Sunday, April 27, 2014

Recapping some CFB TV scheduling news since Easter

Edited to remove one primetime window from CBSSN count.  The 10/25 date has a Pro Bull Riders event starting at 9pm ET. 

* BTN took six Saturday games for their primetime package.  Of note is that one of the games is in mid-November, which indicates a softening of the stance on November night games.  But I don't think its a coincidence either that incoming member Maryland is the one hosting the game.

An ESPN release also had the weeknight games on 8/28 (Eastern Illinois-Minnesota) and 8/29 (Jacksonville St.-Michigan St.).  Those games have since been pulled from the ESPN post from their Big Ten blogger, however a tweet from Michigan St. is still out there.
They will probably be part of the release of game times for the first three weeks of the season, likely arriving sometime in the next eight weeks.

One item the ESPN release noted is that it is possible that we will see other Big Ten night games come out.  I don't know if that means that more will be announced as part of the first three weeks' set of kickoff times or if the two TV entities are working to get other night games set in November, such as Ohio St.-Michigan St. on 11/8.   As a few other articles have mentioned, decisions might be on hold while other conferences and their TV partners make decisions on their games, such as when CBS might have their SEC doubleheader with a primetime game.

* Homecoming kickoff times in the Big Ten are usually set aside before the season as well.  Two homecoming games (Illinois at Nebraska on 9/27, Nebraska at Northwestern on 10/18) were selected by BTN.  That leaves twelve other homecoming games to be set in advance.  In many cases, the games are set with a kickoff time with a TV network to be determined as part of the 12 day TV selection process.  In some cases, ESPN may end up selecting a homecoming game their ABC 3:30 pm game.

* Educational & informative programming (E/i) is required of the over-the-air broadcast networks every week for at least three hours.  I will be curious to see how often ABC uses 12pm ET windows for college football.  2014 is a World Cup year and ABC will be carrying five matches that will air at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT, four at 2:30pm ET / 11:30am ET and one at 3:30pm ET / 12:30pm PT.  Many national broadcasters fulfill their E/I requirements on Saturday mornings (three hours of programming per week).  NBC has split their programming over Saturday & Sunday to account for English Premier League games starting regularly at 12:30pm ET.  But if ABC does get any exemptions, I do wonder if that lessens the possibility of more than 2-3 12pm windows.

In 2010, ABC had only two Saturday 12pm ET windows and both were very late in the season: 11/27/10 (Michigan at Ohio St.) and 12/4/10 (Rutgers at West Virginia), even though ABC themselves only aired two WC games that year that would have aired mostly before 12pm PT.  ABC did carry the Breeders Cup in the morning on the west coast (1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT), but this was the first year the The Open Championship aired exclusively on ESPN, so it did not add to the issues.

Maybe that makes no sense and does not matter, but it could be a consideration.

* Northern Illinois issued a release yesterday that their game at UNLV, moved from 9/13/14 to Friday 9/12/14 for a telecast on CBS Sports Network, was not set in stone.  Outside of the NIU release, which does not that UNLV did not acknowledge the date change either (there is no mention of the date change on their site), there isn't much information out there about what the issues could be with the date change, whether it is travel/lodging issues for the team or something else.

The conference is the one who issued the release with the date change and telecast.  If I were to hazard a guess, I suspect that there was a missed communication between UNLV, the Mountain West and CBS Sports Network about NIU's ability to play on 9/12.  Based on UNLV not promoting the date change, they may have been out of the loop as well.

If the game were to move back to Saturday 9/13, there is an opening right now on CBS Sports Network at 3:30pm ET / 12:30 pm PT.  It is certainly possible that CBS Sports Network could move around two Mountain West games already scheduled for 9/13 to air the UNLV game at night too.  A third option could to play the game on 9/13 and "trade" the game to ESPN for something else, maybe another American conference game.  The risk of trading the game could be that it airs on ESPN3 instead of a traditional television outlet, though the point could be made that more homes have access to ESPN3 than those who subscribe to CBS Sports Network.

* CBS Sports Network has roughly the following number of Saturday slots open for American & C-USA plus a Patriot League game or two:
  • Early afternoon, around 12pm ET: 8-9 openings
    • C-USA wouldn't use one on 12/6 because that is their championship game date.  Air Force at Army could end up filling a portion of the telecast window
  • Mid-afternoon, around 3:30pm ET: 7-8 openings
    • Same as above.  Any opening on 12/6 is for the American.  Air Force at Army could fill a portion of a TV window
  • Evening, around 7pm ET: 8 7 windows
  • One late evening window could be filled by C-USA, specifically UTEP as they work on Mountain Time.  The open window on 11/15 could be filled by North Texas at UTEP, but UTEP often goes for earlier kickoff times once the calendar turns to November.
So that is around 24 23 Saturday openings and that does not account for the possibility of a early season men's basketball event like the Corpus Christi Challenge, which aired in the evening on Saturday 11/30/13 taking up a spot where a football game could air.  CBSSN is to air around 13-15 American games and an undetermined number of C-USA games.

* A couple Friday night football related notes: 
  • With CBS Sports Network airing Air Force at San Diego St. on 11/21, that would seem to indicate that the UTEP at Rice game currently set for that date as being aired on one of the FOX Sports entities if it is a national game.  The game was set for a Friday when the C-USA schedule was originally release.  It was not moved a few weeks ago along with other C-USA games for national telecasts.  It is always possible that CBS Sports Network could double up, but that would mean that the Rice game would kickoff at 5pm local time.
  • CBS Sports Network is scheduled to air a Professional Bull Riders event on Friday 8/29 from Oklahoma.  The event starts at 9pm ET.  Per the PBR website, the televised portion of the event is scheduled as TBA.  It does not say whether the event is a live airing or not. It is certainly possible that CBSSN is planning to carry the Bowling Green at Western Kentucky football game and either join the PBR event in progress or show it on a delay.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More items related to the Mountain West national TV schedule

ESPN and CBS Sports Network picked their remaining Mountain West television selections for 2014.  Each entity has selected 22 games.

* One Boise St. home game was traded to CBS Sports Network in exchange for one Boise St. road game.  One of ESPN's platforms will televise the Boise St. road game at Wyoming.  In exchange, the home game vs. UL-Lafayette will be televised by CBSSN.

* Does not appear that either network will be trading a selection like last year, when ESPN carried a 23rd Mountain West game (Rutgers at Fresno St.) in exchange for CBSSN carrying an American conference game (Norfolk St. at Rutgers).

* Nearly all (13 of 14) of the kickoff times for the Saturday ESPN games will be set 12 days in advance, in conjunction with other conferences.  The kickoff time for Air Force at Wyoming on 9/6 should be set within the next 6-8 weeks as the networks set their early season telecasts.  In 2013, 14 games had their network and kickoff times set during the season.  Of those games, half (seven) aired on ESPNU, four on ESPN2, two on ESPN3 and one on ESPNEWS.  Nine of the fourteen games kicked off after 10pm ET.

* The choice of the 9/6 Boise St. home game vs. Colorado St. on ESPN2 helps immediately fill a minimum requirement for ESPN to carry at least three Boise St. games on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  If so desired, ESPN could show the remaining BSU games that they have rights to on ESPN3, ESPNU or ESPNEWS.

* For the eighteen Saturday games that CBS Sports Network is carrying, half (nine) of them are in the 10:30pm ET slot.  This is up from four in that slot on CBSSN in 2013.  CBSSN has to accommodate a package of American conference games, in addition to their package of C-USA games and home games from Army and Navy.  For the Saturday "primetime" slot, there are seven games on CBSSN, up from five in '13.  The decrease is in the Saturday mid-afternoon slot where there are two MW games in 2014, compared to seven games in 2013.  Some of those mid-afternoon games could be considered moving to the Friday night slots that the conference is picking up on CBSSN.

* Of the remaining games not yet set for TV, Hawai'i has a statewide PPV package that needs to be carved out of their remaining games.  That should include the following games:
  • 9/13 vs. Northern Iowa 
  • 10/11 vs. Wyoming
  • 10/25 vs. Nevada
  • 11/1 vs. Utah St.
  • 11/15 at San Jose St.
  • 11/22 vs. UNLV
  • 11/29 at Fresno St.
Hawai'i is allowed to maintain its own regional television deal for football games because they receive no money from the Mountain West's TV deals.  They keep the PPV revenue instead, which is fairly lucrative to the school as long as there are seven games available to show.

The road game at Colorado should not be part of the package as it could air on an ESPN network, FOX or FOX Sports 1 or the Pac-12 Networks.  There is an outside chance the game at Rice could be on PPV if it is on a TV platform that is not readily available on the islands. Based off of last year, I don't think any of these would be part of the ROOT Sports regional package, especially the two road games.  The conference controlled PPV games should be available again via the conference's Campus Insiders' portal.

* The ROOT Sports regional TV package last year seemed to involve schools who were located in the ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain footprint.  If last year is a gauge for that, the package could involve these games:
  • 8/30: UTEP at New Mexico, Nicholls St. at Air Force and/or Montana at Wyoming (Colorado Rockies conflict at 8pm ET)
  • 9/6: Idaho St. at Utah St. (Colorado Rockies conflict at 8pm ET)
  • 9/13: UC Davis at Colorado St. (Colorado Rockies conflict at 7pm ET)
  • 9/20: FAU at Wyoming (Colorado Rockies conflict at 4pm ET)
  • 10/4: Tulsa at Colorado St. 
  • 10/18: New Mexico at Air Force
  • 10/25: Wyoming at Colorado St.
  • 11/1: New Mexico at UNLV
  • 11/8: Air Force at UNLV & Idaho at San Diego St.
  • 11/15: Nevada at Air Force
  • 11/22: New Mexico at Colorado St.
  • 11/29: Wyoming at New Mexico
ROOT also carries Big Sky football and started a relationship with New Mexico St. late in 2013.  I did not list the Fresno St. at UNLV game on 10/11.  I think that game could end up being part of the Campus Insiders exclusive package along with a few of the games vs. non-conference opponents.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Some items related to Big Ten & American TV schedule alterations

Sometimes these blog posts are just a regurgitation of tweets with a little extra info.  Stop if you've felt like you've read this before

* Big Ten Network night games should be announced next week and kickoff times for their homecoming games should follow in the next month.  I believe the goal of the conference is to have each team showcased once in primetime, but that does not mean that they will host a primetime game.  Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Rutgers should each appear in Saturday night games on BTN.

As for homecoming, here are the dates for all Big Ten schools.  ESPN did not select any of the homecoming dates to be moved to primetime.  BTN certainly could and ESPN could end up moving a few of these to 3:30pm and put them on ABC or one of the ESPN platforms.

Illinois - 10/25 vs. Minnesota
Indiana - 10/18 vs. Michigan St.
Iowa - 10/11 vs. Indiana
Maryland - 10/18 vs. Iowa
Michigan - 11/1 vs. Indiana
Michigan St. - 9/27 vs. Wyoming
Minnesota - 10/18 vs. Purdue
Nebraska - 9/27 vs. Illinois
Northwestern - 10/18 vs. Nebraska
Ohio St. - 10/18 vs. Rutgers
Penn St. - 9/27 vs. Northwestern
Purdue - 9/27 vs. Iowa
Rutgers - 11/1 vs. Wisconsin
Wisconsin - 10/25 vs. Maryland

After these get moved, the first three weeks' kickoff times for Big Ten controlled games tend to come out.  Sometimes the first three weeks' come out first before the homecoming games.  Either way, homecoming kickoff times will be set in advance of the season.

* One interesting item centers around the announcement of the Virginia Tech-Ohio St. game as a night game on 9/6. ESPN requested the Michigan St.-Oregon game to move from 9/13 to 9/6 with the guarantee that it wouldn't be a night game and that it would be on national television.

Now that VT-OSU is the primetime game on ESPN, coupled with the stipulations mentioned above and that NASCAR is on ABC that evening, I think it puts the MSU-UO game in the 3:30pm time slot on ABC or maybe a 4:30pm slot before VT-OSU on ESPN.  Either way, it frees up FOX to take the USC-Stanford game on 9/6 as their primetime game.  If MSU-UO were to have aired on ESPN in primetime, I don't believe FOX could have aired USC-Stanford at the same time.  The windows on ABC and FOX has been provided a level of exclusivity with respect to other Pac-12 games, though there seem to be exceptions to this.

Pac-12 TV window exclusivity, coupled with an abundance of night games, has been a hot topic for the conference and its TV partners.  Jon Wilner recently wrote about it for Bay Area Media Group.

* With the move of two Houston home games to Friday nights, the American will have at least 10 televised football on Fridays in 2014.  They also have three games scheduled for Black Friday and they will probably be slotted for a television network.

Tulane at Tulsa was also moved to Thursday night 8/28 and unlike the two Houston games, it did not have a kickoff time or television assignment announced.  CBS Sports Network is a TV partner for the American via a sublicense agreement with ESPN and could be the television outlet for the game if ESPN isn't looking to televise the game at some odd hour or on ESPNEWS.  Tulsa has had home games kick off at 9pm or later in the past for television (9/17/11 vs. Oklahoma St. on FSN, 9/1/05 vs. Minnesota on ESPN2).

The reason I think CBSSN is the outlet is because it wasn't announced today and CBSSN has other moving parts in place for its television schedule, with around 20 more MW games to announce, at least 10 C-USA games (I really don't know how many they are carrying w/CSS out of the picture), 13-15 American games, 1-2 Patriot League games and Army & Navy kickoff times.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some items related to the partial Mountain West TV schedule

Edited on 4/16 to account for two more Friday football games from the American.

Here are the games set for television by the Mountain West's TV partners.  And here is a Google Docs spreadsheet that breaks down the TV schedule by network and date.  For the purposes of this post, take a look at the ESPN Thursday & Friday sheet.

* The Mountain West (6) and American (9) conferences will occupy a lot of the Friday night telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.   At least five games each from both of those two conferences will be on ESPN or ESPN2.  Additionally, UTSA-Houston will air on ESPNEWS on Friday 8/29.

* On 9/5, it will be interesting to see whether Pittsburgh at Boston College & Washington St. at Nevada are paired as a doubleheader or if the first game airs on one network while the latter airs on another.  There is a NASCAR Nationwide Series that is tentatively scheduled for ESPN2 that evening.  NASCAR's website lists a start time of 7:30pm ET, which I think would be enough time to put Washington St. at Nevada after it.  Then again, if there are any issues regarding rain, etc. delaying the race, maybe it would be easier to pair the two games together

* On 10/3, Louisville at Syracuse is waiting for a kickoff time and network to be set and Utah St. at BYU is waiting for both as well.   A couple years ago, the Utah St. at BYU game was paired with another Syracuse game in a doubleheader on ESPN and that could be done again.  Right now, ESPNU is open that evening as well.

* 10/10 remains open for the moment.  Washington St. at Stanford is waiting for a network assignment, as are all weeknight Pac-12 games except for the conference championship game.  I would think that this game is on ESPN or ESPN2.  Maybe the Pac-12 Network as a dark horse.  FOX Sports 1 could have a MLB postseason commitment.  There is also a NASCAR Nationwide Series race currently scheduled for ESPN2 that evening with a start time of 7:30pm ET.

* 10/24 is interesting with the addition of the BYU at Boise St. plus USF at Cincinnati set for ESPN or ESPN2.  I don't think a doubleheader is possible with the Boise St. game to start at 9pm, so ESPN will take one game and ESPN2 will take the other.  There is also a Pac-12 game scheduled for 10/24 (Oregon vs. California at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara). ESPNU and FOX Sports 1 should be free to take that game provided if it is not put together with the Cincinnati game as part of a doubleheader.  One item that could cancel out a doubleheader on ESPN or ESPN2 that evening is if either network airs a NBA preseason game.

* If you didn't notice, once the calendar turns to November, ESPN carries the NBA most Fridays.  That is why the Friday night games move to ESPN2 after a certain point every year.  Black Friday is the exception as ESPN doesn't seem to televise any NBA games that day.

* With yesterday's announcement, we did not see any trade of a Boise St. home game to CBS Sports Network in exchange for a Boise St. road Mountain West game.  That could still occur once the rest of the games are selected by ESPN and CBS Sports Network.

* Not related to the schedule, the Mountain West pays out spot bonuses for any game on some national networks, which includes ESPN or ESPN2.  The bonus is $300K for every Friday night game.  Boise St., Fresno St. and Utah St. earned $600K directly out of the MW TV money pool and Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose St. and Wyoming each earned $300K off the top.

Since a third Mountain West controlled Boise St. game was not moved to a weeknight, the Broncos will have at least one Saturday game air on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  Assuming that this is a conference game, it would pay both Boise St. and their opponent an additional $500K each.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Could we see a few less SEC football games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU for 2014?

* The last few SEC Network press releases have noted in the brief description of the network that it will carry approximately 45 football games this year (note that this release also contains a line that it appears the number of 45 is more absolute).   And the math works out well now that they've moved three games off of the opening Saturday of the season.   14 Saturdays available for the SEC network to televise games X 3 games per week = 42 games.  Tack on the two Thursday night games on 8/28 and the Utah St. at Tennessee game on Sunday and the number should be in reach.

I counted 100 conference controlled regular season games for the SEC in 2014.  That number is not counting the conference championship game nor the neutral site games being played in Atlanta & Houston the opening week. If CBS takes 15 games (14 Saturday games and a game for Black Friday), FSN finishes off their sublicensing agreement with their eight games and SEC Network holds themselves to 45 games at the most, it should leave ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU to carry 32 games.  That would be down from 44 games in 2013.

Note that this will correct itself in 2015 when the games sublicensed to FSN return back to ESPN's control.  Using 2014's number of 100 as a base, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU would have 40 games.  Four less than previous years, but not as noticeable a drop.  I also caution that the drop in overall SEC games that you the home viewer will see depends on where you live.  Not every market received the SEC TV syndication games, nor the SEC games sublicensed to FOX and Comcast.

I do not think that one game per telecast window on the SEC Network, especially early in the year, is as easy to do.  Not without putting lesser quality games on ESPN2 or ESPNU over games from other conferences that may be of better quality.  I'm told the SEC Network will have overflow channels available if necessary, so I think it is possible that they will air more games earlier in the season and carry less as more games each week become intraconference games.  I don't think that means they'll air only one game per week or skip a week, but they might only air two games per week instead of three.

It is also possible that the number of 45 is the number of TV windows.  If they air multiple games in any window and continue to air 45 telecast windows for the network, that would further decrease the number of games shown on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.

* Now that the NCAA basketball tournaments are over, I do expect to see more television announcements for the upcoming season.  Just a gut feeling that the networks, conferences and schools try to stay away from making TV announcements that overshadow the tournament.  There's also the matter of conference staff taking on additional duties related to their member schools being involved in both the men's and women's tournament.  A conference's key point of contact for television may be working as a media liaison to assist a school's media director, for example.

Typically the Big Ten releases their ABC/ESPN night game schedule in mid-late April.  Army and Navy have requirements that their home kickoff times be set by May 1st at the latest, so that should be the first piece to be set in CBS Sports Network's TV schedule and maybe CBS's too.  There are open Thursdays and Friday nights on ESPN's networks and CBS Sports Network that the Mountain West should be filling.  And there might be additional scheduling alterations in flight from conferences who had previously released their schedules.

* I have been told that the Sun Belt is exploring alternatives to the Sun Belt Network that was jointly operated by CSS and CST (Cox Sports Television).  If you are not aware, CSS is shutting down on June 1st.  What those alternatives are, I do not know.   ESPN's deal with the conference allows for a small number of regional telecasts to be produced in football.  No idea about basketball or other sports.

I imagine the conference could attempt to monetize the rights to those games via a paid or ad supported streaming service.  Showing the games exclusively through ESPN3, as they did with nearly ever other Sun Belt controlled game not selected for national or regional TV, is an option.  They could also choose to contract those games to another regional outlet like FOX Sports Networks, though I don't know if FOX would be limited as to who could carry those games outside of the conference's footprint.   ESPN is the conference's primary TV partner and may be the only outlet that can show a game nationally, so I don't think they could do a deal with FOX that would allow them to air games on FOX Sports 1, for example.

I tried to reach out regarding Conference USA's plans now that CSS is going away but did not hear back from anyone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Brief thought this morning on the RSN business.

A question I pose to you, with a brief setup beforehand: This ran through my mind this morning and has very little to do with college sports and more about the RSN business & the possibility of a Time Warner/Comcast merger.

Comcast proposed divesting some of the customer base that would make up a combined TWC-Comcast.  I don't know if that means they'd sell it off to another company or spin it off into its own company.

Two markets where Comcast and TWC are having a bit of trouble with regional sports networks they manage are Houston (Comcast) and Los Angeles (TWC/Dodgers RSN).  Granted the TWC issues are in the early stages, and I don't know any of the legal implications around doing this, but do you think a merged Comcast-TWC would consider divesting itself of one or both of these markets to wash their hands of a deal that they might consider unfavorable?  Both markets are top ten markets and I would believe to be big money markets in terms of advertising sales and systems, but Comcast's position in Houston doesn't seem to be very favorable to them and maybe they would consider the Dodgers deal to be a bad deal and want no part of it.

Just thinking out loud, would love to know what you think.  Like I said, I don't know the legal obligations are here and if the FCC would impose any restrictions on a merger that would force a merged TWC-Comcast to stay in these markets for X number of years or be forced to make good on these deals.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A few items re: Friday 8/29 CFB & MLB Postseason's Effect on CFB TV Scheduling

* Three more games have been moved to Friday, August 29th over the past seven days: Villanova at Syracuse, Colorado St. vs. Colorado and Bowling Green at Western Kentucky.  Coupled with UNLV at Arizona being set for that date in March and BYU at Connecticut confirmed to air on ESPN on that date, let's note a few items:

  • ESPN2 should be carrying US Open tennis that evening as they did in 2013.  I believe that network will be off limts to college football that evening
  • Unless the timing of events happens to change, qualifying for the NASCAR race in Atlanta should air in the early evening on FOX Sports 1 as it did last year.
  • UNLV at Arizona is to kickoff at 10pm or 10:15pm ET per the release from Arizona announcing the date change.
  • BYU at Connecticut is set for an 8pm ET kickoff on ESPN
  • Per both Colorado and Colorado St., either an ESPN or FOX platform will air their game.
    • When UNLV at Arizona was announced as moving, it was not specified as to which Pac-12 TV partner would air the game
So what could happen?   I think Colorado St. vs. Colorado is the game to key off of.  For the game, the two platforms that appear to be in play are ESPNU or FOX Sports 1.  I think it would air on ESPN only if they moved up the kickoff time of BYU at Connecticut by one hour to 7pm ET.

If the Rocky Mountain Showdown airs on ESPNU, I think it puts UNLV at Arizona on FOX Sports 1 or possibly the Pac-12 Network.  If UNLV-Arizona airs on FS1, that should put Bowling Green at Western Kentucky on CBS Sports Network.  If UNLV-Arizona is on Pac-12 Networks, BG-WKU could air on FOX Sports 1.

If FOX Sports 1 takes the Rocky Mountain Showdown, UNLV at Arizona can go to ESPNU or the Pac-12 Network with Bowling Green at WKU again on CBSSN.  If FS1 takes CSU-CU and the Pac-12 Networks takes UNLV-Arizona, BG-WKU would still be on CBSSN because ESPN is not a Conference USA rightsholder.

If FS1 does air NASCAR qualifying, I think that removes them from being able to do a BG-WKU & Pac-12 doubleheader.  If they do not and ESPN takes it on (I'm not sure they would unless they tossed it to ESPNEWS), that could lead to FS1 being open to a college football doubleheader

A key decision alongside these two Pac-12 Friday games is who takes Rutgers vs. Washington St. on Thursday 8/28.  When the TV announcements get assigned in May or June, I don't know if we'll be able to tell who took one game ahead of the other though.

* Per Awful Announcing, FOX Sports executive producer John Entz announced that they planned to television their one MLB League Championship Series completely on FOX Sports 1.  Depending on how MLB's playoff schedule is set up, FS1 might have to clear a mid-afternoon or evening telecast window or two for that series.  That doesn't account for FOX's Division Series coverage of two series, with two games from those series being sublicensed to MLB Network.

I suspect FOX will work with MLB to minimize the impact to their college football coverage on any possible Thursdays conflicts along with Saturdays, along with any other events they could be contracted to carry at that time.  They had some issues with the Pac-12 over the selections for October 19th last year when FOX set aside only a single 12pm broadcast network window, outside of the times that the Pac-12 would have had a game televised.  More on that mess here.

There are currently a pair of Thursday night games that could air on FOX Sports 1, either during the LDS or LCS series.  On 10/2, FAU is at FIU and on 10/16, Utah visits Oregon St.  None yet for 10/9 and the MLB playoffs may be the reason for that.  For FAU-FIU, CBSSN could pick it up. ESPN could take Utah-Oregon St. and pair it with Virginia Tech-Pitt as a doubleheader if FS1 has MLB that evening.  

Would FOX Sports 2 be an option?  Maybe, but does either game scream out nationally as can't miss, driving people to demand FOX Sports 2?  In my opinion, not really.  Utah & Oregon are states where Comcast has a large number of subscribers and I've heard mixed messages about where Comcast has been carrying FOX Sports 2 as it seems to be available on some Comcast systems, but isn't on most.  

FSN wouldn't be an option for Utah-Oregon St.  Maybe for FAU-FIU.   NBA is not yet in season and the NHL is just starting up, so there might not be many regional pre-emptions, but FSN isn't a full national platform anymore and it doesn't seem useful for FAU and FIU to move a game that wouldn't be shown everywhere.  Airing it on FOX College Sports would seem to be a waste too.