offense. Michigan got a lot of mileage out of their ground attack too and maybe Rich Rodriguez's offense is rapidly taking hold in season #2.

Houston at Oklahoma St. (FSN HD, 3:30pm) – The Cowboys got a huge win vs. Georgia in the game where Boone Pickens Stadium was rededicated. Houston may not provide the defensive punch that the Bulldogs did to Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson, but they'll bring the passing game. Could be a wild shootout.

South Carolina at Georgia (ESPN2 HD, 7pm) – Should be a physical SEC matchup. South Carolina and Georgia brough the lumber to NC State and Oklahoma St., respectively. Steve Spurrier let everyone know that there would be more attention paid to the SC ground game and Stephen Garcia was more caretaker than ball slinger, even if the ground game didn't pile up yards. Georgia was run over by OK State and will need to provide better defense to not get behind the Gamecocks in conference.

USC at Ohio St. (ESPN HD, 8pm) – USC appeared to be going through the motions early on against San Jose St. before turning it on late. Navy is a unique team to prepare for in that the blocking schemes they use, coupled with the one-sided slant towards running the football can leave a team using personnel groupings that they normally would not rely on for a game. But Navy's ability to pass and run on Ohio St. has to be troubling. Yes, OSU struggled with Ohio last year before the USC game in LA last year, but they can't afford to repeat the same result in Columbus. USC's reliance on Joe McKnight and at least three other RBs to take the pressure off Matt Barkley will be the difference as to whether Ohio St. can hang with the Trojans.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Conference TV Contract: The WAC

The WAC brand has meant a lot of different things over the past ten years. A league of western transplants. Teams left behind from the MWC split and a near collapse. A conference that started completely over but has been able to place teams in the top 25 and in the BCS bowls. Its reward? A gradual increase in the number of exposures over the past decade to a level similar to other non-AQ conferences.

The WAC signed a new seven year contract with ESPN Networks with increases in the number of games available for ESPN/ESPN2 to select, plus games available for ESPNU. The contract starts with the 2010-11 athletic year and includes increased exposure for other sports. The ESPNU component of the contract started immediately when it was signed. Under the final year of the current deal, ESPN/ESPN2 has the rights to at least eight football games (they usually televise more than that) and under the new deal the minimum will increase to ten games. ABC could also pick up WAC games if it desires to. Many of the ESPN/ESPN2 games appear on weeknights.

ESPNU is a new component to the deal. The WAC placed some games on ESPNU when it started but backed off of that once ESPN said they would not compensate the conference for the ESPNU games. Under the new deal, ESPNU will have at least six games. For now, they can select games as available.

ESPN Regional is the regional rightsholder and can choose up to five games to syndicate across the conference footprint. This amount will not change going into the new contract. Unlike other deals that ESPN has done, cannot choose games for exclusive webstreaming, though they can simulcast any ESPN/ESPN2, ABC or game appearing on ESPN GamePlan. For the games not chosen by these entities, the schools retain the right to televise games locally. Many schools provide telecasts only for road games, some provide them for all games not selected by ESPN/ESPN2 and Hawai'i goes with a very lucrative PPV contract.

Most ESPN/ESPN2 games are selected before the season starts. Depending on the available telecasts later in the season and the available teams, WAC games have been added to the schedule as the season progresses. The ESPNU games generally will be Saturday games. If they involve Hawai'i they must be on Saturdays due to travel. A requirement that must be met each season is that every team makes at least one appearance on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC or ESPNU as part of the WAC contract.

The WAC has changed in membership and size over the past decade. Members have come and gone. Exposure has increased, from a small package on Fox Sports Net, a return to ESPN and increases in exposure with the last two contracts. BCS appearances by Hawai'i and Boise St. have raised the profile of the conference and the media side of the house is in in great shape. Now it needs for the bottom of the conference to, as the WAC says, "Play Up" and get better.

Conference TV Contract: The Sun Belt

The Sun Belt is the youngest D-I football conference, beginning play in 2001 as a response to the Big West dropping sponsorship of football. Several schools played in the Big West as football only members and the Sun Belt made sense as a new home.

The Sun Belt has a three year contract with ESPN, starting with the 2009 serason. It provides for at least two televised games per year on ESPN/ESPN2. The contract requests that the conference provides these games at ESPN's request and that they may be weeknight games. A new component not available in the original ESPN contract was for games to appear on ESPNU on Saturdays and that the Sun Belt would be available to provide games on a 12 day basis.

ESPN Regional has the right to select up to five Sun Belt games per year as well. Previously ESPN Regional was the primary regional rightsholder for the conference. That now appears to below to a pair of regional sports networks. Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports TV (CST) jointly own the regional rights, calling the broadcasts the Sun Belt Network. The Sun Belt Network games are part of a larger, all-sports contract that these two entities run.

Any games not selected for TV revert back to the schools to sell. Some schools do sell some non-conference games to local stations and can also choose games during the year. Many schools partner up with their website host to stream home games.

The Sun Belt has gradually improved as a conference and are taking steps to get more games on campus and play fewer money games. By doing this, they can get more fans in the stands and get more opportunities for national television. Also, by not locking themselves into longer term deals, they can quickly react to the marketplace and strike the best deal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Week 1 Channel Surfing

We'll try to do one of these each week, going from channel to channel on the DirecTV here. I'll have this as a running entry for Saturday and, for this week, Sunday and Monday.

Please be aware, I might leave the house, take a nap, have a life...

  • They talk about how Husky Stadium will often noticeably shake when the crowd is really hot there and with an opening score against LSU, its no different. Lot of LSU fans in Seattle too.
  • Just showed Nick Holt on TV. Holt had an interesting set of job changes in 2006, resigning as Idaho's head coach to take an assistant coaching job with the St. Louis Rams on 2/6/06, then resigned from the Rams a day later (no signed contract) to take the defensive coordinator job at USC.

  • SEC regional cable telecasts debuted and both entities that broadcast these games (Fox Sports regional and CSS) are using the ESPN look and feel instead of using the FSN and CSS graphics. The FSN game was branded as SEC College Football Saturday, similar to FSN's other franchises, Big 12 College Football Saturday and PAC-10 College Football Saturday.
  • I really wish Florida would have found a better FCS team than Charleston Southern.
  • Unexpected surprise: The national telecast of Alabama - Va. Tech is on which I didn't see noted on other listings.
  • Never noticed the Cougar helmet stickers for BYU.
  • Nice touch for HBCU fans. Prairie View A&M - Texas Southern is airing live on where it will be aired on delay on ESPNU.

  • Took the afternoon off for a nap. Either way, I'm not quite buying the HD that FSN Northwest was selling for the Stanford-WSU game. Portland St.-Oregon St. looked like HD, this looks like widescreen, kinda.
  • Couple nice finishes in the Big Ten: Navy - Ohio St. game where you had to figure the Mids would bring it and they did. Then Northern Iowa with the wacky finish when they had their game winning FG blocked but recovered it behind the line, so it remained UNI ball. Took about seven minutes to finally rule. And...they blocked another kick.
  • Doug Marrone coached in the pros and he has to know prevent defense prevents wins.

  • Flipped on the FSN Northwest pregame show for their doubleheader. Looks like both games in HD as the pregame show appears to be in HD, or at least in widescreen. Looks like we'll see a fair amount of regional FSN games in HD.

  • SEC Network looks sharp. Looks like ESPN, sounds like Raycom, at least with Dave Neal at the mic.
  • While it isn't appearing on their own website, is reporting that New Orleans' based RSN Cox Sports TV (CST) will also air the Western Carolina-Vandy game tonight.

  • ECU finally appears on MASN, with a telecast that so far has no PxP. Feels like the scoreboard feed. But then after commercial we get announcers and a welcome regarding the MASN telecast.

  • ECU fans outside of the WITN broadcast area must be wondering where their MASN telecast is. MASN hasn't even put up a courtesy crawl in the event there is a problem providing MASN the game
  • Taking the SEC pregame show must be an option. Doesn't look like MSG picked it up but Fox Sports Detroit did.
  • Primary game on the tube is the Minnesota-Syracuse game, which seems to be taking a long time. At least the dome seems to be into it.
  • My 1st extended use of since I moved to a house that was able to get AT&T DSL. I like it, even if it seems to be about 5 seconds behind live action. Nice to quickly switch between games.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Arizona goes back to Fox Sports

Late this afternoon, Arizona announced a renewal of their partnership with Fox Sports Arizona for Wildcat football and basketball games. The deal was not completed in time to allow for a live airing of the Central Michigan game on Saturday outside of Arizona, so that game will be aired on KWBA-Tuscon and KAZT-Phoenix live and delayed on Fox Sports Arizona.

KWBA/KGUN in Tuscon will remain "affiliates" for these games and Fox Sports AZ will televise the games to the rest of the state, with the telecasts available on Fox College Sports.

No word was given as to why the change was made to go back to Fox Sports, but the GM of IMG College, UA's local media rightsholder, unexpectedly resigned last week. Brent Seebohm, the executive who resigned, was quoted as saying the network would cost at least $800,000 to run and that cost could be made up in advertising.

Arizona, AWSN update

Looks like Fox Sports Arizona will remain in the game to show Arizona athletics outside of the Tuscon area. Sounds like Comcast could be out as a distributor.

No idea what they are going to do for the CMU game but I'm guessing it will be live in Tuscon and delayed on Fox Sports Arizona.

Personally, I'm thinking that this could be the PAC-10 and FSN slapping the hand of the Wildcats and reminding them of the TV agreements in place. The AWSN's original affiliate list included Altitude and several Comcast SportsNet affiliates and had the feel of UA creating its own national network to compete with FSN. My guess is that FSN reminded them that there were certain regional rights that they had to adhere to and that AWSN with the out-of-market affiliates violated those rights.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fox College Sports Games

Fox College Sports has published its schedule of games for 2009. Still missing is the CMU-Arizona game so I'm still trying to find out what channel that game will appear on. The rest of the listings are on my site.

As with any list that I've encountered with FCS, it tends to change quite a bit as the season so consider it tentative on a week by week basis.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Conference TV Contract: The SEC

The SEC is the 800 lb gorilla of college football. A conference steeped in tradition, rivalry and pagaentry and one that is consistently the cream of the crop when it comes to the product on the field. And thanks to new contracts with CBS and ESPN, you won't be able to escape watching the conference on Saturdays.

The SEC's new TV deals are the Rolls-Royce of television contracts. Starting with the CBS contract, the SEC will have 14 regular season games on CBS and the conference championship game. Under the previous contract, ESPN was allowed to select ahead of CBS a few times per year. That is no longer the case and CBS will have the top pick from the SEC every week. The contract with CBS runs for 15 years. The CBS windows are exclusive windows so that no other SEC telecast can occur at the same time.

ESPN's contract with the SEC is even more expansive. Previously ESPN/ESPN2 had the rights to 18 games, with the rest of the selections going to Raycom Sports, back to the schools for PPV or games just went untelevised. No games on ESPNU either. Now ESPN Networks owns the rights to all games not selected by CBS. ESPN/ESPN2 now has the rights to 20 games and ESPNU has a primetime window for the SEC every week (at least 13 games). So the SEC has drastically increased its number of national telecasts. ESPN Classic will also have the option to select games if there is a surplus of games available. ESPN windows are not exclusive, allowing for other regional telecasts to occur at the same time

ESPN Regional Television then created the SEC Network, replacing the Raycom Sports component of the TV deal. Unlike Raycom who concentrated their efforts in SEC states, ERT has ramped up something close to a national network of affiliates to carry these games, mixing regional sports networks and over the air stations, several from markets which did not carry the Raycom telecasts in the past. The SEC Network games will kick off at 12:21pm ET and the telecast window starts off with a brief pregame show.

A second regional component was carved out when ESPN sublicensed games to a pair of regional broadcasters in the southeast, Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and the Fox Sports Net regional networks covering the SEC states (FSSouth, FSSouthwest and Sun Sports). FSN has access to seven games and CSS has access to at least six games. These games are typically in the evening, but must occur outside of the CBS telecast window.

Anything that isn't picked up by the entities revert back to the schools for them to produce PPV telecasts. Under the new deal, schools may not produce more than one PPV game per season. Judging by the sheer number of telecast options available, that should not be an issue. The PPVs, on the surface, appear to be mostly non-conference games.

The SEC also has some unique schedule quirks. For example, several games are played on a specific Saturday every season, like Tennessee-Alabama and Florida-Georgia. In addition to the specific date for Florida-Georgia, because it is consistently played off campus in Jacksonville, FL, the schools also have requested that the game be a day game every year, which means that it is likely that the game will always be selected by CBS for telecast.

The final splash that the SEC made was to regain their copyright. Not a lot was made of this important detail and no one could really explain what it meant, but the SEC will now be able to make money off of classic games and sublicense these games to video providers on television and the Internet and be able to receive an additional revenue stream.

The SEC, previously the best in football with one of the lousiest TV deals in terms of national telecasts and PPV, now gets to have its cake and eat it too. Conferences are now scurrying to find out whether they can get something comparable to the SEC in terms of coverage since they likely won't match them in revenue. Won't be able to escape them this fall or any fall for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 Redesign and Regaining Copyright

Just in time for the upcoming foootball season, has been given a facelift. The site appears to be a joint venture between XOS Technologies and did the layout of the site, while XOS will be involved in the digital media aspects of the site, including the SEC Digital Network.

The digital network's creation was part of the SEC's agreements with ESPN and where the SEC regained their copyright from those two entities. Viewing content could be free or cost a nominal fee. Folks who want that content available via offline means like a DVD or having the media permanent available on their hard drive are expected to pay an additional cost.

The Big Ten also regained copyright of their games in their latest TV contract and used it for their Big Ten Network's Big Ten Greatest Games series that airs on the network with older episodes now available on

Versus disappears from DirecTV

EDIT: Sports Business Journal has Versus at 27-29 cents per sub, higher than what I put in the original entry.

Versus has indeed disappeared from DirecTV due to an ongoing contract dispute. Not sure what each side is expecting to pay or receive from the other (Versus gets around 27 to 29 cents per subscriber) but at this moment, there is no effect to those of us following college football or fans of two other major Versus properties, the IRL (next race September 19th) and the NHL (season starts in October).

Versus's college football schedule starts on 9/12 with a mix of Big 12, Ivy League, MWC and PAC-10 games.

All times ET (Bold indicates game involving a preseason ranked team in either AP or Coaches Poll)
9/12 Texas at Wyoming 3:30pm
9/19 Duke at Kansas 12pm
9/19 Florida St. at BYU 7pm
9/26 Cornell at Yale 12pm
9/26 PAC-10 Game 7:30pm (Wash. St.-USC or AZ-OR St.)
10/3 PAC-10 Game 7pm (OR St.-AZ St., UCLA-Stanford or Wash St.-Oregon)
10/17 Princeton at Brown 12:30pm
10/17 Colorado St. at TCU 4pm
10/17 PAC-10 Game 7:30pm (Stanford-AZ, Cal-UCLA or OR St.-Wash. St.)
10/24 Big 12 Game 12:30pm
10/24 Air Force at Utah 4pm
10/24 TCU at BYU 7:30pm
10/31 Big 12 Game 12:30pm
10/31 UNLV at TCU 4pm
11/7 Big 12 Game 12:30pm
11/7 TCU at San Diego St. 4pm
11/14 Big 12 Game 12:30pm
11/14 PAC-10 Game 7pm (Five Games Available)
11/21 Harvard at Yale 12pm
11/21 San Diego St. at Utah 4pm
11/21 PAC-10 Game, 7:30pm or 10pm (Oregon-AZ, AZ St.-UCLA or Cal-Stanford)