Friday, March 9, 2012

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.

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