Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where we are in CFB television scheduling for 2012

April's here.  Now that we've passed Easter, conferences and their TV partners will begin meeting to determine any additional special dates games (Black Friday, open Thursday & Friday slots) and do some mock scheduling to determine what games could be available on a given weekend.  Some conferences like C-USA and the Mountain West will go through their entire schedule with their partners.  So what are we waiting on

Last year, their 1st three weeks of television selections came out in May, about three weeks earlier than I expected to see it.  If that date holds firm, ESPN and Raycom are working right now on those selections.  I don't think they are working on any of the remaining open Thursday and Friday night opening, but maybe to fill the Black Friday slot on ABC that they had last year.  I don't see any great choices for Black Friday.  Although East Carolina elected to move a home game to that day, it has been explained to me that the NC high school playoffs are on that date and would not like a late afternoon kickoff that could keep fans from those games.  South Carolina-Clemson and Florida-Florida St. are out there, but I don't see them moving, even though they would not affect any team's chance of appearing in a conference title game.

Big 12
If ESPN plans on licensing any games for airing on Thursday or Friday night, they'll get to work on those.  When ESPN has licensed Big 12 games for Thursday night in previous years, they've ended up altering the conference portion of the schedule slightly, so they'll need to work quickly if any alterations occur.

Big East
Any additional Thursday or Friday games may be tied to what ESPN does with the Big 12.  We know that the Rutgers-USF game date could change.

Big Ten
Last year, the Big Ten night games weren't announced until May.  There were suggestions that ESPN negotiated to get an extra game, not to mention that the parties may have been working on how to adjust their contract to account for the addition of Nebraska.  Now that have stabilized a little, I'm expecting the announcement to revert back to April.

Conference USA
Two games (UCLA-Rice & East Carolina-UCF) were moved to Thursdays and Marshall-East Carolina were moved to Friday for an unknown television partner.  My guess is that FSN takes two (UCLA-Rice & Marshall-ECU) and East Carolina-UCF goes to CBS Sports Network.  C-USA is directly affected by how many additional Mountain West games end up on CBS Sports Network, not to mention having to work around the Army, Navy and Patriot League games on the network.

Mountain West
With the news of the mtn.'s demise, someone needs to make up for the loss of the network.  Not to mention whether NBC Sports Network remains a carrier of Mountain West sports now that the mtn. no longer exists (I have an email out to the conference asking about that).  Schools might end up being able to seek out their own regional partner for whatever games the national partner(s) does not carry.  I think you could see a game or two get moved to Thursday and/or Friday nights to allow CBS Sports Network to carry a few more games from the conference.  The conference has 63 games under its control this year, much more than previous years due to the ten team configuration.

I have an email out to the Pac-12 office asking what the deadline dates are for the conference's early selections and if telecast windows will be set in advance for ESPN and FOX.  Previously, the ABC & ESPN selections and windows had to be decided on May 1st and the FSN and Versus selections by June 1st.  There are several Thursday & Friday games out there without television designations and those could be announced at that time.

I don't think we'll hear anything from the SEC regarding television selections until their spring meetings in May.  They're hard at work trying to figure out the right scheduling rotations going forward, but also need to work with CBS and ESPN (more likely just ESPN) to figure out how to get every game televised.

Army & Navy
Both of the independent service academies must have their kickoff times set by May 1st, so CBS Sports Network will be working on those as they set their network's schedule.  In case you are curious, neither school will allow for night time Saturday games, nor weeknight games.  Just 12pm or 3:30pm kickoffs on Saturdays.  9/15 and 11/03 are the Saturdays where both would play on the network.

BYU can fill some of the open Thursday and Friday night slots on ESPN.  I would guess that they are actively in discussions with the network to determine which home games they are willing to move and what options are available for their Saturday home games, both in terms of network options and kickoff times.


bigddan11 said...

BYU could fill some open Thursday or Friday slots, but their home schedule is all at the beginning of the year when most of the major conferences take up the Thursday & Friday slots. Hawaii (Sept 29) & Oregon State (Oct 13) are the only two I could see moving to a Thursday or Friday night game outside of the already confirmed Friday Night game against Utah State (Oct 5). I honestly don't the see Weber State or Idaho games moving, and it'll be easier to keep Washington State at BYU on Sept 1 unless ESPN thinks they can get huge ratings from Mike Leach's return (Leach happens to be a BYU alum, and it'll be his first game coached since the entire Craig James/ Texas Tech situation).

flongoria823 said...

FOX (The main network) will have football games for 14 weeks straight beginning Sept. 1st. 14 primetime and 2 daytime games. I suppose they are waiting to see if they get a share of BIG 12 games and possibly try to get some Mountain West games as well.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I don't believe that is the case. FOX has eight Pac-12 games on the main network. They have 14 additional Pac-12 games on FX and can put Big 12 and C-USA games on FX. If you are referring to the news that the Big 12 rights deal could be altered to allow FOX to air games, that hasn't been finalized.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

And yes, on the Daytona 500 they said FOX College Football would return on September 1st, but the FOX College Football brand name is used for all games airing on FOX, FX and FSN.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Also in the Pac-12 deal for games on FOX, 4 games in primetime and 4 games in the afternoon.

flongoria823 said...

Matt,I work at a FOX affiliate in South Texas and they sent out the dates for College football on FOX in early March. The 2012 Sports calendar for FOX has football slated from Sept 1st. thru Dec. 1st. 14 regular season games are scheduled. Here's the breakdown: 12 Primetime games and 2 daytime Oct.27 (due to game 3 of the World Series) and the day after Thanksgiving. Pac-12 Championship on Nov. 30th and Big 10 Championship on Dec. 1st. Cotton Bowl on Jan 4th. From what I have read,ABC/ESPN and FOX are negotiating to share BIG 12 football rights. So,the that would give FOX an option of PAC-12 and BIG 12 games for Primetime. I'm sure some Mountain West./C-USA games could be an option..

Matt Sarzyniak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Sarzyniak said...

I wish you would have mentioned that you worked for an affiliate. Could have saved me some time trying to justify that :) Could you please email me at Have a couple questions. Thanks.

Serge said...

I can't figure out how is FOX going to arrange its timeslots for college football this fall. Please correct me if I'm wrong:

FOX has 22 Pac-12 games a year; that means 8 on Big FOX (most/all of them in primetime) and 14 on FX. Plus, there are 40+ Big 12 games a year, most on FSN but some of them on FX and probably on Big FOX to complete its expected 14-game schedule.

Most/all of the games on Big FOX will be in the 8e/5p timeslot. Because of their inventory, I would expect most Saturdays to find two games on FX, one from the Pac-12 and one from the Big 12. Because they wouldn't want to compete with the broadcast network (and mainly because of ABC/ESPN's respective exclusive windows), FX games would have to start at 12e/9p AM and 3:30e/12:30p... Since I don't see Pac-12 games starting at 9 AM, does this mean the Big 12 could have one game start at 11 AM Central every Saturday? Or how do you guys see all this fitting in?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

You put a lot of thought into this. More than I care to over Memorial Day weekend. :)

I think there will be doubleheaders on FX most Saturdays. ESPN, Pac-12 Net and FX do not have exclusivity in their Pac-12 windows. Only the broadcast network games have exclusivity and only for the 1st 2 hours so ESPN can do 10:30pm et kickoffs and the conference network can do evening games.

As for the Big 12, they'll probably have a 12pm et slot each week. Either of FX or FSN.