Friday, March 30, 2012

Recapping the week 3/25 - 3/30

* Pacific leaving for the Big West has been rumored for a while.  The cultural fit for them is with the private schools of the WCC compared to the state schools of the Big West as they were the only private school in the conference.  The WCC likely moves to a round-robin 18 game conference schedule in basketball, but I don't expect the conference to realize a windfall of dollars from expansion nor a large increase in appearances as part of ESPN's package of games.  CSN Bay Area/California will probably pick up a number of games involving the Tigers, so that could be where they get more exposure.

In my opinion, I could see a school like Gonzaga being less in favor of this much like Memphis was not in favor of C-USA moving from 14 to 16 conference games a few years ago because it takes away opportunities to schedule marquee non-conference games.

There is some conjecture about where the WCC is headed and whether BYU will be part of that future.  You can read more about that at The Upset Blog.  To me, BYU's future with the WCC is tied to degree of difficulty in scheduling in football, but I think that their ability to re-join a conference will also be tied to television.  If rumors about what BYU has requested of conferences in regards to BYUtv and retaining all home game rights are accurate, and the truth of that may be debatable, then they have some decisions to make.  Either way, ESPN has given them a good deal in football through most of the decade and the WCC provides them with a stable conference, so why not use it to your advantage.

* FOX apparently is interested in starting up a full time sports network, according to multiple published reports. Bloomberg reports that Fuel is the channel, Sports Business Journal says Speed is the one being targeted according to tweets from John Ourand.  Speed is in many more homes (82 million) than Fuel (36 million) so that could give them a running start.  FOX has wanted to move NASCAR Nextel Cup races to Speed and has plenty of sports rights to get a channel off the ground when you consider the following items:

  • Barclay's Premier League
  • Champions League
  • World Cup '18 & '22
  • NASCAR Nextel and Truck Series
  • Formula One
  • Big 12 Football
  • Pac-12 Football and Basketball
  • C-USA Football and Basketball
They would probably leverage their major properties on Big FOX (MLB and NFL) to do some bumper programming like highlight shows and pre/post games.  I could see a re-negotiation with MLB looking to place some of those games on cable on Saturdays.  And having a full time channel can only help them as rights to the Big East and Big Ten come up in the next few years.  For FOX's NFL playoff games, maybe some additional postgame programming.

It also might signal that FOX did not get the bump that they wanted out of placing some college sports and Champions League programming on FX.  I personally don't think sports when I look at FX on my channel guide, where I do with TNT, though TNT has had a longer presence with sports programming.  I also don't believe FOX Soccer is in danger of being the channel that gets flipped.  That channel has a very popular niche.

Last item to consider: Versus, a strong channel in subscriber base, was flipped.  CBS Sports Network, with a base of subs that is less than both Versus and Speed, was converted from its college base.  FOX has to be aware of how hard it would be to grow a Fuel from 39 million to 80+ million vs. taking Speed and its sub base and flipping it.

* MAC and Big East schedules came out this week, filling virtually all holes in the 2012 football schedule as Temple may elect to play 11 games.  When I look at the MAC television schedule, it feels light on the ESPN side.  I suspect they'll move a game or two around to a Friday for ESPNU and maybe take one of their early season non-conference games to get to the minimums of the contract they signed a few years ago.  Its also possible that as part of Temple leaving the conference that ESPN decreased the number of minimum games they had to televise from the conference, much like ESPN did with the WAC when Boise St. left.  Note that on that schedule the ESPNU Black Friday window is not listed.

As for the Big East, 13 of their 17 ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 games were selected.  None of the minimum five ESPNU games were picked yet.  The conference does have some worthwhile non-conference games that were not set aside for TV (Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, Kentucky at Louisville) and the Rutgers at USF game on 9/15 was released with the notation of "date subject to change" and could end up as ESPN's 14th television choice as a Thursday or Friday game.

* Enjoy the Final Four!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gaps To Fill in ESPN Thursday & Friday CFB Schedules

Now that the Big East released its football schedule, it also fills out a sizeable portion of the ESPN late week schedule of games.  But there's several openings out there to fill.  My thoughts on filling them.

Thursday (confirmed in bold)
8/30 - South Carolina at Vanderbilt
9/6 - Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
9/13 - Rutgers at USF is listed with a "subject to date change" for this week.  TCU-Kansas is also sitting out there.
9/20 - Maryland at WVU & Virginia at TCU are in play.  A dark horse, depending on what they do with Rutgers-USF could be the Rutgers at Arkansas game
9/27 - Stanford at Washington (not confirmed for ESPN, but set for this date)
10/4 - USC at Utah (not confirmed for ESPN, but set for this date)
10/10 - Arizona St. at Colorado (not confirmed for ESPN, but set for this date)
10/17 - Oregon at Arizona St. (not confirmed for ESPN, but set for this date)
10/24 - Clemson at Wake Forest
11/1 - Virginia Tech at Miami (FL)
11/8 - Florida St. at Virginia Tech
11/15 - North Carolina at Virginia
11/22 - Long rumored to be TCU at Texas
11/29 - Louisville at Rutgers

Friday (confirmed in bold)
8/31 - Boise St. at Michigan St.
9/7 - Utah at Utah St. on ESPN2.  NASCAR on ESPN
9/14 - See the Thursday list.  One of those two could end up here
9/21 - See the Thursday list, plus one of the three MAC non-conference games, but don't expect Rutgers at Arkansas on a Friday
9/28 - Could see Hawai'i at BYU end up here
10/5 - Pittsburgh at Syracuse
10/12 - Could see Oregon St. at BYU end up here
10/19 - Syracuse at Connecticut
10/26 - Louisville at Cincinnati
11/2 - Washington at California (not confirmed for ESPN/2, but set for this date)
11/9 - Pittsburgh at Connecticut
11/16 - Feels like a Big 12 game
11/23 - Either Syracuse at Temple OR Rutgers at Pittsburgh
11/30 - Likely the MAC Championship

Any ideas or rumors?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

First 3 Week TV Predictions for CFB

Not expecting any major changes in the CFB schedule as we wait for the Big East and MAC to finalize their schedules.

Each week has a brief explanation of some of the choices.  Feel free to question or point out errors.  

Week 3 Predictions for CFB

A few thoughts on why I slotted a few games

* ESPN can select ahead of CBS a couple times in 2012 due to CBS being allowed by ESPN to televise Alabama-LSU in prime time last year.  The Alabama-Arkansas game in my opinion one of the two times ESPN should pull ahead of CBS.

* UNC-Louisville was guaranteed ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 when it was signed.  When Georgia pulled out of their series with UofL to take on Boise St. in the Chick-Fil-A Class last year, Louisville was left scrambling.  UNC was provided as a matchup by ESPN and they guaranteed both ends of the series would be televised on those outlets.

* Too many games to work with for the SEC this week.  If Georgia didn't have Georgia Southern on the schedule later in the year, FAU-Georgia might be Georgia's PPV game.  Instead, Comcast picks up an extra SEC window.  Because of that, Presbyterian-Vanderbilt will end up as a PPV or local telecast.  I don't remember Vandy doing PPVs but did have a few telecasts in Nashville (game vs. Middle Tennessee in '05 on WUXP).

* Since the Big 12 allows for institutional games, I see the James Madison-West Virginia game from Landover, MD being televised back to the Mountaineer State.  Maybe regionally via MASN.

* Four MAC teams do not have a game yet this day, which tells me that those teams will be paired in conference games in some fashion and one will be part of their regional package.

* I see CBS Sports Network with a tripleheader.  I don't see UNLV doing a 12:30pm local start.  TAMU-SMU is on FSN at 3:30pm ET and both FSN and CBSSN tried to stay away from competing C-USA games in the same telecast window, so I see ECU-USM at 7pm ET.  Also don't see CBSSN having a break between when the Army game starts and the ECU-USM game, so I don't have the tripleheader starting until 3:30pm ET.

TCU at Kansas, 8pm ESPN

North Carolina at Louisville, 8pm ESPN

Utah St. at Wisconsin, 12pm ESPN
Boston College at Northwestern, 12pm ESPN2
Navy at Penn St., 12pm ESPNU
UL-Lafayette at Oklahoma St., 12pm FSN
Massachusetts at Michigan, 12pm BTN
Ball St. at Indiana, 12pm BTN
MAC Regional Telecast, 12pm ESPN Plus
Delaware St. at Cincinnati, 12pm FOX Sports Ohio
Virginia at Georgia Tech, 12:30pm ACCNet
UAB at South Carolina, 12:30pm SECNet
FAU at Georgia, 1pm SEC/CSS
Portland St. at Washington, 3pm Pac-12 Network
Houston at UCLA, 3pm Pac-12 Network
Florida at Tennessee, 3:30pm CBS
California at Ohio St., 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
BYU at Utah, 3:30pm FX
Texas A&M at SMU, 3:30pm FSN
Wake Forest at Florida St., 3:30pm ESPNU
Northern Illinois at Army, 3:30pm CBS Sports Network
Eastern Michigan at Purdue, 3:30pm BTN
Charleston Southern at Illinois, 3:30pm BTN
Northern Iowa at Iowa, 3:30pm BTN
Connecticut at Maryland, 3:30pm ACC/FSN Regional

James Madison vs. West Virginia, 3:30pm Mountaineer Sports
Stony Brook at Syracuse, 3:30pm Big East Local
Washington St. at UNLV, 4pm NBC Sports Network
Miami (OH) at Boise St., 5:30pm The mtn.

Arkansas St. at Nebraska, 7pm BTN
Western Michigan at Minnesota, 7pm BTN
Texas at Ole Miss, 7pm ESPN2
Idaho at LSU, 7pm SEC/FSN Regional
Western Kentucky at Kentucky, 7:30pm SEC/CSS
Presbyterian at Vandy, 7:30pm PPV/Local/Webcast
Arizona St. at Missouri, 7pm ESPNU
East Carolina at Southern Miss, 7pm CBS Sports Network
North Texas at Kansas St., 7pm FOX College
Alabama at Arkansas, 7:45pm ESPN
Notre Dame at Michigan St., 8pm ABC
USC at Stanford, 8pm FOX
Texas Tech at New Mexico, 9pm The mtn.
South Carolina St. at Arizona, 10pm Pac-12 Network
Tennessee Tech at Oregon, 10pm Pac-12 Network
Colorado at Fresno St., 10:30pm CBS Sports Network

ESPN3 Exclusives:
Mississippi St. at Troy
Furman at Clemson
NC Central at Duke
Bethune-Cookman at Miami (FL)
South Alabama at NC State
Kent St. at Rutgers

Week 2 Predictions for CFB

Now that the ACC has set its Thursday game, I have a feeling K-State's home game vs. Miami will become a Thursday nighht game.  While Miami does lead into this game with a conference game vs. BC and K-State has an FCS opponent to open the season, Miami gets to follow up this game with Bethune-Cookman and K-State has North Texas.

ABC has a NASCAR race in the evening, so they will not have an 8pm telecast.

The possibility exists that Pittsburgh-Cincinnati could play this week.  If so, that could end up as the Friday night game and the NC State-UConn game could be moved to a regional telecast or ESPN3.

Miami (FL) at Kansas St., 8pm ESPN

NC State at Connecticut, 8pm ESPN
Utah at Utah St., 8pm ESPN2 (confirmed)

Georgia at Missouri, 12pm ESPN
UCF at Ohio St., 12pm ESPN2
Kent St. at Kentucky, 12pm ESPNU
Rice at Kansas, 12pm FSN
New Hampshire at Minnesota, 12pm Big Ten
Maryland at Temple, 12pm Big East Regional
North Carolina at Wake Forest, 12:30pm ACCNet
East Carolina at South Carolina, 12:30pm SECNet
Toledo at Wyoming, 2pm The mtn.
Fresno St. at Oregon, 3pm Pac-12 Network
Weber St. at BYU, 3pm BYUtv
Purdue at Notre Dame, 3:30pm NBC (confirmed)
Penn St. at Virginia, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2
USC vs. Syracuse, 3:30pm ABC
Air Force at Michigan, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN2
Florida at Texas A&M, 3:30pm ESPN
Tulsa at Tulane, 3:30pm FSN
UL-Monroe at Arkansas, 3:30pm ESPNU
Army at San Diego St., 3:30pm CBS Sports Network
Vanderbilt at Northwestern, 3:30pm Big Ten
Ball St. at Clemson, 3:30pm ACC/FSN Regional
Georgia St. at Tennessee, 6pm PPV
Eastern Washington at Washington St., 6:30pm Pac-12 Network
Duke at Stanford, 6:30pm Pac-12 Network
Wisconsin at Oregon St., 7pm ESPN2
Auburn at Mississippi St., 7pm ESPNU
Iowa St. at Iowa, 7pm Big Ten
Western Kentucky at Alabama, 7pm SEC/FSN Regional
New Mexico at Texas, 7pm Longhorn Network
Florida A&M at Oklahoma, 7pm Sooner Network
UTEP at Ole Miss, 7:30pm SEC/CSS
Washington at LSU 7:45pm, ESPN
Nebraska at UCLA, 8pm F/X
USF at Nevada, 8pm CBS Sports Network
Illinois at Arizona St., 10pm Pac-12 Network
Oklahoma St. at Arizona, 10:15pm ESPN2

ESPN3 Exclusives:
Maine at Boston College
Austin Peay at Virginia Tech
Savannah St. at Florida St.
Presbyterian at Georgia Tech
Missouri St. at Louisville
Howard at Rutgers
Indiana at Massachusetts
Texas Tech at Texas St.
Michigan St. at Central Michigan

Week 1 Predictions for CFB

I went through this a little now that a few more conference schedules have been finalize.  Still waiting on Big East & MAC, but those conferences are not expected to have intra-conference matchups that weekend.  I tacked on the games I felt would be ESPN3 exclusive.  I didn't put times on the ESPN3 games since those can be set by the home schools usually.

Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech, 6:30pm ESPNU
South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8pm ESPN
UCLA at Rice, 8pm FSN
Minnesota at UNLV, 9pm CBSSN
Northern Colorado at Utah, 9:45pm ESPNU (confirmed to air on an ESPN Network)
NAU at Arizona St., 10pm Pac-12 Net

ESPN3 Exclusives
Massachusetts at Connecticut

NC State at Tennessee, 7pm ESPNU
Boise St. at Michigan St., 8pm ESPN

ESPN3 Exclusives:
Villanova at Temple

Notre Dame vs. Navy, 9am CBS (a pair of travel sites have the kickoff time at 2pm Dublin)
Miami (OH) at Ohio St., 12pm ESPN
Ohio at Penn St., 12pm ESPN2
SMU at Baylor, 12pm FSN
Kentucky at Louisville, 12pm ESPNU
Indiana St. at Indiana, 12pm Big Ten
FIU at Duke, 12:30pm ACCNet
Buffalo at Georgia, 12:30pm SECNet
San Jose St. at Stanford, 3pm Pac-12 Net
Nicholls St. at Oregon St., 3pm Pac-12 Net
Miami (FL) at Boston College, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Southern Miss at Nebraska, 3:30pm ABC/ESPN
Northwestern at Syracuse, 3;30pm ESPNU
Wyoming at Texas, 3:30pm FSN
Richmond at Virginia, 3:30pm ACC/FSN Regional
EKU at Purdue, 3:30pm BTN
Northern Iowa at Wisconsin, 3:30pm BTN
Nevada at California, 6:30pm Pac-12 Net
North Texas at LSU, 7pm ESPNU
Tulsa at Iowa St., 7pm FOX College
Western Illinois at Illinois, 7pm BTN
Bowling Green at Florida, 7pm SEC/FSN Regional
Chattanooga at USF, 7pm Big East Local
Jacksonville St. at Arkansas, 7pm PPV
Central Arkansas at Ole Miss, 7pm PPV
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri, 7pm PPV
Jackson St. at Mississippi St., 7:30pm SEC/CSS
Alabama vs. Michigan, 8pm ABC
Clemson vs. Auburn, 8pm ESPN
Hawai'i at USC, 8pm F/X
Rutgers at Tulane, 8pm CBSSN
Washington St. at BYU, 10pm ESPN2
Oklahoma at UTEP, 10pm FSN
Toledo at Arizona, 10pm Pac-12 Net
Arkansas St. at Oregon, 10pm Pac-12 Net
San Diego St. at Washington, 10:15pm ESPNU

ESPN3 Exclusives:
Murray St. at Florida St.
William & Mary at Maryland
Liberty at Wake Forest
Elon at North Carolina
Youngstown St. at Pittsburgh
Iowa vs. Northern Illinois

Colorado St. vs. Colorado, 3:30pm ESPN
Marshall at West Virginia, 7:30pm FSN

Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 8pm ESPN

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Renegotiations and scheduling

* Ron Higgins from the Memphis Commercial-Appeal had a wide ranging interview with SEC commissioner Mike Slive recently and the topic of television re-negotiations came up as the conference has discussed receiving more money now that Missouri and Texas A&M will be in the fold on July 1st.  Slive feels that the two additions have strengthened them in the area of television now that at least four decent size DMAs will tune to CBS and ESPN more often for SEC games (Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis & San Antonio), along with some border markets.

We know with 14 teams, there's more games available, so the question is when and how will these air on TV or will the SEC allow for some internet exclusives?

One fallacy, in my opinion, is that the SEC gained new TV markets.  In my opinion, they didn't, at least with the top tier games and most of the 3rd tier games.  Follow along:

  • CBS is national
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU are national
  • The SEC Network games, at least last year, were shown in most of Texas and Missouri
  • Fox Sports' regional package of SEC games usually included both FSSouthwest and FSHouston.
  • Comcast's regional package was carried on their systems in the Houston area
The only places that there is a net gain is:
  • FSMidwest will likely carry the regional package full time, though they'll have to juggle who is on the "Plus" channel vs. who is on the main feed, along with moving around Big 12, Cardinals and Blues games.  
  • Cable systems in Missouri will have to pick up the Comcast regional cable games.
It will be interesting to see if the conference argues that A&M coverage on the Comcast package should be picked up state-wide.

But will the SEC get more money?  Sure.  ACC is rumored to have received around $1-2 million per school.  My thought is they'll get at least $3 million per school.  Depends if CBS can get another game window or two, or maybe if ESPN and CBS will have to coexist in a limited number of time slots.

* Sports Business Journal has been reporting on ESPN extending their deal with the Big 12 to sync up with the end of the contract that FOX signed with the conference last year.  One interesting note that came out Monday is that the ESPN deal is being structured so that FOX and ESPN will "share" rights to the conference, similar to the Pac-12.

If that is the case, it means one of two things:
  • FOX is willing to amend its deal, giving back some cable rights to the conference so that they can be purchased by ESPN.  ESPN is turn will leave some over-the-air football rights on the table that FOX can negotiate for.
  • FOX's deal remains intact and ESPN will sign up for roughly the same terms they have today.  FOX's deal already includes sublicensing for football games, so ESPN may have agreed to additional sublicensing in the area of over-the-air football games instead of paying FOX cash for the games.  ESPN already sublicenses in men's basketball as their deal with the Big 12 stipulates that a number of games/appearances must air on an over-the-air network that are not part of the syndication package.  
The other questions would revolve around ESPN's rights for men's basketball and FOX's rights in most other Big 12 sports.  FSN could take on a package of men's basketball games if they wanted to, but there isn't a really good argument to be made that ESPN should give up those games.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How my seed lines look

EDITED after completion of 1pm games

Just going with seed lines here.  Not placing teams at sites.  My big factors were wins vs. the top 50 and top 100 in the RPI.  The RPI was used as a guiding tool as well.

No particular order on the seeds (ie top seed isn't listed 1st)

1 - Kentucky, Syracuse, Missouri, Michigan St.
2 - North Carolina, Duke, Ohio St., Kansas
3 - Baylor, Marquette, Michigan, Florida St.
4 -  Indiana, Memphis, Louisville, Georgetown
5 - Wichita St., Murray St., Temple, Wisconsin
6 - St. Mary's, UNLV, Vanderbilt, New Mexico
7 - San Diego St., Iowa St., Creighton,  Florida
8 - Gonzaga, St. Louis, Southern Miss, Notre Dame
9 - Colorado St., Alabama, California, Xavier
10 - VCU, Cincinnati, Purdue, Connecticut
11 - BYU, NC State, Harvard, Kansas St.
12 - Long Beach St., Texas, Colorado, Iona/Marshall
13 - South Dakota St., Ohio, Belmont,  South Florida/Virginia
14 - Davidson, New Mexico St., St. Bonaventure, Montana
15 - Loyola (MD), Long Island U., Lehigh, UNC-Asheville
16 - Lamar, Mississippi Valley St., Detroit/Norfolk St., Western Kentucky/Vermont

This is what happens with an extremely soft bubble and very few upsets to affect it.  Oral Roberts, Marshall and Iona likely wouldn't be in the discussion.  They are in my mind.  I don't come close to bringing Washington, Drexel, Seton Hall, Northwestern or Nevada into the discussion.

St. Bonaventure winning the A-10 affects lines 12-14 and the 8-9 lines.  I'd put the Bonnies on the 14 line, bump Belmont and Colorado up one each and bump Virginia down to the play in vs. USF.  Sorry Oral Roberts.  The change on the 8-9 line would be to bump Xavier down one and move up Notre Dame.

There's some possible changes at the top too.  If Florida St. wins, move them up one and move Temple down one.  Also, flip Missouri to the top line and UNC down one.  The easier one to work with is Ohio St. If they win, flip flop them with Michigan St.

Multi-Bid Conferences
ACC - 5
Atlantic 10 - 3 (possibly 4)
Big 12 - 6
Big East - 8
Big Ten -  6
C-USA - 3
MAAC - 2
MVC - 2
MWC - 4
Pac-12 - 2
SEC - 4
Summit - 2 (possibly 1)
WCC - 3

18 single bid conferences

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spanning the time zones for the Big Country conferences...

Thinking a little bit about the upcoming merger of the Mountain West and Conference USA, along with the Big East's upcoming additions.

First the Mountain West-Conference USA merger:

* Where could you possibly host a neutral site men's basketball tournament with the future alignment?  Would you host a pair of tournaments, like an east and west tournament, with the final at the best remaining record's home floor?  Does the entire tournament become a tournament played on home courts to take advantage of good crowds?  And when would a tournament like that start so that the students miss as little class time as possible?

* As with any conference and how both of these entities are essentially starting from scratch, the conference members need to decide before they go out on the open market how they intend to schedule themselves.  In basketball, it matters how many conference games you intend to play, how repeating matchups will be determined and what days of the week you intend to play conference games.  For example, C-USA stuck to a Wednesday-Saturday rotation for men's basketball conference games, while the MW schools played either Tuesday or Wednesday, then Saturdays.  For football, both of these conferences left ESPN to avoid playing weeknights that they did not desire (Tuesdays & Wednesdays) and played nearly all games on Thursdays & Saturdays.  We know that Friday has become a more acceptable night of college football, so is that OK the members.  These parameters need to be known before going to the table.  In negotiation, then the exceptions can be made, such as playing basketball games on a Thursday or Sunday, allowing for a football game on Labor Day or Thanksgiving, etc.

* The thing is, when you get to a conference of this size, scheduling and trying to get as many games on TV as possible requires a ton of flexibility on the schools.  Using the Big East as an example, strictly on the comparable size in men's basketball, they play virtually every day of the week during conference except regularly on Fridays so they can have 5-6 nationally televised basketball games per week.   It all depends how many networks they would be able to spread the telecasts over.

The Big East shares some of these same issues:

* What is the plan for scheduling in football?  Boise St. made its bones on ESPN playing weeknight games, unopposed.  Some schools would prefer to play on Saturdays at all costs (Navy).  Now with the NFL playing more Thursday nights, how does that affect schools like Temple, San Diego St. and USF who share NFL stadiums, plus schools like Cincinnati & SMU who share the town with the NFL teams (Rutgers could be thrown in too)?  And now that the conference boasts their ability to schedule in all Saturday time slots, is the goal to have either Boise St. or San Diego St. at home each week?

* After the 1st few years as a 16 team conference, the bottom four of the conference were allowed into the conference tournament and it was extended an extra day.  So what happens when the conference becomes a 20 team behemoth?  Its still a doable bracket as the FCS playoff today is 20 teams played over five weekends, so they could play the basketball tournament over five days, but how many games can you fit in one day?  Does the entire tournament remain at MSG, does a 2nd arena get involved for the early rounds or do you start at home courts before migrating to MSG?

Now for the one item that needs to be considered for both conferences:

* Both conferences as they come together have members who are going to be partial to a particular television partner.  Some may prefer ESPN, Comcast/NBC, CBS or FOX because of how they were treated in their previous contract or conference.  It will be absolutely important for the parties to get on the same page with what they want out of a TV partner or these conferences will continue to have friction and splinter apart.

ESPN and Thursday nights

I don't expect the four Thursday Pac-12 games to air anywhere outside of ESPN.  I wouldn't expect FOX to air them, nor F/X, because Thursday is a night for them to air series-based programming.  I also don't expect ESPN to do Thursday night doubleheaders, nor any of the games on ESPN2.  So that would seem to leave the Thursday night schedule looking like this:
8/30 South Carolina at Vanderbilt
9/6 Big East or Big 12
9/13 Big East or Big 12
9/20 Big East or Big 12
9/27 Stanford at Washington
10/4 USC at Utah
10/11 Arizona St. at Colorado
10/18 Oregon at Arizona St.
10/25 Clemson at Wake Forest
11/1 Virginia Tech at Miami (FL)
11/8 Florida St. at Virginia Tech
11/15 North Carolina at Virginia
11/22 Big East or Big 12
11/29 Big East or Big 12

The Big 12, while not directly contracted with ESPN for football, has had games sublicensed from FOX Sports.  The new Big 12 television contract allows for up to three Thursday night games and continues to allow FOX to sublicense games to other national cable outlets.  Rumors are out there that TCU-Texas will be moved to Thanksgiving.  In the previous contract, the Texas A&M-Texas game could air on ESPN but it would be part of ABC's count of Big 12 telecasts and not a sublicensed game.  No word if TCU-Texas will get the same treatment.

The Big East schedule could be released any day now that Temple has been added.  Temple does need to find a 12th game.  They will have four Big East home games (Syracuse, Cincinnati, Rutgers, USF) plus Maryland and Villanova coming to the Linc, so they could afford a road game if they desire.  Three teams can take advantage of the 13th game if they desire to (Hawai'i, Nevada, Boise St.).  A game in Boise would be a single game since Boise St. is joining the Big East in 2013.  Cincinnati also needs a 12th game, but I wouldn't expect Temple to fill that spot.

The Friday schedule is kinda light at this time.  A Big Ten game (Boise St. at Michigan St.) and one WAC game (Utah at Utah St.).  A Pac-12 game (Washington at California) and Utah St. at BYU have also been set as Friday games and I can see both airing on ESPN or ESPN2.  I'm expecting the Big East to play a large role in the Friday schedule, around 5 games.  After that, I suppose its possible that the Big 12 could have games sublicensed from FOX on Fridays (last year they had two). BYU could have a 2nd Friday night game as well.