Friday, January 9, 2015

A few items on the early CFB schedule for 2015

Was looking over the first few weeks of the college football schedule for 2015.  Should be noted that it is far from complete.  A few items noticed by others and me:

* As you may know, ESPN will have US Open tennis coverage starting in 2015.  The press release notes the following:

  • All day coverage over Labor Day weekend, including Saturday 9/5
  • Women's semifinals on 2nd Thursday (9/10), presumably at night
  • Men's semfinals on 2nd Friday (9/11), again presumably at night
  • Women's final in mid-afternoon on Saturday 9/12
I don't think there is a big impact to ESPN's college football programming on the first Saturday.  The schedule, as currently composed, doesn't have a great deal of compelling games.  They don't really need to overcompensate with an extra ABC window, for example.  ESPN may try to spread out their schedule as much as possible over four days, including Sunday.

As for 9/10, that would be the opening night of the NFL season.  The last couple years ESPN has had US Open quarterfinal matches against the NFL opening night, so they had dueling coverage on ESPN & ESPN2.  Now that it is just the semifinal matches, one of their channels may free up and they could go back to airing a football game this evening.

Something that also can be factored in is that the US Open, in terms of programming hours, can be considered a partial replacement of the NASCAR races that ESPN would have aired in previous years.

* FOX has conflicts related to NASCAR, UFC and MLB throughout the year

  • UFC has four PPVs tentatively scheduled and three FOX Sports 1 Saturday Fight Nights though football.  FS1 typically carries the prelim matches for the PPVs, though on occassion they can be shown on FS2.
  • Both FOX and FS1 should have one MLB window per Saturday through 10/3, with the playoff windows to be determined in September.
  • NASCAR trucks will have four Friday night races, one in September & three in November, along with three Saturday races.
* 9/12 represents an interesting Saturday for the SEC and possibly CBS.  With this being a regular season mostly built into thirteen week with the fourteenth week hosting the SEC Championship game, CBS could air ten singleheaders and two doubleheaders (one 12pm-3:30pm doubleheader & one at 3:30pm-8pm).  With three intraconference games, plus Oklahoma at Tennessee, there is plenty of good SEC content to go around.  

In other words, I can envision CBS passing on the 9/5 SEC schedule (it isn't great and ESPN has the neutral site games), but carrying a game each week after that.  And I don't think they have to give up a doubleheader to do it.

* Briefly looked over the American Athletic Conference's non-conference schedule.  My expectation is that you will see one or two conference games on 9/12, provided the schools' non-conference schedules stay as is (some schools have not placed dates on each game).  I would expect Navy to play a conference game on 9/12 due to the way their non-conference schedule is spread out.

* The available games for the Big 12 & Pac-12 on 9/12 are a bit uninspiring.  This is the time of year where networks work to make schedules a bit more favorable to themselves.  I could see FOX looking to move, say, a Big 12 conference game to 9/12 and move games over to 9/26, a week that is a bit lighter on the schedule.  Since it would be non-conference games moving from 9/12, that requires of a dance with either FCS schools or other FBS conferences.

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