Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Absolutely random thoughts

BYU, Independence and TV
BYU is going have roughly four games on ESPN networks and we know of eleven of the Cougars twelve (or thirteen) games going in to 2011

UCF (Friday)
Utah St. (Friday)
New Mexico St.
San Jose St.

Based on the UCF game being on a Friday, my sense is that ESPN/ESPN2 will pick up that game, plus the Utah game. After that, pickings are slim. The four WAC teams are more suited for BYUtv or ESPNU. ESPN could be working with the Cougars to secure a decent opponent to give ESPN a third worthwhile game to pick up.

BYU also has a game at Hawai'i and they can pick up a 13th game if they choose. That game must be a home game.

As for the road games (Louisiana Tech, Hawai'i, Texas, Oregon St., Ole Miss), I expect at least three of those games to be available for telecast (Texas, Ole Miss and Hawai'i).

As for BYUtv, I've read a great deal about the HD truck they have. As of this time, I'm not sure if BYUtv has televised anything in HD. DirecTV does not carry an HD feed. Also, BYUtv is a public interest channel and, to my knowledge, receives no carriage fees from cable/satellite companies as carrying the channel, as a PI channel, fills a requirement for these systems. BYU will make more money per season, we know that. We also know they'll get some form of monetary compensation from the WCC deal, whatever amount that is.

Conference USA

Still no word on an ESPN contract, though the conference, as of 9:50am ET on 11/30, seems pretty stable. Then again, the TCU announcement hit around this time with a press conference mere hours later.

C-USA still has a championship game to offer, but ESPN may be waiting for a UCF, Houston or SMU domino to fall before making any offers to the conference. There's been talk of a C-USA/MWC type agreement, but what that agreement entails between the two conferences is unclear. They are both joined at the hip with CBS College Sports as a TV partner.

WAC Redux

When the MWC split from the WAC in 1999, they left a conference that could, at least, try to get TV deal with Fox Sports Net, even if it was a profit-sharing deal that from some accounts made the conference no money at all. After rising up from that low point, they got to a place where they had $4 million per year coming in from ESPN and committments for more football and basketball.

Feels like we're at the same place. The WAC, this time, is being picked clean and the reinforcements are having to come from the championship subdivision. This one is going to be much harder to survive and some schools might need some convincing to hold this thing together. The remaining WAC members might as well be Sun Belt West and outside of San Jose St., some of these schools participated in the SBC (Idaho, Utah St., New Mexico St., La. Tech, incoming member Denver is currently a SBC member).

The thought of those four joining up with the Sun Belt has crossed my mind. At least Louisiana Tech, Utah St. and Denver. Would give them twelve football members once South Alabama football comes into the fold. Fourteen basketball members too. But with the Sun Belt, a conference with a tiny budget compared to the Big East, geography matters more.

Either way, the WAC is going to suffer from a TV perspective, both monitarily and getting on TV, in 2012.

NCAA Tournament

Great summary done on the NCAA tournament by SportsVideo.org. They've detailed key items on how Turner and CBS will coexist with respect to showing scores, directing viewers to close games, look-n-feel type items like graphics and how Turner is going to expand on March Madness On Demand with web-based programming and the celebration of National Bracket Day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

TCU to Big East thoughts

Jumping around a little:

How does TCU help long term?

For football, the Big East schools can schedule one less OOC game going forward. I don't believe that it will result in an increase in the number of ESPN telecasts, even though it will result in more Big East conference games that are part of the ESPN contract from 28 to 36. There will be more Big East games available on Saturdays too as I don't expect games to be moved to weeknights without TV.

Men's basketball is a weaker sport for TCU. They'll get a few more nationally televised games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. As it has been explained to me, the conference will continue to play 18 conference games, but instead of having three repeat matchups, each school will have two repeat games and TCU will be slotted in to the schedule.

In terms of travel and game times, there shouldn't be a major difference. TCU won't have the late evening games that they could have on the mtn. or CBS College if they travel to UNLV, San Diego St., and New Mexico, not to mention future MWC members Fresno St., Nevada and Boise St. In terms of distances, travel to Boise or Fresno isn't much different than travelling to New Jersey.

Can the BCS scores that TCU has earned help the Big East?

I don't know and we need clarification to that point. Stewart Mandel from Sports Illustrated noted that BCS administrator Bill Hancock said they would go towards the Big East's numbers, but Mandel correctly noted that these scores would be determined based on membership as of 2011. TCU isn't joining until 2012.

Where does this leave the MWC

For next season, this doesn't change a thing. BYU, Utah and Boise St.'s moves affect television for 2011. The MWC lost its biggest television market. No way to get around that. A nine team MWC in 2012 looks like this:

Air Force
Boise St.
Colorado St.
Fresno St.
San Diego St.
New Mexico

Looking at that, TV markets are slim. Denver is the largest market remaining. Even if the addition of Hawai'i as a football member doesn't help, and it adds Hawai'i as a time zone and drops the Central time zone. Parts of Dallas/Fort Worth didn't pick up the mtn., so they don't need to worry about going forward with trying to market the channel there. The significant change in membership is something that all TV partners will look at.

Where does this leave the possibility of a Big East Network as a 24/7 channel?

I could be swayed on this one. Many of the larger markets of the conference are not football members. It now has more football games to offer as content, and even more basketball games. I do struggle as to whether there would be enough interest in this network from the markets as content for a network would be taken away from local carriers and regional networks like SNY and MASN.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Bowl Predictions

Made a few assumptions
  • Both Washington and Middle Tennessee would win next week
  • Stanford will be in the top four and clinch a BCS at-large spot
  • Ohio St. and Arkansas will be the two at-large teams who are freely chosen by the bowls
  • Notre Dame at 7-5 takes the Champs Sports Bowl
    becomes an at-large
  • West Virginia beats Rutgers, end 9-3, two wins ahead of Notre Dame
  • Connecticut wins the Big East
I tried to take into account travel and to avoid regular season rematches. I rematched Miami (FL) and Pitt because the Pac-10 would not have enough teams to fill this slot and I did not believe that the Sun Bowl would take a MAC team, nor that it would match up two ACC teams.

The teams with *** are teams filling bowls as an at-large. In the cases of Middle Tennessee and Army, they have backup agreements with these bowls

Humanitarian: Toledo vs. Nevada
New Mexico: BYU vs. Fresno St.
New Orleans: UTEP vs. FIU
St. Petersburg: Louisville vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas: Utah vs. Ohio***
Poinsettia: Navy vs. San Diego St.
Hawai'i: Hawai'i vs. Tulsa
Little Caesar's: Northern Illinois vs. Middle Tennessee***
Independence: Boston College vs. Air Force
Champs Sports: NC State vs. Notre Dame West Virginia
Insight: Missouri vs. Penn St.
Military: Clemson vs. East Carolina
Texas: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern
Alamo: Oklahoma St. vs. Arizona
Armed Forces: SMU vs. Army***
Pinstripe: Kansas St. vs. Syracuse
Music City: Maryland vs. Tennessee
Holiday: Texas A&M vs. Washington
Meineke: North Carolina vs. West Virginia USF
Sun: Miami (FL) vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame***
Liberty: UCF vs. Georgia
Chick-Fil-A: Florida St. vs. Mississippi St.
Ticket City: Baylor vs. Illinois
Outback: Iowa vs. Alabama
Capital One: Michigan St. vs. South Carolina
Gator: Michigan vs. Florida
GoDaddy.com: Miami (OH) vs. Troy
Cotton: Nebraska vs. LSU
BBVA Compass: USF Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky
Kraft Fights Hunger: Boise St. vs. Georgia Tech***

Rose: Wisconsin vs. TCU
Sugar: Ohio St. vs. Arkansas
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
Orange: Virginia Tech vs. Stanford
BCS Championship: Auburn vs. Oregon

Under this scenario, Temple and Western Michigan would not play in bowls. There are reports that 6-6 teams can jump ahead of 7+ win teams, so a Georgia Tech team can jump a Temple team.

Any thoughts? What games look good to you?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What to watch, Week 13

Final full week of the seasons. Divisions to be decided. Plenty of teams to still get bowl eligible and bowls need some 6-6 teams as there are only 64 eligible teams for 70 slots.

Because of the sheer number of important games, we're going with quick hitters.

Weeknight (games without a day are on Friday)
  • Temple-Miami (OH) (7pm Tuesday, ESPN2). If the Redhawks win, they force Ohio to win vs. Kent St. (11am, ESPNU).
  • Texas A&M at Texas (8pm Thursday, ESPN). A win gives Texas A&m slim hopes for a share of the Big 12 South. Texas needs a win to be bowl eligibile. Big drop for last year's championship game runner-up.
  • Louisville at Rutgers (11am ESPN2). Winner stays alive & for Louisville, they will go bowling.
  • West Virginia at Pittsburgh (12pm ABC). If Pitt wins, the continue to control destiny into final weekend for Big East title.
  • SMU at East Carolina (2pm, CBS College). If SMU wins, they win C-USA West. Otherwise Southern Miss at Tulsa will determine it (6:30pm, CBS College).
  • Auburn at Alabama (2:30pm, CBS) could be Auburn's biggest remaining test compared to the SEC championship vs. South Carolina.
  • Colorado at Nebraska (3:30pm, ABC) ends its run as both teams move on to new conferences. CU can finish with bowl eligibility and a 3-0 mark under interim coach Brian Cabral. Nebraska can clinch the Big 12 North.
  • UCLA at Arizona St. (3:30pm, FSN) has meaning only for UCLA as they need to win out to finish bowl eligible.
  • Arizona at Oregon (7pm, ESPN). Oregon can clinch the Pac-10 title with a win. Also gives Oregon a slight strength of schedule boost with a win.
  • Boise St. at Nevada (10:15pm, ESPN). Last major test for both teams. Both teams control their own destiny for WAC title, but Boise St. has BCS dreams.


  • The Big Ten title will be decided through Michigan at Ohio St. (12pm, ABC), Michigan St. at Penn St. (12pm, ESPN2) and Northwestern at Wisconsin (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN). Too many scenarios to go over, but remember that if Wisconsin, Ohio St. and Michigan St. all win, the BCS rankings will be involved for sending a team to the Rose Bowl.
  • The ACC Atlantic is also at stake based on the result of NC State's visit to Maryland (3:30pm, ESPN2). NC State controls its own destiny. Win and in. Otherwise, it belongs to Florida St.
  • Last big game is Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. (8pm, ABC). Depending on the result of the Texas-Texas A&M game on Thursday, this could be a winner takes all game. The simplest path for any team is for Oklahoma St. Win and in.

The remainder of the games that matter and why:

  • UCF at Memphis (12pm, CSS) - UCF can win C-USA East outright and host the C-USA title game.
  • Cincinnati at Connecticut (12pm, Big East) - Connecticut can keep pace if Pittsburgh stumbles in the Big East race. Cincy must win to have a chance to be bowl eligible.
  • Kansas vs. Missouri (12:30pm, FSN) - If Nebraska loses, Missouri can win and win the Big 12.
  • LSU at Arkansas (3:30pm, CBS) - A win positions LSU as the top at-large team from an AQ conference.
  • BYU at Utah (3:30pm, The mtn./CBS College) - Matters not towards the BCS or MWC standings. Matters as the last MWC game for both teams as they move on.
  • TCU at New Mexico (4pm, Versus) - Frogs have the MWC title, but can win it outright. Become the leader in the clubhouse for the BCS title game.

Games deciding bowl eligibility

  • Kentucky at Tennessee (12pm, SEC Network) - Tennesse wins and can be bowl eligible
  • Washington at California (3:30pm, CSN California/FSN Northwest) - Cal's final game determines their bowl eligibility. If UW wins, they must also win the Apple Cup next week.
  • Arkansas St. at FIU - FIU can become eligible and clinch a share of the Sun Belt title
  • Georgia Tech at Georgia - Georgia must win to be bowl eligible

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What to Watch, Week 12

Whiffed on mentioning the importance of the Ohio-Temple game last night. Temple's loss looms large as they must beat Miami (OH) next week to win the MAC East.

As we head into the week, there are 54 bowl eligible teams to fill 70 slots. One more is likely to be filled by Texas Tech, who at five wins has a game with FCS member Weber St. BYU likely needs to win this week vs. New Mexico to get win #6 as their final game is against Utah, which looks less stronger by the week. Notre Dame can also get win #6 vs. Army this week, putting all three independent teams in the eligible column. And at some point, a Sun Belt team will be bowl eligible. Might not be this week as Troy, the Sun Belt's only team with five wins, visits South Carolina. Let's not forget that USC is not eligible for any bowls despite seven wins.
Running down the schedule, I do not see any matchups of five win teams, so I don't see any situations where the winner goes bowling and the loser needs a win. I suppose we'll see some of those next week.

I do wonder though if a school like Virginia or Arizona St. could get to 6-6 with two wins against FCS teams and go bowling because they are needed to fill a slot.

Here's the rest of the week:

Only game worth mentioning is Fresno St.'s visit to Boise St. on Friday night (ESPN2, 9:30pm). The Broncos may have pushed themselves into the driver's seat should Oregon or Auburn stumble. The Bulldogs gave Nevada all they could handle late last Saturday, holding the Wolf Pack to 150 total yards below their average offense output coming into the game. Boise has only been slowed down twice this year, and what I mean with "slowed down" is that they were held under 40 points.

Wisconsin at Michigan seems like it might be a shootout of sorts (ESPN, 12pm), or at least somewhat one-side. Badgers coach Bret Bielema is still be criticized for a perceived lack of compassion for Indiana by dropping 83 on them, including passing late in the game. Michigan's defense is ripe for the pickings and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Badgers do it again. And I agree with Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel as to why you might run up the score. Fact is, margin of victory isn't in the BCS formula, so the only way you can get style points is with the human voters and scoring is one way to do so. I do believe though that 83 was about 20 too many.

Keep an eye on the two Big East games at 12pm (Pitt vs. USF on ESPN2, WVU at Louisville on Big East/Gameplan) because someone has to win that conference. NC State's visit to Chapel Hill (ACC Network, 12pm) critical for the Wolfpack's chances at the ACC as they control their destiny in the ACC Atlantic. Tune in briefly for Oklahoma St. at Kansas (FSN, 12pm) just in case the Jayhawks show up. Otherwise its likely Bedlam for the Big 12 South title.

Now for a brief foray into the land of the FCS as this week is their final regular season week before their newly expanded playoffs start. The Northeast and Big South conferences now have an automatic bid and the at-large bids have also increased by two, making this a 20 team field. Villanova at Delaware (Comcast Sports, 12pm) could determine whether Villanova has a shot at an at-large bid to defend their championship. Montana St.'s visit to Montana (KPAX/Altitude 2, 2pm) will have some bearing on the Big Sky's auto bid. Chattanooga at Wofford (SportSouth, 3pm) will help determine the SoCon's auto bid and whether the Mocs are worthy of an at-large berth. And it's win-and-in for Stephen F. Austin and the Southland's auto bid if they can get past Northwestern St. (Southland TV, 3pm).

Back to the FBS, Ohio St. at Iowa is the marquee mid-afternoon contest (ABC, 3:30pm). The Hawkeyes need a ton of help to climb back in the Big Ten race and even then, a shot at the Rose Bowl is slim. But they can play spoiler to the Buckeyes, who let Penn St. hang around for about 2 1/2 quarters before flipping the switch. Buckeyes will need four quarters of concentration or Michigan St. could end up in the driver's seat for the Big Ten title.
Virginia Tech at Miami (FL) (ESPN, 3:30pm) has a simple prize for the Hokies: Win and punch the ticket for Charlotte. Lose and prepare for a Virginia team that has nothing to lose. Jacory Harris is not cleared to return to action yet, so expect Stephen Morris to continue as the starter. And expect the Hokies defense to turn up the heat.

Catch the novelty of a pair of games being played at MLB stadiums. Tune into ESPNU at 3:30pm to catch the novelty of a college football game at Wrigley Field as Northwestern hosts Illinois. Illinois could get bowl eligible too. And Notre Dame "hosts" Army at Yankee Stadium (NBC, 7pm).

To start the evening, check in on a pair of games. One, Arkansas at Mississippi St. (ESPN, 7pm), is strictly for bowl positioning as the winner has a line of the Cotton Bowl berth. But its also a matchup of two Top 25 teams, something that can't go unnoticed. The Connecticut-Syracuse game (ESPNU, 7pm) also figures in to the Big East race. SU can finish 5-2 in conference and would likely be locked into a finish no worse than 2nd and a chance at the Champs Sports or Meineke Car Care bowl games. UConn, like virtually every team in the conference, has a shot to win out and grab the BCS berth. Every game from here on out in the Big East is an elimination game.

Two games in the Big 12 with a direct correlation are both at 8pm. Nebraska can clinch the Big 12 North with a win at Texas A&M (ABC, 8pm) and, if Oklahoma beats Baylor (ESPN2, 8pm), the Bedlam game would determine the Big 12 South. If the Cowboys win and Oklahoma loses, Oklahoma St. wins the Big 12 South. And for the death scenario: If A&M wins out, Oklahoma beats Baylor and Oklahoma St., assuming OK State beats Kansas, we go back to the dreaded tiebreaker system that was used to determine the Big 12 South a few years ago. Heaven forbid that it would fall to who is highest in the BCS standings.

Florida St. visits College Park and both FSU and Maryland have a shot at the ACC Atlantic (ABC, 8pm). FSU is in the driver's seat right now, ahead in the win column, but doesn't control its own destiny; Maryland and NC State do. If the 'Noles win, they'll need the Terps to bounce back vs. NC State the following week. A 'Noles loss makes the NC State-Maryland game a winner-takes-all contest in the Coastal.

Final game to peek in on is Utah visiting San Diego St. (The mtn., 10pm). Utah has looked dreadful the past two weeks, while San Diego St. is continuing to impress and could be 9-1 instead of 7-3 if it weren't for a late TD loss at Missouri and replay issues at BYU regarding a lost fumble that was called incorrectly. SDSU didn't lie down vs. TCU and has a great chance at playing at home in the Poinsettia Bowl if they win out. Utah needs to get itself together fast. A free fall from 8-0 to 8-3 is never good, particularly with a trip to BYU coming in the final matchup between those two schools as members of the same conference.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 13 Twelve Day Guesses

Games on Friday and Saturday have to be decided. Many games could remain idle until November 21st when a six day pick is possible. All the Big Ten games plus Oklahoma St.-Oklahoma could wait until that date. ACC has had all its six day picks used, so even though there is a lot to be decided, its expected that those games, along with the SEC games now that their championship game is decided.

11am Louisville at Rutgers ESPN2
11am Ohio at Kent St. ESPNU
12pm West Virginia at Pittsburgh ABC
2pm Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan ESPN3.com
2pm Buffalo at Akron SportsTime Ohio (confirmed)
2:30pm Auburn at Alabama CBS (confirmed)
3:30pm Colorado at Nebraska ABC (confirmed)
3:30pm UCLA at Arizona St. FSN (confirmed)
7pm Arizona at Oregon ESPN (confirmed)
10:15pm Boise St. at Nevada ESPN (confirmed)

12pm Michigan at Ohio St. ABC (time confirmed)
12pm Michigan St. at Penn St. ESPN
12pm South Carolina at Clemson ESPN2
12pm Boston College at Syracuse ESPNU
12pm Indiana at Purdue Big Ten
12pm Kentucky at Tennessee SEC
12pm North Carolina at Duke ACCNet split
12pm USF at Miami (FL) ACCNet split
12pm Cincinnati at Connecticut Big East (confirmed)
12:30pm Kansas vs. Missouri FSN (confirmed)
3:30pm LSU at Arkansas CBS
3:30pm Northwestern at Wisconsin ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Florida at Florida St. ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Virginia at Virginia Tech ESPN2
3:30pm Iowa at Minnesota Big Ten
3:30pm NCAA Division I playoffs ESPNU (confirmed)
3:30pm Washington at California CSNCA (confirmed)
3:30pm Western Kentucky at Troy Sun Belt
7pm Mississippi St. at Ole Miss ESPNU
7:30pm Oregon St. at Stanford Versus (confirmed)
7:30pm Wake Forest at Vanderbilt CSS
8pm Oklahoma St. at Oklahoma ABC (network confirmed)
8pm NC State at Maryland ABC
8pm Notre Dame at USC ESPN (time confirmed)
8pm Georgia Tech at Georgia ESPN2
8pm Houston at Texas Tech FSN Regional HD (confirmed)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What to Watch, Week 11

Missed on two important MAC games or they'd be listed here. If you are curious, 70 bowl slots are available. So far 48 teams are eligible. No teams yet from the Big East or Sun Belt. Going to concentrate on Saturday since the remainder of the weeknight games aren't quite memorable, though Pitt could get bowl eligible. More of a quick hitters article too.

Iowa at Northwestern (12pm, ESPN) - What's at stake: Iowa keeps itself alive for the Big Ten title. They'll need help along the way. Northwestern blowing a 21 point lead doesn't help its cause. Both teams can get the job done offensively, but Iowa's defense will be the difference.

UCF at Southern Miss (12pm, CBS College) - What's at stake: UCF could clinch its spot in the C-USA title game (if ECU loses Thursday night), possibly clinch home field too. C-USA West could also be clearer by the end of the evening after Tulsa at Houston.

Kansas St. at Missouri (12:30pm, FSN) - What's at stake: For Missouri, its a last gasp to stay in the Big 12 North race. Nebraska would have to lose out and either of these teams would need to win out to have a chance at the Big 12 North. A Mizzou win allows them to stay close to the Huskers, even if they need a couple Nebraska losses.

Wofford at Appalachian St. (3pm, SportSouth) - What's at stake: SoCon championship. A BCS-like matchup at the FCS level as #3 Appalachian St. hosts #4 Wofford. Wofford is a 1/2 game ahead and can clinch the SoCon outright with a win. Might even vault them towards the top of the FCS polls. A win, for either team, here likely means home field through most of the FCS playoffs.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN) - What's at stake: Virginia Tech can clinch a share of the ACC Coastal with a win, and if things fall right in the Georgia Tech-Miami game, VT can clinch outright. UNC needs a lot of help to get win the division and a win here is a must.

San Diego St at TCU (4pm, Versus) - What's at stake: TCU's BCS championship game hopes. TCU is going to be going for statement victories from here on out. Luckily for them, San Diego St. comes in bowl eligible at 7-2 and has played Air Force and BYU tough. A win here gives TCU a share of the MWC title, and they have New Mexico as their final game.

Baylor at Texas A&M (7pm, FSN) - What's at stake: Baylor slim hopes to remain in the Big 12 South race. A statement game for both teams of sorts. Baylor has been bowl eliglble and A&M got eligible last week with a win over Oklahoma. Seems there's a clear pecking order in the Big 12 South and these two teams might be fighting for 3rd place, but it means a lot when it could be a berth in the Texas Bowl vs. being shipped to New York City for the Pinstripe Bowl.

South Carolina at Florida (7:15pm, ESPN) - What's at stake: Winner takes all in the SEC East, gets a shot to tussle with a top ten team on December 4th. No bigger prize than that. Old Ball Coach would love to establish himself as the 1st coach to win a conference championship at South Carolina since Paul Dietzel led the Gamecocks to a 7-4 record (7-3 regular season, 6-0 ACC) as ACC champs in 1969. The team then lost the Peach Bowl to independent West Virginia.

Clemson at Florida St. (8pm, ABC) - What's at stake: Pecking order in the ACC Atlantic. Nothing is clear here and 5-3 could win the division. Maryland, NC State, Clemson and Florida St. all have their shots.

Tulsa at Houston (8pm, CBS College) - What's at stake: Maybe a clearer picture of who is on top in C-USA West. Maybe. Houston needs these next two weeks vs. Tulsa and Southern Miss. Otherwise SMU could get themselves into the picture. Very possible that the winner of C-USA West wil have a total W-L record of 7-5 entering the conference championship game.

Nevada at Fresno St. (10:30pm, ESPN) - What's at stake: For Nevada, the chance to unseat Boise St. in a few weeks. Can't look ahead of the Bulldogs as Pat Hill's teams tend to thrive on games where they should be counted out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Week Twelve 12 Day Guesses & Remaining Week 11 Games

Remaining Week 11 games:

Iowa at Northwestern 12pm ESPN
Indiana at Wisconsin 12pm ESPN2
Texas Tech at Oklahoma 3:30pm ABC
South Carolina at Florida 7:15pm ESPN
Mississippi St. at Alabama 7:15pm ESPN2
Oklahoma St. at Texas 8pm ABC
Nevada at Fresno St. 10:30pm ESPNU

Considerations for week 12:
  • Counting week 13, Big 12 has committed to 18 ABC windows, including the Big 12 title game. The Texas-Texas A&M game on ESPN also gets counted here. So ABC at most can have a single window on 11/20
  • Big 12 has an ESPN sublicense window
  • Big East has all teams playing conference games. They also need one more game to fulfill their game requirement on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. They have 16 game slots, counting weeks 13 & 14. They need to fill 17. They've hit their ABC minimum of three slots.
  • C-USA has a flex slot on CBS College Sports at 8pm
  • The Big Ten has spoiled our fun, setting their game times for this week.
12pm Wisconsin at Michigan ESPN (confirmed)
12pm Pittsburgh at USF ESPN2
12pm Oklahoma St. at Kansas FSN
12pm West Virginia at Louisville ESPNU
12pm Penn St. vs. Indiana Big Ten (confirmed)
12pm Purdue at Michigan St. Big Ten (confirmed)
12pm Tennessee at Vanderbilt SECNet
12pm UConn at Syracuse Big East
12pm NC State at UNC ACCNet
12:30pm Appalachian St. at Florida PPV (confirmed)
1pm Duke at Georgia Tech ESPN3.com
2pm Virginia at Boston College ESPN3.com
3pm Wofford at Chattanooga SportSouth
3pm Stephen F. Austin at McNeese St. Southland TV
3:30pm Ole Miss at LSU CBS
3:30pm Ohio St. at Iowa ABC (RM) (confirmed)
3:30pm Florida St. at Maryland ABC (RM)
3:30pm California at Stanford FSN (confirmed)
3:30pm Illinois vs. Northwestern ESPNU (confirmed)
3:30pm Rutgers at Cincinnati ESPN3.com
3:30pm Clemson at Wake Forest ESPN3.com
4:15pm FIU at UL-Lafayette Sun Belt
7pm Missouri at Iowa St. FSN
7pm Arkansas at Mississippi St. ESPNU
7pm Florida Atlantic at Texas FSN PPV (semiconfirmed)
7:30pm Troy at South Carolina CSS
8pm Nebraska at Texas A&M ABC
8pm Virginia Tech at Miami (FL) ABC
8pm Oklahoma at Baylor ESPN
8pm USC at Oregon St. ESPN2 (time confirmed)
8pm UTEP at Tulsa CBS College

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tentative 2011 CFB Schedule Spreadsheet

Wanted to get this in place since this season only has one month left and 2011 will have a boatload of changes.

Tentative 2011 College Football Schedule

Note that it may seem like some schools have slots open for an OOC game or two, but in many cases a school has a contract with another school which allows them to be open-ended with the game date so that television partners can fit it in with the conference schedule. This is where ESPN is so powerful as a game broker.

Couple examples
  • Maryland and West Virginia have a series that has no game dates attached to it, allowing ESPN to work it in.

  • Most WAC teams have five OOC games because the conference has made a two year agreement with BYU to provide the newly independent school a set of opponents in 2011 and 2012.
On the flip side, most MWC schools are in need of a 5th OOC game. Boise St. happened to fill their schedule with former (and future) conference mates Nevada and Fresno St.

The Big 12 schedules will mirror the Pac-12 schedules in that both conferences will utilize a nine game conference schedule.

I found many of the game dates on the official athletic department websites of these schools and also leaned on other web resources to cross check the information as much as I could. For the SEC schedules, some schools have published schedules, some have not and I used process of elimination when it came to the dates of some of the games.

Please let me know if something is not right. I'll do my best to correct this and I'll place a link to it on the right hand side of the blog as it gets updated in the offseason.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What to Watch, Week 11


Not much here. With some help on Saturday, Virginia Tech could earn a share of the ACC Coastal crown vs. Georgia Tech (Thursday 7:30pm, ESPN). And UCF at Houston (Friday 8pm, ESPN2) will be a matchup between the leaders of both divisions (co-leader in Houston's case) in Conference USA. This game could carry extra significance if these two teams happen to meet again in C-USA's championship game as the winner here would host the game.


For Maryland at Miami (FL) (12pm, ESPNU), both teams need a win to stay in touch of the division leader. Maryland is one game back in the win column from NC State, while Miami (FL) is two back and needs help from Georgia Tech to get back in the race. Miami QB Jacory Harris's status is unknown due to a concussion he suffered in the loss at Virginia.

Air Force at Army (12pm, CBS College) is the 2nd leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and it can be won here by Air Force as the Falcons already dispatched Navy earlier this year in Colorado Springs. Army is 5-3 with three chances remaining to get bowl eligible (Air Force, at Kent St., vs. Notre Dame in NYC). As I understand it, Army must be bowl eligible before the Navy game. Sounds like bowl committees were not thrilled with holding a conditional bowl invite for the Black Knights due to the decision to move the Army-Navy game a week past Championship Saturday.

Louisville at Syracuse (12pm, Big East/GamePlan) holds some significance as both teams were at the bottom of the Big East last year, and now both are trending upward. Syracuse can clinch bowl eligibility for the 1st time since 2004, Paul Pasqualoni's final year. The Orange have been lucky and good at times this year and the right mix of both has helped them in their wins, particularly when turning over the opposition. The offense does just enough and capitalizes on opportunities. I see a lot of the UConn squads from prior seasons in this SU team, with far less talent getting the job done.

Baylor at Oklahoma St. (12:30pm, FSN) is for the lead in the Big 12 South. And no, Oklahoma St. isn't the leader. Baylor is assured of a Big 12 bowl tie in for the 1st time since the conference was formed (last bowl bid for the Bears was as a SWC member). Defenses need not apply here, and I don't expect this to be some 10-7 snoozefest. Justin Blackmon will return to the Cowboy lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a DUI. Robert Griffin's season has been excellent (20 TDs through the air, another seven on the ground) and he looks like exactly what Baylor needed to get over the hump. If Baylor can pull out this one with Griffin playing well, does he start to get some Heisman pub?

Alabama at LSU (3:30pm, CBS) is actually the undercard game of the mid-afternoon. Hard to say that when both teams reside in the top 10 of the BCS standings but its true. The Tide are the darling of the one loss teams and most media pundits believe they'll slide their way into the SEC Championship and national championship game by winning out. And you'll get no argument from me. LSU, in my opinion, did step it up vs. Auburn and play better than I expected. Or maybe Auburn played down to LSU's level. But LSU should be a great test for the Tide due to their stout defense (7th in the nation). LSU needs to just keep themselves in the game to have a shot. No turnovers, no dumb timeouts or headscratchers with clock management. And this game is the undercard because....

...TCU at Utah is your game of the day (3:30pm, CBS College). Already heard one national writer (Matt Hayes, Sporting News) completely not understand the MWC's TV deal on Dan Patrick's radio show, so according to him, you'll need a tinfoil hat to tune in the game. Seriously, CBS College is on free preview this week, check your local listings and cable/satellite co. to find the channel. Now that the plug is out of the way, Utah comes into this game very underrated and this one, statistically, is an even bigger defensive battle (TCU #1, Utah #6). Last year, it wasn't pretty and the Frogs jumped on the Utes early and often. Jordan Wynn will need to find a way to be efficient through the air as neither team is giving an inch, and the Frogs are one of three teams to have the opponent's completion percentage under 50% on the season.

Another game to watch at 3:30pm is Hawai'i at Boise St (3:30pm, ESPNU/ESPN 3D). Boise gets nothing for style points and we know that. Hawai'i, Fresno St. and Nevada are three of the next four games, so as long as those schools keep winning, the Broncos might have a shot to gain a small amount of strength-of-schedule. Note that I said small, because this isn't like playing LSU, Mississippi St. and Auburn in three of the final four games. Hawai'i had a great game plan for defeating Nevada earlier this year: a plain ride to Hawai'i. Sadly, for the Warriors, they'll be the one flying the friendly skies to the mainland.

And since its November, games in the FCS take importance. You know, the part of Division I that actually settles a championship with a playoff. Novel concept. A single matchup this week at the bottom of the top 25 between CAA members Richmond & James Madison (3:30pm, Comcast Sports). I then looked at the records and realized that both teams are 4-4. A 4-4 team wouldn't even sniff the rankings in the FBS, but the CAA is the FCS version of the SEC. Maybe the FCS folks have crappy pollsters too...

Last one to stay glued to is Arizona visiting Stanford (8pm, ABC/GamePlan). Arizona can make a serious jump in the BCS over the next few weeks provided that they keep winning as Stanford, USC and Oregon are all on the schedule. Can't look ahead though and the Cardinal have Andrew Luck and he gives the Cardinal an edge at the QB position regardless of who starts for Arizona, though Nick Foles is closer to returning as the starter. Either way, to slow down Stanford is to slow down the running game. Arizona needs to be above average in this phase of the game to have a shot.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week Eleven 12 Day Guesses and Week Ten 6 Day Updates

Kickoff times for the remaining 11/6 games

Virginia at Duke 12pm ESPN3.com
NC State at Clemson 12pm ACC Network
Maryland at Miami (FL)
12pm ESPNU
North Carolina at Florida St. 3:30pm ABC
Iowa at Indiana 12pm Big Ten Network
Illinois at Michigan
12pm ESPN
Minnesota at Michigan St. 12pm Big Ten Network
Northwestern at Penn St.
3:30pm ABC/ESPN2
Wisconsin at Purdue
12pm Big Ten Network
Washington at Oregon 3:30pm ABC
Arizona at Stanford 8pm ABC

Pretty straightforward on this week's picks. Had to put Kansas at Nebraska on PPV, more for the ineptness of the Jayhawks when comparing to the other games available this week. Tough to keep Baylor off TV after they've beaten Texas and that's where they won out. Suppose that Kansas St. at Missouri could be where Kansas-Nebraska would switch out.

ACC was tough and I figured that Wake Forest at NC State could be a split Raycom game with Miami at Georgia Tech. I did consider Syracuse at Rutgers for ABC, but its tough to put a game like that on at the same time as Penn St. at Ohio St.

This week is a SEC on CBS doubleheader. Also believe that this week is a split week for the SEC Network 12pm syndication.

12pm South Carolina at Florida CBS
12pm Iowa at Northwestern ESPN
12pm Indiana at Wisconsin ESPN2
12pm Syracuse at Rutgers ESPNU
12pm Michigan at Purdue Big Ten
12pm Minnesota at Illinois Big Ten
12pm Miami at Georgia Tech ACCNet split
12pm Wake Forest at NC State split
12pm Vanderbilt at Kentucky SECNet split
12pm UTEP at Arkansas SECNet split
12pm Cincinnati at West Virginia Big East
12:30pm Kansas St. at Missouri FSN
12:30pm Kansas at Nebraska FSN PPV
1pm Boston College at Duke ESPN3.com
3:30pm Georgia at Auburn CBS
3:30pm Penn St. at Ohio St. ABC/ESPN
3:30pm OK State at Texas ABC
3:30pm Virginia Tech at North Carolina ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Maryland at Virginia ESPNU
3:30pm Western Kentucky at Arkansas St. Sun Belt
3:30pm USF at Louisville ESPN3.com
4pm Washington St. at Oregon St. FSN NW (confirmed)
4pm Stanford at Arizona St. FSAZ/CSNBA
7pm Texas A&M at Baylor FSN
7pm Ole Miss at Tennessee ESPNU
7pm UL-Monroe at LSU TigerVision PPV (confirmed)
7:30pm Oregon at California Versus (confirmed)
7:30pm Clemson at Florida St. ESPN2
7:45pm Mississippi St. at Alabama ESPN
8pm Texas Tech at Oklahoma ABC
8pm USC at Arizona ABC (time confirmed)
8pm Utah St. at San Jose St. WAC Network
10:30pm Nevada at Fresno St. ESPNU

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random thoughts about TV, conference membership

Random TV related items since we're halfway through the season.

  • With the ACC's rights switching to ESPN exclusively next year, I'll be interested to see if ESPN sublicenses any ACC games to other national entities. The press release notes that they have the ability to do so. We know that Raycom will be able to syndicate their content to both over-the-air and cable entities as part of separate packages. ESPN3 was the missing component and now that it is available in many more ACC areas, will the number of ESPN3 exclusives decrease, particularly the number of conference games that the online network picks up?
  • Conference USA still does not have their ESPN deal in place. The silence is defeaning on that front, but if there is more realignment to be done, maybe that is the holdup. Is the Fresno St./Nevada/WAC buyout discussion part of the issue? I can't see C-USA taking all their content to CBSC, unless there is a deal with a larger cable entity. I also assume that ESPN is outside of their exclusive negotiating window with C-USA, if there is one, and that others can solicit offers for the conference's rights.
  • The Sun Belt is nearly halfway through their current contract with ESPN. Unlike other conferences with ESPN, the Sun Belt went for the short term on their agreement, signing just a three year deal. Could be some great foresight by Wright Waters if they can get a better deal as other conferences around them are shifting membership.
  • I'm not sure that the Big Ten will allow night games in November. Adding lights at Michigan Stadium and bringing in Nebraska might necessitate that they play more night games in September and October. Maybe that the Big Ten Network and ABC/ESPN coexist in those slots as the nighttime slot seems to be an exclusive slot today.
  • I counted fifteen games that would air on FSN/CSN regional networks for Pac-10 teams, both conference and OOC games vs. FBS teams. That doesn't include seven more games where Pac-10 teams hosted FBS teams. They have enough content to do a Pac-10 network, especially when you look at how many Pac-10 men's basketball games end up on regionally televised. Add in Utah and Colorado, plus the compression of the schedule due to the last week of the season claiming a conference championship in football, and there should be at least 1-2 football games each week that a Pac-12 network would air. As it stands today, FSN Rocky Mountain should be thrilled to continue their relationship with Colorado moving to the Pac-12. Wonder if Utah can get one done with the RSN.
  • We got a glimpse of the willingness of the Pac-10 to become more proactive in moving games, time slots, exclusivity, etc. late last year. They've done a better job with it this year. Kudos to the presidents and Larry Scott for making those changes.
  • I don't believe the mtn. is going anywhere. Could Comcast sell of their share to someone else, maybe back to CBS College? Yep. Might be necessary if/when Comcast gets approval to purchase NBC Universal. Even with BYU and Utah leaving, there will be a net gain in homes served by the mtn. once Fresno St., Nevada and Boise St. come on board. When that happens for the first two schools is anyone's guess.
  • Speaking of the WAC, extracting the appropriate pound of flesh out of Fresno St. and Nevada is important for the remaining WAC schools. No doubt in my mind that ESPN will look to cut back on the WAC contract with the network, both in appearances for the conference and in rights fees. One rumor that was floated was that Fresno St. and Nevada would go to the MWC for all sports except football. Reason being is that the WAC would be able to maintain eight football playing members and six members in all others sports, the two minimum numbers required to maintain status as an AQ conference in football and keep the auto-bid to NCAA championships in other sports, including men's basketball. To me, that seems like a really awkward solution.
  • The WAC did solicit proposals from four schools recently (Texas St., UTSA, Seattle, Denver) in Dallas. Montana, who has been targeted, did not present anything, though that may not be correct. Taking Montana St. might be a requirement for Montana to move up to FBS. Then someone else mentioned that an existing FBS school has been talking to the WAC. No one is quite sure who that school is. My money is on North Texas, extreme dark horse would be UTEP.

What to Watch, Week Nine

Missed out on deciding whether Louisiana Tech-Boise St. was a must see game. I didn't watch it, maybe you did. As I understand it, BSU was sloppy, but they got the job done.

All times eastern


Florida St. at NC State is worth watching (7:30pm, ESPN). An NC State win brings the Seminoles back to the pack in the ACC Atlantic. The Pack have been at home since September 16th after losing at East Carolina by six. The 'Noles goal is to run the ball, but more importantly is to not turn the ball over as on the season they are a -4 in that department (Wolfpack: +4). The three-headed monster at RB for FSU (Chris Thompson, Jermaine Thomas, Ty Jones) will need to move the chains to keep NC State's potent offense off the field, particularly the passing game led by Russell Wilson, who should eclipse his numbers from last season, but Wilson is close to his interception total from 2009 (11 that year, nine this season).


Oklahoma St. at Kansas St. (12pm, FSN) leads off the early slate of games. Justin Blackmon, who had another standout day despite his lowest catch total in a game this season (5 for 157), was charged in Texas on Tuesday with speeding and DUI. His status for the game is unclear (details here
). His ability to play will be huge for the Cowboy offense and could signal an increased workload for Kendall Hunter and that suits the Cowboys just fine as Kansas St. is the 3rd worst rushing defense in the FBS (230 yards per game allowed).

Syracuse at Cincinnati (12pm, ESPNU) is another game to keep an eye on. Optimism is high for Orange fans (myself included) after the win at West Virginia. Every game remaining on SU's schedule is winnable and three of the remaining five games are at home. Bearcats QB Zach Collaros may miss this game due to a leg injury and Chazz Anderson, who subbed in at the end of the game vs. USF last week, may be the starter. Its a role he has filled before as he went 2-1 as the starter in 2008. The Orange ran for 183 yards utilizing both Antwon Bailey and Delone Carter, and Carter has proclaimed himself ready to play after sitting out the 2nd half of the West Virginia game with a bruised hip. Both teams can be stingy on defense, but Cincy's pass defense can be soft at times (108th in the nation) with opponents completing 68% of their pass attempts (3rd worst in the nation). Ryan Nassib might be able to improve compared to his numbers against the Mountaineers as he threw for just 63 yards and 1 TD on an anemic 5-for-15.

Another Big East game to keep an eye on at noon is Louisville at Pittsburgh (12pm, Big East/ESPN Gameplan). The Cards have been very competitive in all their games and are coming off a shutout of Connecticut, the pick of many pundits to win the Big East. Pittsburgh has shown signs of life since entering Big East play and Tino Sunseri has looked like he "gets it" with seven passing TDs against one interception in the two Big East wins. Dion Lewis also had his 1st 100 yard outing of the season against Rutgers. Pitt's run defense has been stout this year allowing just 92 yards per game but will be tested by Bilal Powell, fourth in the NCAA in rushing yards per game at 143 yards per contest.

Three big ones highlight the mid-afternoon games. Starting in Iowa City as the Spartans aim for 9-0 vs. the Hawkeyes (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN). Michigan St. was tested as many expected vs. Northwestern and were able to gut it out in the end. Iowa is coming off a one point loss to Wisconsin and that takes them out of the Big Ten race for now. Iowa has an excellent run defense and running the ball is what Michigan St. like to do, but the Spartans can put the ball in the air as needed. The key to this one may be special teams, particularly the kicking game. Iowa has only attempted five field goals all year, making four, with their longest attempt (and make) at 40 yards. Dan Conroy is 13-for-14 and coach Mark Dantonio has had confidence in Conroy from 40 yards and beyond, making all four of those kicks including a 50 yard attempt. Note that Michigan St. also hasn't attempted a 40+ yard attempt since September and that type of rust for a kicker doesn't help either.

Missouri at Nebraska is the other game to keep an eye one (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN). The Tigers surprised me, and most of the nation, with the defense they brought to Oklahoma in their win. Meanwhile, Nebraska showed off a passing game from Taylor Martinez (5 passing TDs, 312 passing yards) that no one would expect from the Huskers. Heck, Martinez had 35 passing attempts and the most attempts he had in his previous starts? 17, less than half of the number he had vs. Oklahoma St. Martinez still got his numbers on the ground (112 yards) and the Huskers won't switch to an Air Raid offense anytime soon. Blaine Gabbert got the job done vs. Oklahoma but the Blackshirts will be another test as they were able to slow down Oklahoma St.'s high powered passing attack, even though they gave up 283 yards.

East Carolina and UCF are the third game (3:30pm, Bright House/MASN/WITN), and some of you are probably asking why this game is as big as it is. As of today, both of these teams are undefeated in C-USA play (ECU 4-0, UCF 3-0) and the winner gets sole possession of 1st place in C-USA East. Both schools still have to contend with Southern Miss, who is 2-1 on the East side, so this game will give one school a leg up. ECU is the two-time defending conference champion and starting QB Dominique Davis has the pedigree of leading a team through the crucial part of the schedule, winning the final two regular season games for Boston College in 2008 to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. He also started the ACC title game and their bowl game.

Keep an eye on the Duke-Navy game too (3:30pm, CBS College). Navy is coming off an impressive and a win here will make them bowl eligible. And because the Mids have a single bowl tie-in, they will claim their spot in the Poinsettia Bowl if victorious. CBS College will have games involving all three service academies, including one we'll touch on later.

Baylor at Texas is interesting for a few reasons (7pm, FSN). First one is that Baylor is bowl eligible and ranked. If the Bears do make it to a bowl, this will be the 1st time they will represent the Big 12 in any bowl game. Texas is a head scratcher. Lose to UCLA, play decent and lose to Oklahoma, win at #5 Nebraska in a game they played so well defensively, then lay an egg at home vs. Iowa St. And the losses, those were all in Austin. A three game losing streak in Austin. Tough to comprehend. It seems at times that if the game is put in Garrett Gilbert's hands and he has to throw the ball, it plays into the hands of the opposition. Baylor hasn't exactly stopped anyone defensively this year, they've just been able to outscore the opposition thanks to QB Robert Griffin III.

The rest of the nighttime slate is appealing too, so stock up. The Pac-10 provides Stanford at Washington (7pm, Versus) and the marquee matchup of Oregon-USC. I think that Stanford should have little trouble with the Huskies and nothing this season has made me think otherwise, but the Huskies have a chance as long as Jake Locker can get behind center. Oregon-USC strikes me as a mismatch in favor of the Ducks, heck most Oregon vs. anyone matchups will do that the rest of this year. USC is 5-2 but doesn't have the defense that the Pete Carroll-coached Trojan teams prided themselves on. USC might be able to put some points on the board, but they'll need to keep up with the Ducks.

The Big Ten gives us Michigan at Penn St. (8pm, ESPN) and we get to see Denard Robinson on the big stage again. The Alabama game showed the nation that Penn St. is retooling this year and the Nits have struggled with teams they've typically beat, like Temple and Illinois. Those teams tested PSU on the ground and that's where Michigan will focus their attack.

Last game to look in on is Utah at Air Force (8pm, CBS College). This is the 2nd game in a three team round robin that will determine who should finish out the season as the MWC and have a chance to take an at-large BCS bid, at least in the case of TCU and Utah. The Falcons were held far below their average of 300+ yards on the ground, gaining only 184 vs. TCU, and they once again showed a sieve-like defense against the rush with 377 yards allowed. Utah has tremendous balance to its offense and boasts the 3rd best scoring defense. This game begins a strong five game stretch for the Utes to finish the year: vs. TCU next week, at Notre Dame on 11/13, at 5-2 San Diego St. on 11/20, then host BYU in the final MWC game for both teams on 11/27.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week Ten 12 Day Selection Guesses

ESPN2 has a NASCAR conflict and will not air a 12pm game, but will be the home to the reverse mirror game at 3:30pm. The Big Ten Network should have multiple games at 12pm because of the missing ESPN2 window. Iowa, Michigan and Penn St. have not yet appeared on the Big Ten Network. I think Michigan and Penn St. will be picked here. Iowa still has a game vs. Minnesota the last week of the season and that should fulfill their requirement.

The Big 12 is slated to have a sublicense window on ESPN/ESPN2 at 7pm.

Remember that the Pac-10 can be part of the ABC reverse mirror. I'm thinking it gets Oregon some more exposure, particularly in Big Ten areas.

The lack of an available Big East game means the WAC can fill the ESPNU 3:30pm slot with Hawai'i-Boise St. Louisville-Syracuse, while currently two teams w/winning records, must fill the Big East Network slot as the other Big East game is on a weeknight.

Might be a slight chance Alabama-LSU is passed up by CBS. CBS has an SEC doubleheader on 11/13 and Alabama-Mississippi St. will be under consideration. The Tide already has four appearances slated for CBS and the maximum is five appearances per team for the regular season games, though each time has a one-time six game exception. Florida's exception was used last year and it would be somewhat surprising to see CBS use their exception on Alabama right away.

12pm Iowa at Indiana ESPN
12pm North Carolina at Florida St. ESPNU
12pm Illinois at Michigan Big Ten
12pm Minnesota at Michigan St. Big Ten
12pm Northwestern at Penn St. Big Ten
12pm NC State at Clemson ACCNet
12pm Florida at Vanderbilt SECNet
12pm Louisville at Syracuse Big East (confirmed)
12:30pm Iowa St. at Nebraska FSN
12:30pm Colorado at Kansas Fox College
1pm Virginia at Duke ESPN3.com
3:30pm Alabama at LSU CBS
3:30pm Wisconsin at Purdue ABC/ESPN2
3:30pm Washington at Oregon ABC/ESPN2
3:30pm Baylor at OK State ABC
3:30pm Hawai'i at Boise St. ESPNU
3:30pm Boston College at Wake Forest ESPN3.com
7pm Oklahoma at Texas A&M ESPN
7pm Arkansas at South Carolina ESPN2
7pm UL-Lafayette at Ole Miss ESPNU
7pm Texas at Kansas St. FSN
7pm Oregon St. at UCLA Versus
8pm Missouri at Texas Tech ABC
8pm Maryland at Miami (FL) ABC
10:15pm Washington at Stanford ESPN
10:30 Arizona St. at USC (confirmed)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Nebraska-Oklahoma St. isn't in Reverse Mirror

It has been asked a few times this week why the Nebraska-Oklahoma St. game on ABC at 3:30pm is not part of the "reverse mirror" window with the Wisconsin-Iowa game. ABC elected to go with the Georgia Tech-Clemson game, where neither team is ranked.

According to the Big 12, the ability to reverse mirror the conference's games is outside of the existing television contract and is a separate deal between ABC and FSN, the Big 12's cable TV partner for football. I have been told, informally, that there is a limit to the number of Big 12 games that ABC can reverse mirror in this agreement. The magic number of that limit was not revealed.

In the 1st two years of the reverse mirror, Big 12 and Pac-10 games were not involved in the process. This was largely due to FSN being the cable partner. The ACC and, periodically, the Big East were the two conferences that could be reverse mirrored because ABC/ESPN had both the over-the-air and pay-TV rights to those conferences. That ended last year for the Big 12 and this year for the Pac-10.

The conference will have seven games in the reverse mirror slot when Missouri-Nebraska airs on October 30. My guess is that ABC is close to the number of games that they are allowed to reverse mirror from the conference and they decided that this one would have to be passed by.

For those in border markets in Iowa & Nebraska, it has been mentioned to me that both games will be available via over-the-air means in a few markets. One game will air on the ABC affiliate and the other game will air on a secondary channel (ie. a digital subchannel or another station). Please consult your local listings or your ABC affiliate for details.

What to watch, Week Eight

All times Eastern


There isn't much here, though I think its important to peek in on UCLA-Oregon tonight (9pm, ESPN. Oregon is the top ranked offense in the country and, even more amazing, they rank 3rd in rushing and the two teams ahead of them are pure option teams (Air Force and Georgia Tech). Take a look at these guys during the middle innings of tonight's NLCS game.


Start off Saturday with Notre Dame vs. Navy (12pm, CBS). The game is being played at Giants Stadium. Did you know that while Navy has "hosted" Notre Dame since the early days of college football, the Irish have never played in Annapolis. Even stranger is that while Navy had a long losing streak against the Irish, the last four wins that Navy has earned in the series have all been in South Bend (last ND loss in Navy's "home" game: 1960 in Philadelphia). After that nostalgia, the interesting thing to watch is if Navy struggles with the tempo that the Irish run their offense. Brian Kelly loves to keep things moving. Navy has some of the most fit players around, but their size could be an issue, particularly if they get their ground game rolling.

Michigan St. at Northwestern (12pm, ESPN) is the other prime matchup in the early afternoon and this game could have a few points scored in it. Both Kirk Cousins and Dan Persa rank in the top 10 in passing efficiency, but the key will be Michigan St.'s ground game. Michigan St. may be the most complete team in the Big Ten. Shame that its been overlooked based on Ohio St. gaudy early season ranking.

Another item to take note of is Rutgers visiting Pittsburgh (12pm, Big East Network). Its a very average game in the Big East, but it will be interesting to see how well Rutgers can keep their focus on the field after the spinal injury to DT Eric LeGrande. Conflicting reports exist as to whether LeGrande has had any movements in his lower extremites. From some reports from doctors, the 1st three days after a spinal injury are most important. Here's hoping the young man continues to make progress and one day walk again.

LSU at Auburn looks real good based on record with two undefeated teams. I don't see it that way (3:30pm, CBS). LSU has been able to get by on great defense (3rd in overall defense) and anemic offense (92nd in offense). Cam Newton could enhance his Heisman status with a win here.

Wisconsin at Iowa (3:30pm, ABC/ESPN) should be a lower scoring, defensive battle. Ricky Stanzi and Bryan Tolzien both get the job done through the air in an efficent manner, and both defenses are top shelf (Wisconsin 23rd, Iowa 13th). The key for the Badgers will be their use of John Clay and if they can control the clock.

Nebraska at Oklahoma St. (3:30pm, ABC) has an "irresistable force vs. immovable object" battle to it with Oklahoma St.'s 2nd ranked offense 9th ranked defense. The battle is even more granular when just taking into account the passing game. The Cowboys rank 3rd in passing offense where the Blackshirts are the top passing defense. The most striking stat to me is that WR Justin Blackmon for OK State averages slightly over 159 receiving yards per game. Nebraska allows 117 passing yards total per game.

North Carolina at Miami (FL) (7:30pm, ESPN) features a pair of ball hawking secondary. The problems with that are two-fold for the Hurricanes. One is that Jacory Harris is more than willing to throw INTs this year (nine), though last week was his 1st INT-free week since the opener vs. Florida A&M. The other bad thing is that UNC Tyler Yates has only thrown one pick this season and seems to have, so far, progressed in the area of reading defenses and managing the offense. UNC themselves are on a four game winning streak and their two losses were by six points each, so its safe to say that they've been able to keep their off-field problems off the gridiron.

Another game that might look better on paper is Oklahoma at Missouri (8pm, ABC) with both teams coming in undefeated. My believe though is that the Tigers have yet to have been tested defensively and that Oklahoma's extremely quick no-huddle attack could expose Mizzou's flaws, particularly with pass defense where Mizzou has been average (58th) and Oklahoma is...not (12th). Could be another big day for Landry Jones.

Last game of the day is the Air Force at TCU game (8pm, CBS College Sports). Air Force's top ranked rushing offense meets up with the 2nd best rushing defense in the Horned Frogs. The real key is Air Force's rushing defense (91st), which is a poor matchup for the Falcons as TCU ranks 10th. Ronnie Hillman for San Diego St. had two long TD runs of 65 and 44 yards (191 total on the ground) and may be a recurring problem for the Falcons. Air Force must maintain tempo or this could get out of hand.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nationally televised college basketball for 2010-11

Besides the large ESPN Networks schedule of games that was announced last night, three other entities will each have at least 40+ college basketball games from multiple conferences to show this season.

CBS will air 43 games this season, including the tournament championships from the A-10, Big Ten, C-USA, MVC and Pac-10. CBS's coverage starts with the Kentucky at North Carolina matchup on December 4th. The bulk of the schedule involves games from the Big East and Big Ten, with a smattering of games from the ACC, Horizon, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SEC.

CBS's cable entity, CBS College Sports, will air 73 79 games this season. The network's concentration of games lies with the A-10, C-USA, the Mountain West and the Patriot League. All four of these entities will have their conference tournaments covered to varying degrees on the network. The network will also air the semifinal and final rounds of two preseason tournaments, the Cancun Challenge and the Las Vegas Classic.

FSN will air 75 games with the vast majority coming from the ACC and the Pac-10. The network will air 21 ACC games this year in its final year of sublicensing content from Raycom and most of those games will air as part of its ACC Sunday Night Hoops package. Two-thirds of the games are from the Pac-10 as it will air 2-3 games from the conference each week and will air the conference tournament, up to the championship game as that airs on CBS. FSN will also air the championship round from the Paradise Jam.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Last month of 12 day picks for CFB

One month left. Keep an eye on the following.


  • No real appearance or guaranteed game guidelines
  • Goal is to get every team on Raycom. Only Miami (FL) has yet to appear on Raycom this year.
  • One six day option left

Big Ten

  • Penn St., Iowa and Michigan have not yet appeared in a conference game on Big Ten Network
  • Conference should have 16 ABC appearances, assuming a doubleheader on 11/27.
  • 15 gamess so far on ESPN/ESPN2. To my knowledge ESPNU games not part of count. Maximum of 25 games. Expect conference to have several ESPN/ESPN2 slots at 12pm at end of season.
  • Appears all three six day options are available for conference

Big East

  • 16 games so far on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. One more appearance to be scheduled (11/20 ??) to hit minimum
  • ABC minimum appears to have been met at three games.
  • Four ESPNU games so far, one more to hit minimum. Should exceed this number.
  • Appearances sole six day option was exhausted

Big 12

  • May fall short of 19 games on ABC. Five time slots to go. Expect ABC doubleheaders two of three weeks (11/6, 11/13, 11/20)
  • Texas has appeared five times as part of the ABC portion of the contract. This includes the A&M game, which for some reason is considered part of the ABC deal and not a sublicensed window from FSN. Oklahoma & Nebraska also have four appearances based on past and future telecast windows. A Big 12 team can appear no more than six times in the ABC schedule.
  • FSN slots assured at 24. Other special presentations put number closer to 28 games
  • Unclear as to number of six day options left. 9/25 (UCLA-Tex) and 10/23 ABC games were chosen for the network, but times were not decided until six days in advance. Could be as little as one, as many as three.


  • One flex slot available on 11/20. Houston at Southern Miss seems likely if USM near top of C-USA East and Houston close to C-USA West


  • ABC slots will be no greater than nine games
  • FSN will show at least one more game than originally sloted by adding 10/23 ASU-Cal game. Could add others if that work w/ESPN.
  • Slots by network: FSN 12, ESPN/ESPN2 12 (including TCU/Oregon St. in Dallas), ABC 9, Versus 7
  • ESPN's count could increase at the expense of ABC's.
  • Pac-10, I believe, does have an appearance limit for teams on ABC. Not sure if it trickles to ESPN, my guess is that it does. I believe limit is five or six (could be six, see next list)
  • Top appearances, past and future, per team on ABC/ESPN: USC (5 ABC/1 ESPN), Arizona (1 ABC/4 ESPN), Washington (1 ABC/4 ESPN), Oregon (2 ABC/2 ESPN), Stanford (2 ABC/2 ESPN)
  • If six is magic number, USC-UCLA will be a Versus/FSN game. Only three flexible ABC/ESPN windows remain (11/6 ABC 3:30pm & ESPN 10:15pm, 12/4 ABC 3:30pm).
  • All six-day options remain available. Unsure as to the number.


  • Rumor that SEC games could air in 12pm slots on ESPN/ESPN2, though it doesn't seem likely when trying to reach Big Ten appearance goal
  • FSN regional slate done as of 10/30
  • CSS with two more slots on 11/20 and 11/27
  • 11/13 seems likely for a split SEC Network window at 12pm
  • CBS has five windows remaining
  • No more than five appearances per team, with the exception of six for a team (plus one if they make SEC title game) for life of SEC-CBS contract. Florida's exception was used in 2009.
  • Top appearances: Alabama & Florida with 4 scheduled, Auburn 3.
  • Two six day options have been used. Does not appear any more can be used by CBS.


  • 11/6 and 11/27 are likely for remaining ESPNU WAC slots at 10:30pm

Sunday, October 17, 2010

10/23 Update and 12 Day Guesses for 10/30

Six day selections for the Big 12 have been finalized. Both games on ABC

Nebraska at Oklahoma St. 3:30pm
Oklahoma at Missouri 8pm

Big 12 could face six day selection option. This one might extend to the FSN windows as well. ESPN/ESPN2 is slated to have a Big 12 sublicense window this Saturday.

12pm Northwestern at Indiana ESPN/ESPN2

12pm Miami (FL) at Virginia ESPN/ESPN2
12pm Purdue at Illinois BTN
12pm Vanderbilt at Arkansas SECNet
12pm Wake Forest at Maryland ACCNet
12pm Louisville at Pittsburgh Big East
12pm Clemson at Boston College ESPNU
12pm Colorado at Oklahoma FSN
12:30pm Iowa St. at Kansas Fox College
3:30pm Florida vs. Georgia CBS (confirmed)
3:30pm Michigan St. at Iowa ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Missouri at Nebraska ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Arizona at UCLA FSN
3:30pm Syracuse at Cincinnati ESPNU
3:30pm William & Mary at North Carolina ESPN3.com
6pm Auburn at Ole Miss ESPN2
7pm Baylor at Texas FSN
7pm Stanford at Washington Versus
7pm Tennessee at South Carolina ESPNU
7pm Kentucky at Mississippi St. SEC/FSN Regional
8pm Ohio St. at Minnesota ABC (time confirmed)
8pm Oregon at USC ABC (confirmed)
8pm Michigan at Penn St. ESPN (time confirmed)
9:15pm Oklahoma St. at Kansas St. ESPN2
10:15pm Cal at Oregon St. FSNNW/CSNBA
10:15pm Washington St. at Arizona St. FSAZ
10:30pm Utah St. at Nevada ESPNU

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brain Dump on Upcoming TV Rights & Realignment

Consider this an interactive column/post. I just jotted down what I've been able to pick up from various articles/sources regarding upcoming TV changes due to realignment. If you know of something else and can point me to a valid source or call BS on something I've written, leave a comment. I'll do my best to back up what I've written, but if I can't I'll let you know. There is some opinion/conjecture sprinkled in here, so don't be afraid to leave an opinion. Here we go:

Big Ten
  • Nebraska is the addition
  • Championship game, currently bid separate from rest of regular season
  • Divisions and future schedules in football have been announced
  • Likely an additional game slot each week, from 5 to 6
  • Current contract allows for exclusivity for ABC in their slot. Has been waived when needed (OSU-Michigan saturday when ABC does a 2nd game at 3:30pm)
  • Nebraska has hosted three November night games since '02. Two in '09
  • Conference has not done Thursday night games. Unsure if schools will be open to that.
  • Conference schedule remains at 8 games per team, 48 conference matchups
  • Assumption is that there will be alteration to scheduling for MBK and that the conference tournament will now have four 1st round games.

Big 12

  • Loss of Colorado and Nebraska
  • ABC and FSN have guaranteed to not decrease existing rights fees and appear to agree to allow existing contracts to expire before altering TV rights
  • Conference made deal w/TV partner to go to nine conference games to retain value. Basketball will go to round-robin, home-home schedule. Schedule rotations for 2011 and future seasons have been released.
  • FSN may have promised that Big 12 could have future rights fees that rival Big Ten and SEC
  • Schools will be able to pursue networks for rights not taken by ABC & FSN and conference may consider the same
  • Big 12 may be able to reopen all rights agreements if it does a conference network
  • Texas may be close to aligning with Fox Sports on a network per Sports Business Journal
  • For men's basketball, new formation has been praised. Conference will likely change tournament format to a pair of first round matchups.


  • Utah and Colorado additions
  • Championship game, unknown if bid separate from rest of regular season
  • Conference more creative in scheduling, conference games happen at any point in season
  • Schedule becomes more compressed, typically Pac-10 schedules regular season games through championship Saturday
  • TV windows are currently exclusive, but ABC/ESPN seems to have much more leeway compared to prior years with more windows on ESPN and coexist with FSN in some windows
  • Contracts do not appear to be renegotiated based on membership changes as contracts will expire at current date of 2012
  • Pac-12 intends to continue with nine conference games per release of Utah's 2011 OOC schedule
  • For men's basketball, full round-robin will be abandoned. All teams are expected to play each other, but some matchups will occur only once a year.
  • Divisions are close to being finalized along with scheduling rotations. Some discussion regarding goal of everyone playing in California (in some cases, Los Angeles) as much as possible.


  • Boise addition in 2011, BYU & Utah leaving
  • Unknown status of Nevada and Fresno St. membership leaves 2011 currently at eight members
  • W/eight members, 28 conference games. Loss of eight conference games
  • CBSC is primary rights holder
  • Comcast owns stake in mtn. and receives sublicensed games from CBSC. May consider selling stake in mtn. due to loss of Utah/SLC market per Sports Business Journal
  • When Boise was added, comissioner intended to request for increase in rights. With loss of BYU and Utah, may have to accept no increase, possible decrease
  • Most MWC teams are in holding pattern w/2011 schedules. Will they need to do 5 OOC games for a season?


  • Loss of Boise St. in 2011, Nevada & Fresno in 2012
  • Commissioner has admitted there could be a decrease in rights fee and appearances within ESPN contract
  • Boise St., Fresno St. and Nevada have appeared in vast majority of WAC games contracted to ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 since 2004. Very few WAC games on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 did not include those three teams.
  • Take out Hawai'i, who may/may not be considering independence and number drops
  • Scheduling agreement in place with BYU to provide team opponents for two seasons
  • Utah St. not part of WAC/BYU agreement due to existing series.
  • Future of conference hangs on whether Nevada and Fresno can be released for 2011
  • If 2011, WAC may lose standing as a BCS non-AQ conference
  • If 2012, WAC may be safe as they are looking to add members
  • WAC schools also on hold regarding 2011 schedule and need for additional opponents
  • Schools being considered: Texas St., UTSA, Seattle & Denver. Last two as non-FB schools
  • WAC tournament for 2011 is a stepladder format w/ninth place team left at home. Would not change in eight team league. Unsure if membership goes to eight or ten members.


  • BYU to be independent in football in 2011, join WCC in all other sports
  • BYU regular NCAA participant over last decade, most appearances w/out championship
  • BYU has agreement w/ESPN for minimum of three football games on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2. Others on ESPNU. At least one game on BYUtv.
  • BYUtv will gain re-air rights to all ESPN games and road games involving BYU on ESPN Networks
  • WCC deal adds strength of BYU. May help raise profile of conference beyond Gonzaga & St. Mary's.
  • WCC will likely have to change format of conference tournament from a stepladder to another format, or the ninth place team may be left out

Conference USA

  • CBSC contract is complete. As of today, ESPN contract is not.
  • No known holdups, though with the changes in the MWC and WAC, C-USA may be looking to solidify number of windows on ESPN or waiting for add'l realignment
  • Unknown if C-USA is actively courting other networks or looking to solidify all rights with CBSC