Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Looking over today's ACC & American kickoff time announcements

Here's the early season ACC controlled TV selections, along with the kickoff times for the Thursday & Friday night games.  There was also a shift in the kickoff time for BYU at Connecticut & a kickoff time set for UCF at East Carolina.  Some brief thoughts:

* Kickoff time for Clemson's road game at Georgia, along with any other non-conference game where the ACC is the road team, should be announced as the conference controlling the TV rights works with their TV partners.  Working under the assumption that CBS isn't airing a game on 8/30 as they should have US Open tennis, a late afternoon kickoff on ESPN (5pm or 5:30pm ET) sounds about right as it would lead into the LSU-Wisconsin game from Houston starting at 9pm ET.  Since it is a SEC home game, ABC cannot show it and I don't think it would air on ESPN2 at 12pm or ESPNU.

* I am under the impression that the ACC RSN night game on 9/6 (The Citadel at Florida St.) means that there could be SEC, Big 12 and/or C-USA games on FOX RSNs in the early & mid afternoon that day.  There do not seem to be many conflicts for the SEC RSNs carrying at 4pm, so that could end up as their window.  The earlier window coincides with a FOX broadcast network MLB window, where there are only two games being played & both airing on the network.

* On 9/13, it appears that ABC will have a tripleheader with East Carolina at Virginia Tech possibly airing at 12pm ET.  It is possible the game could be:

  1. Reverse mirrored with an American, Big 12 or Big Ten game, along with a SEC game on ESPN or ESPN2 nationally
  2. Air regionally on ABC alongside an American or Big 12 game.  To my knowledge, these three conferences do not have requirements that every ABC game be 100% national either through ABC solely or through a reverse mirror.
  3. They don't bother with the reverse mirror (personal preference of mind) and just air a game each on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.  

Also on 9/13, I think the USC at Boston College is headed for ESPN or ESPN2.  UCLA vs. Texas from AT&T Stadium still seems like the best available game for ABC.  Can't see a reverse mirror situation here with two Los Angeles schools playing at the same time.

* The kickoff time for BYU at Connecticut has moved up one hour to 7pm ET.  Mildly important, because it keeps ESPN alive to air a Pac-12 game afterwards if they so desire.  When I said that I thought Colorado St. vs. Colorado was destined for FOX Sports 1 and UNLV at Arizona penciled into Pac-12 Networks, that was this morning (written last night when UTSA at Houston moved from ESPNEWS to ESPNU) and the kickoff time change happened today.

If either one happens to air on ESPN, I'd expect a 10:15pm ET start, possibly a 10pm ET start if they were to select the Colorado game to allow the game to kick off shortly after 8pm MT.  With that said, or written, UNLV at Arizona to me would be a better fit if they are trying to box the Connecticut game into a three hour window or 3:15 slot, a pet peeve of mine because these games rarely go three hours or less.  UNLV at Arizona could start at 7:15pm local time and fit nicely.

* With the move of UTSA at Houston to ESPNU from ESPNEWS, the game now falls under the "primary" TV portion of the American's TV deal.  A minimum of twenty-eight conference controlled games are to air on a mix ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.  Seventeen games have been selected to air on those networks so far.

* The last item involves the kickoff time for UCF at East Carolina on 12/4 and it is more for the basketball implications.  There are four games that evening on ESPN's networks from the SEC-Big 12 challenge.  With the football game on ESPN at 7:30pm, it locks that channel out of airing any basketball games, so expect those games to air on a mix of ESPN2, ESPNU and possibly ESPNEWS for the Big 12 home games.

A reverse situation exists for the games on 12/5.  The MAC football championship is on ESPN2, probably at 8pm, so it appears that the Kentucky at Texas & Florida at Kansas games could be bundled as a doubleheader on ESPN with the Missouri at Oklahoma game on ESPNU or ESPNEWS.  Over the past three years, ESPN has bypassed airing a NBA game opposite the MAC title game twice, choosing instead to show doubleheaders from the former Big East-SEC challenge.  Last year, ESPN aired a NBA game before showing the Kentucky vs. Baylor game from Arlington.  I think its reasonable to assume they'll go back to the arrangement of no NBA game that evening.

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