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
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
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
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
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
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
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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What to Watch, Week Seven


Nothing stellar here, particularly with the start of the LCS series in baseball. Pair of rivalry games dot Thursday night with the Sunflower Showdown between Kansas St. at Kansas on FSN at 7:30pm (FSN's 1st mid-season national Thursday night game since 2000) and the Keg of Nails game on Friday with Cincinnati at Louisville (8pm, ESPN.

That said, they are rivalry games and they could be close and chippy.


The early afternoon is a dog. Missouri at Texas A&M (FSN, 12:30pm) might be the best of a lackluster bunch. Mizzou is coming off a shutout of Colorado and A&M QB Jerrod Johnson has become a turnover machine over the past three games with nine interceptions. Pittsburgh at Syracuse (Big East Network/Game Plan, 12pm) is a must win for the Panthers as their early season struggles could lead them to a lost season with the conference schedule looming.

Arkansas at Auburn leads off the mid-afternoon slate (CBS, 3:30pm) with Cam Newton playing the role of Tim Tebow as the SEC's top spread QB and has a great chance at finishing the year with 2000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards if he keeps his existing pace. Arkansas can pull back into the SEC West race with a win, but they'll need additional help down the road because of the loss to Alabama if tiebreakers are needed. Ryan Mallett is the key to the Arkansas offense. They'll go as far as he can take them.

Iowa at Michigan is a 2nd matchup of ranked teams (if you use the, IMO, worthless coaches poll) and likely is a referendum for Michigan's slim chances of remaining in the Big Ten race (ABC/ESPN, 3:30pm). QBs are the name of the game here with Denard Robinson and Ricky Stanzi matching up. Robinson had a bad game vs. Michigan St. with his three picks, but still managed 301 yards of total offense. Stanzi has been efficient this year, save for the loss at Arizona. Michigan's defense will be the key. Indiana lit them up through the air and Michigan St. pounded them on the ground.

Texas at Nebraska ups the ante with some off-field antics. The realignment of the summer pitted these two schools against each other as Texas was hailed as the savior of the Big 12 while Nebraska made their decision to move on from the feeling that Texas and the Big 12 South were the decision makers for the conference. The "Red Out Around The World" website initially debuted with a website video that strongly hinted that the Texas game would be one that the Husker fans should gear their season around. Lets be clear though. Nebraska has enough to win the Big 12 North and Texas could get their clocks cleaned by the ground game of the Huskers if the UCLA game is held as the gold standard of a suspect 'Horns defense. Mack Brown has lost three consecutive games as Texas head coach once (last three games of 1999 season: at A&M, vs. Nebraska in Big 12 title game, vs. Arkansas in Cotton Bowl).

And a sneaky one for you who like contrasts in style: SMU at Navy (3:30pm, CBS College). SMU throwing the ball all over the yard vs. Navy's triple option attack. Both teams come in at 4-2 as well.

Ohio St. at Wisconsin starts off the primetime gamees and is earmarked as the game of the night (7pm, ESPN). Wisconsin bounced back with a big win at home vs. Minnesota to tune up for the Buckeyes. OSU hasn't quite challenged themselves since their win vs. Miami. Terrell Pryor has been efficient in several wins this year, but against Miami (OSU's best opponent so far), he completed less than 50% of his passes and in the Illinois game he did not last. Pryor hasn't been that great against the Badgers despite a 2-0 record, 18-32 for 232 total yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs in his two starts, with only 55 rushing yards over the two games.

And if you are so inclined, stay up late and watch Nevada travel to the islands to take on Hawai'i (WAC Sports/Game Plan). Should be plenty of scoring as the strengths of these teams' offenses match up well with the other team's defense and a late game in Honolulu often results in a closer than expected game. The Warriors lead the nation in passing yards per game at 421.7 yards and Nevada ranks 82nd in the nation against the pass. And while the Warriors rushing defense has played well in back-to-back wins over Louisiana Tech and Fresno St., they've also given up 200 plus yards to three opponents and the running game is where Nevada excels, fifth in the nation at 314.3 yards.

12 Day Guesses for October 23rd

Here's the remaining games waiting for time/telecast decisions for October 16th.

Boston College at Florida St. 12pm ESPN
Minnesota at Purdue 12pm ESPN2
Arkansas at Auburn 3:30pm CBS
South Carolina at Kentucky 6pm ESPN2
Mississippi St. at Florida 7pm ESPNU
Ole Miss at Alabama 9:15pm ESPN2

For the 12 day selections, I'm guessing that ABC will take both Nebraska at Oklahoma St. & Oklahoma at Missouri. They'll determine time slot on 10/17 based on 10/16's results. Also thinking that Michigan St. at Northwestern will be snapped up by the Big Ten Network as one of the selections that can do before ESPN.

12pm Purdue at Ohio St. ESPN/ESPN2 (time confirmed)
12pm Indiana at Illinois ESPN/ESPN2 (time confirmed)
12pm Syracuse at West Virginia ESPNU
12pm Michigan St. at Northwestern BTN (time confirmed)
12pm Penn St. at Minnesota BTN
12pm South Carolina at Vanderbilt SECNet
12pm Connecticut at Louisville Big East
12pm Georgia Tech at Clemson ACCNet
12:30pm Kansas St. at Baylor FSN
1pm Rutgers at Pittsburgh
1:30pm Eastern Michigan at Virginia
2pm Maryland at Boston College
3:30pm LSU at Auburn CBS
3:30pm Wisconsin at Iowa ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Oklahoma at Missouri OR Nebraska at Oklahoma St. ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Washington at Arizona ABC
3:30pm Duke at Virginia Tech ESPNU
6pm Arizona St. at California CSNCA/FSAZ
7pm North Carolina at Miami (FL) ESPN2
7pm Iowa St. at Texas FSN
7pm Ole Miss at Arkansas ESPNU
7pm Texas A&M at Kansas Fox College
7pm Georgia at Kentucky SEC/FSN
7:30pm UAB at Mississippi St. SEC/CSS
7:45pm Alabama at Tennessee ESPN
8pm Oklahoma at Missouri OR Nebraska at Oklahoma St. ABC
9pm Washington St. at Stanford CSNBA/FSNNW

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What to Watch, Week Six


Middle Tennessee and Troy were voted 1-2 in the preseason coaches poll in the Sun Belt (ESPN2, 8pm). Middle Tennessee went 2-2 without star QB Dwight Dasher and he'll be back for this game. Troy is the closest thing the Belt has to a powerhouse, winning or sharing in the last four conference championships and have won their last thirteen conference games, dating back to a loss at Louisiana-Monroe in 2008.


Nebraska at Kansas St. is a rematch of the game that decided the Big 12 North last year (ESPN, 7:30pm). There isn't a lot of belief yet in Kansas St., but they did beat a UCLA team opening weekend and the Bruins have looked much better the past three weeks. Nebraska cannot afford to look ahead to what has been built up as a bitter matchup between two schools on different sides of the realignment discussions of this summer. The Huskers haven't been readily tested, even in their visit to Washington where they pressured Jake Locker into the 3rd worst completion percentage in a game with at least 20 attempts since '04. On offense, if the Huskers continue to rush as well as they have so far (309.3 yards/game), they'll have no trouble.


Not much to look at here in the early afternoon. This week begins conference play in the Big East and Syracuse at USF (Big East/Game Plan, 12pm) is one of the two games this week. Both teams were toasted by their top OOC opponents (Syracuse by Washington, USF by Florida) and the conference as a whole has looked bad so far this year. USF likely has the talent edge as long as BJ Daniels keeps the turnovers in check. Baylor will host Texas Tech at the Cotton Bowl (FSN, 12pm) and if Baylor wins, they'll have five wins for the 1st time since finishing 5-6 in 2005. Last time Baylor had five wins in their 1st six games? 1994 when they were SWC Co-Champs and earned an Alamo Bowl berth. That was the last time they made any bowl.

CBS gets another monster SEC matchup at 3;30pm with Alabama visiting South Carolina. Alabama is far and away the class of college football and everyone is gunning for them. South Carolina needs the perfect game to pull this one off. The Gamecocks need this one to keep pace with Florida in the SEC East. If they can run the ball (168 yards/game), they'll slow the Tide down.

San Diego St. at BYU is here for the curiousity factor (The mtn., 6pm). How bad is BYU? The defensive coordinator was fired this weekend and it's Jake Heaps job as QB for the rest of the year. The Aztecs haven't started 3-1 since 2003 (with two FCS victories that season) and have the MWC on notice that there is improvement in store and they may be finally ready to wake their program up.

Colorado at Missouri leads off the evening schedule (FSN, 7pm). Tough to tell where CU is at when they get blasted at California, but hand tough at home and win vs. Georgia. CU has won, it seems, with smoke and mirrors with a less than stellar offense and average defense, so the Tigers will test them with their spread attack. At this early stage in the season Blaine Gabbert's completion percentage is up nearly ten from last season (58.9 to 68.2) and his efficiency will be the key for the Tigers in this one.

Oregon St. at Arizona gets the Pac-10 on the board here (Versus, 7pm). The Wildcats's 4-0 start is their 1st four in-season winning streak since 2000. Problem is, that season they didn't win another game, finished 5-6 and earned Dick Tomey his walking papers. The last time they started 4-0 though? 1998 when they finished 12-1. Nothing statistically about the Beavers suggest that this should be a close game with the way Arizona has played, but the Beavers have traditionally started slow and have tested themselves with two top five teams (TCU, Boise St.). They might be able to settle in with Pac-10 play.

LSU at Florida continues the primetime schedule (ESPN, 7:30pm). Both teams come in to the game from different circumstances with LSU needing a bad penalty on Tennessee to get an extra play to beat the Vols after poor clock management. Florida, on the other hand, got stomped by Alabama, which to be frank isn't something the Gators are alone in. John Brantley is still the answer, but I could see Trey Burton get more time as the Gators will have three straight winnable games after this one before hosting South Carolina. Not to look ahead, but the Tigers are ripe for a bad beating and Urban Meyer's pride is no doubt hurt after the beating at Tuscaloosa.

ABC has a pair of decent 8pm games to finish of the evening, depending on where you live. Florida St. hosts the Hurricanes in the east coast matchup. The 'Noles have forced six total turnovers in the last three wins and 'Canes QB Jacory Harris has been rather undisciplined this season, even in their wins. This is the matchup the ACC has dreamed of in an ACC championship game, but both sides need a well played game to make a 2nd matchup meaningful in the eyes of pollsters.

Stanford at USC is the west coast matchup and this game looked a lot better one week ago, before Oregon toasted Stanford and Washington beat USC for the 2nd straight season. Pollsters didn't exactly believe in the Trojans before the Washington game, based on the quality of the opponents and how they weren't blowing the doors off those teams, save for Washington St. As for the Cardinal, it looked like they ran out of gas vs. the Ducks in the 2nd half and they'll need sixty minutes like they had vs. Notre Dame.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week Seven 12 Day Guesses and Week Six 6 Day Updates

Week Six has the following six day TV selections

12pm Indiana at Ohio St. ESPN
12pm Illinois at Penn St. ESPN2
3:30pm South Carolina at Alabama CBS
7:30pm LSU at Florida ESPN
7:30pm Auburn at Kentucky ESPN2

Here's my stab at week seven. Here's my thought process:

Big 12 - Lot of decent games out there, record wise. Could evolve into a six day pick. I think its a great week for ESPN to use a sublicense window, especially with the extra ESPN2 window. I considered Iowa St. at Oklahoma for ABC, but as it looks like OU will be in the drivers seat for the Big 12 South, I want to maximize their appearances (Big 12 has six appearance maximum). ESPN sublicense windows do not count towards the ABC numbers, except for the Texas-Texas A&M game for some reason. Also, Nebraska has yet to appear as part of the Big 12 contract on ABC.

Big Ten - Like this week, there's a lack of really good games for ESPNU and the ESPN Classic window can go away.

Pac-10 - Only a two game decision, but Washington St. I'm told does not like to host evening games out on the west coast (10pm ET/7pm PT) where Washington does not mind. Even though Arizona is the team to showcase of the four out there and ESPN is the bigger platform when compared to Versus, Oregon St.-Washington should be more competitive and it may matter on the host schools' kickoff time preferences.

SEC - Similar to the Iowa St.-Oklahoma situation, I want to maximize Alabama's appearances down the stretch. Couple that with Auburn possibly being undefeated going into the week, I think the Arkansas game is worthy for CBS.

12pm Illinois at Michigan St. ESPN/ESPN2 (time confirmed)
12pm Miami (FL) at Duke ESPN/ESPN2
12pm Missouri at Texas A&M FSN
12pm Arkansas St. at Indiana ESPNU
12pm Minnesota at Purdue Big Ten (time confirmed)
12pm South Carolina at Kentucky SECNet
12pm Maryland at Clemson ACCNet
12pm Pittsburgh at Syracuse Big East (semi-confirmed)
1pm Middle Tennessee at Georgia Tech
1:30pm North Carolina at Virginia
3:30pm Arkansas at Auburn CBS
3:30pm Iowa at Michigan ABC/ESPN (confirmed)
3:30pm Texas at Nebraska ABC/ESPN
3:30pm Boston College at Florida St. ABC
3:30pm Wake Forest at Virginia Tech ESPNU
3:30pm Army vs. Rutgers, possibly Big East/SNY
6pm Ole Miss at Alabama ESPN2
7pm Ohio St. at Wisconsin ESPN (confirmed)
7pm Baylor at Colorado FSN
7pm Mississippi St. at Florida ESPNU
7pm Vanderbilt at Georgia SEC/FSN Regional
7pm Texas Tech at Oklahoma St. Fox College
7:30pm Arizona at Washington St. Versus
8pm McNeese St. at LSU PPV
9:15pm Iowa St. at Oklahoma ESPN2
10:15pm Oregon St. at Washington ESPN

Friday, October 1, 2010

What to Watch, Week Five

Sorry I'm late with the article. Let's just assume that I wouldn't have chosen either of the weeknight games and let's move right to Saturday.

Miami (FL) at Clemson is the start of an average set of early afternoon kickoffs (12pm, ESPN & 3D). The 'Canes whipped a undisciplined Pitt team last Thursday while Clemson awaits coming off a bye and two weeks to dwell on the overtime loss at Auburn. Jacory Harris hasn't been able to eliminate the turnover bug that plagues him and if Clemson can take advantage of those, they'll be in the game.

Navy at Air Force begins the 1st leg of the round-robin for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy (2:30pm, Versus). Both teams roll up yards on the ground and use the pass as a change of pace and are very efficient. Its arguable that this matchup determines ownership of the trophy as Army has been subpar, but is gaining ground.

ABC has a pair of great games at 3:30pm with Wisconsin at Michigan St. (on ESPN in markets where not on ABC) and Texas vs. Oklahoma (on ESPN in markets showing Wisc-MSU on ABC). The Red River Rivalry has lost a little of its glitz with UCLA blitzing Texas at home and Oklahoma playing close games with three of four opponents this season. The Sooners defense, long a hallmark of the team, has bent more this year than in prior years (23.5 PPG). The ground game for the Sooners will be the difference now that UCLA was able to expose the Longhorns to the tune of 264 rushing yards.

Wisconsin at Michigan St. will be a bludgeoning ground game with bruisers like John Clay (with James White as a change-of-pace) for the Badgers and the Spartans going with the 1-2 punch of Le'Veon Bell and Edwin Baker. Mark Dantonio will coach this game from the press box as the Spartans look for 5-0 for the 1st time since 1999, Nick Saban's final season as head coach.

Florida at Alabama was the preseason crown jewel of the night (CBS, 8pm) with the rematch of the last two SEC championship games being played in the regular season for the 1st time since 2006, a 28-13 win for the Gators in Gainesville. John Brantley has struggled at times for the Gators and needs to get it together for them to have any shot against the team that, in my opinion, is the most complete team in the country.

Stanford at Oregon might be out west, but it holds its own (ABC, with ESPN2 coverage in markets receiving Notre Dame-Boston College on ABC, 8pm). This is the 1st time that both team have been ranked when playing each other and its a matchup of contrasting styles, the spread of the Ducks vs. the power game of the Cardinal. The defense of the Cardinal is what should be getting more attention, allowing only 13.8 points per game (even less when throwing out 17 points scored by FCS school Sacramento St.) and 256 yards of offense per game. Andrew Luck did get picked twice by the Notre Dame secondary, something the Ducks have forced nine times, coupled with nine more turnovers from fumbles.