Saturday, October 22, 2011

Quick Take on LSU-Alabama for Primetime

CollegeFootballTalk @ brought to light a report that the CBS really wants the LSU-Alabama game, and wants to move its 3:30pm window to primetime.  As the article notes, CBS currently gets only one primetime window a year.  When CBS does a game in primetime, it is an exclusive window and ESPN moves its SEC selections to the early afternoon timeslot (ie. 12pm ET).

It seems like a novel idea,  but I'm of the opinion that its not going to be feasible.  I posted this on the message board at, so if this response looks familiar, you don't need to read any further. 

Honestly, if I'm ESPN, I play a little hardball here.  I control the nighttime selection.  I tell the schools that if you want a nighttime kick, its ESPN, not CBS.  
ESPN doesn't have a lot to work with because of the Breeders Cup and the existing glut of games on 11/5.  They don't have a standalone 3:30pm slot they could fit a game into.  
The only remaining standalone 3:30pm slot for ESPN/ESPN2 is on 11/26.  Tell CBS they can do a double header, that LSU-Alabama will be coexist because ESPN can't give up the slot and the rest of the conference shouldn't go without TV, and that CBS won't have a game on 11/26.  That would be my offer to make sure all "considerations" are handled in 2011.
CBS has risk because if LSU loses to 'Bama and both teams win out through the final weekend, the game that matters on 11/26 would be the Iron Bowl and ESPN would have it.  CBS is hedging that LSU wins and the Arkansas game decides the SEC West.
Of course, none of this matters if either team loses this weekend.

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