Saturday, February 28, 2015

Some notes on the MAC & Sun Belt schedule releases, plus the potential scheduling of the Gavitt Tipoff games

* The MAC & Sun Belt released their schedules on Friday, leaving the Mountain West as the only FBS conference to not release an intraconference schedule.  I assume that a finalized BYU schedule, specifically additional weeknight games or potentially a change in opponents as there are four Mountain West schools on the Cougars' 2015 schedule, is tied to the MW schedule.   With that said, two of the MW opponents for BYU are part of agreements encompassing more than a home-home series (Boise St. and Utah St.).

On the MAC and Sun Belt schedules, there are a few notable items
  • Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan was moved to Thursday, 9/3 from Saturday, 9/5.  It does have the appearance of being moved for a national telecast, possibly on ESPNU.
  • Missouri at Arkansas St. remains on Saturday 9/12 for now and may remain there.  ESPN has to carry the US Open men's semifinal matches that night, so if the game were to be moved to Friday for television coverage, it would likely air on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
  • The MAC release notes that their late October and November television appearances could air on ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and potentially other national television outlets.  What does this mean?  Could be a couple things:
    • ESPN is still in the planning phases for the '15 season and looking for places where they could potentially air games on ESPNEWS.
    • A sublicense agreement to a national television outlet is being worked on.  MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher hinted at this in an interview with the Hustle Belt SB Nation site in late September.
  • Regarding the last bullet point, two Thursday dates point to the work being done: 10/29 and 11/5.  On both of these dates, a Sun Belt game hosted by an eastern time zone school is airing on ESPNU.  On the MAC side of the house, two games each were set aside on both dates.  All four games are hosted by eastern time zone schools.  There are ways ESPN can keep all four games in-house by spreading the MAC games over ESPN2, ESPNEWS or ESPN3, though I am not sure they would use ESPN2.
* The Champions Classic men's basketball event televised by ESPN will be played on Tuesday 11/17/15.  Assuming the college basketball season starts on Friday 11/13/15 as Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh will play in the Armed Forces Classic that day, that should put the Gavitt Tipoff games between the Big East and Big Ten to also start on 11/17/15 and finish on Friday 11/20/15.

I will be curious to see how Michigan St. is rotated into the series and if they will play a game in it as part of the 2015 & 2016 matchups as they are committed to the Champions Classic through 2016.  If they do happen to appear one of those years, I would expect them to be slotted in on a Thursday or Friday date and a Friday date to be the preference.  For 2015, also look for the following schools to be skipped or to play a game early in the schedule due to participation in another event on 11/19 & 11/20.  All courtesy of Blogging the Bracket:
  • Butler & Minnesota (Puerto Rico Tipoff)
  • Seton Hall (Charleston Classic)
  • Georgetown & Wisconsin (2K Sports Classic)
  • DePaul (Paradise Jam)
Purdue is also scheduled for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off on 11/21.  They, along with Georgetown & Wisconsin, would also host two opponents potentially that week as part of their respective events.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Early Guess at Week 3 CFB on TV for 2015 (9/17/15 - 9/19/15)

Week three is the last week of the season before most Saturday kickoffs are decided twelve days in advance of the game.

Games to air on syndication packages like American Sports Network or as webcast exclusives (ie. MW Network, ESPN3, C-USA DN) are not listed.  Note that the MAC, Mountain West & Sun Belt schedules have not yet been released, but I don't believe a intraconference game involving those three conferences will have a major impact.

7:30pm ESPN: Clemson at Louisville (confirmed for this date)
7:30pm FS1: Rice at North Texas

* FS1 is scheduled to carry a NASCAR truck series race at 8:30pm ET.  They should be able to carry the New Mexico at Arizona St. game based on the tentative start time of 10pm ET as the race should take up around 90 minutes of air time.  To give some breathing room between the race and the game, I think the football game will start at 10:15pm ET.
* Because East Carolina at Navy was scheduled for 9/19 along with Wake Forest at Army likely occupying the 12pm slot that day, I believe that CBSSN will select either Arizona at Nevada or Utah at Fresno St. for a move to Friday night.  Chose the Fresno St. game in this scenario, especially with Arizona St. moving their game to Friday.

8pm ESPN: Florida St. at Boston College (confirmed for this date)
10pm CBSSN: Utah at Fresno St.
10:15pm FS1: New Mexico at Arizona St.

* I am assuming a 8pm FS1 MLB game.  Could always move to 7pm, moving the BYU at UCLA game up 30 minutes to 3:30pm ET.  A 1pm FOX MLB telecast window has already been scheduled based on existing printed MLB schedules.
* If ABC were to not use a 12pm window, they could show both SMU at TCU & Nebraska at Miami  regionally on ABC without a reverse mirror, then show both Pittsburgh at Iowa & Rutgers at Penn St. nationally on ESPN & ESPN2.

12pm ABC: Nebraska at Miami (FL)
12pm ESPN: South Carolina at Georgia
12pm ESPN2: Virginia Tech at Purdue
12pm FS1: Tulsa at Oklahoma
12pm ESPNU: USF at Maryland
12pm ESPNEWS: Northwestern at Duke
12pm FSN: UTSA at Oklahoma St.
12pm CBSSN: Wake Forest at Army (semi-confirmed)
12pm BTN: UNLV at Michigan
12pm BTN: Kent St. at Minnesota
12pm SEC: Connecticut at Missouri
12pm SEC: Western Carolina at Tennessee
12:30pm ACC Network: Central Michigan at Syracuse
12:30pm ACC RSNs: William & Mary at Virginia
1pm Pac-12: Colorado St. vs Colorado
3:30pm ABC/ESPN: SMU at TCU
3:30pm ABC/ESPN: Rutgers at Penn St.
3:30pm CBS: Ole Miss at Alabama
3:30pm NBC: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
3:30pm ESPN2: Pittsburgh at Iowa
3:30pm ESPNU: Illinois at North Carolina
3:30pm FSN: Louisiana Tech at Kansas St.
3:30pm CBSSN: East Carolina at Navy (confirmed)
3:30pm BTN: Northern Illinois at Ohio St.
3:30pm BTN: Air Force at Michigan St.
4pm FS1: BYU at UCLA
4pm SEC: Austin Peay at Vanderbilt
4:30pm Pac-12: San Jose St. at Oregon St.
4:30pm Pac-12: Wyoming at Washington St.
7pm ESPN2: Texas Tech at Arkansas
7pm ESPNU: Nevada at Texas A&M
7pm CBSSN: NC State at Old Dominion
7:30pm FOX: California at Texas
7:30pm SEC: Florida at Kentucky
7:30pm SEC: Northwestern St. at Mississippi St.
7:45pm ESPN: Auburn at LSU
8pm ABC: Stanford at USC
8pm BTN: Troy at Wisconsin
8pm BTN: Western Kentucky at Indiana
10pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona
10pm Pac-12: Georgia St. at Oregon
10:30pm ESPN2: Utah St. at Washington

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A few CFB scheduling notes (American, BYU, Pac-12) for 2015

The American Athletic Conference's 2015 football schedule came out Thursday.  Here's a few notes regarding the TV side.

* The release notes that 80% of the football games will air on a national television platform, such as ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS or CBS Sports Network..  That number is 68 games.  That number does not include the six Navy home games that CBS Sports Network will carry that are part of separate television deal between Navy & CBS signed before Navy's entrance to the conference as a football only member.  It also does not include the conference championship game nor the Army-Navy football game.

Based on 68 games, the approximate number of televised football games should be 54 games.  Assuming the number of games required to air on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU remains 28 games, ESPNEWS and CBS Sports Network should be splitting the remaining 26 games, which CBSSN has chosen two games from already.  ESPN3 and/or regional networks would then carry about 14 games.

Here are the games currently scheduled for television covered by the American's TV deal.

* The choice of network, or network flex options, of some of the weeknight games that ESPN has chosen are interesting and could potentially point to other games being aired on ESPN's platforms
  • Friday 9/4 - Baylor at SMU will air on ESPN or ESPNU.  ESPN2 should be carrying the US Open tennis tournament in the evening, provided they do not sell off some of the coverage to another network.  Another game currently scheduled for that evening is Michigan St. at Western Michigan.  That MAC game could become the other game flexed between those two networks.
  • Friday 10/2 - Memphis at USF will air on ESPN or ESPN2 while Connecticut at BYU has the option to air on those two networks plus ESPNU.  BYU has been scheduled for a Friday night ESPNU game before and other programming possibilities could dictate where each game airs.  A doubleheader on a single network is possible as well instead of staggered starts on two separate channels.
  • Thursday 10/10 - SMU at Houston airing on ESPN2 could point to Washington at USC airing on ESPN.  FOX Sports 1 could be airing MLB playoff coverage at this time, so they might not be an option for Washington at USC.
  • Thursday 10/24 - Temple at East Carolina airing on either ESPN or ESPN2.  Similar to 10/10 where FOX Sports 1 could have MLB playoff coverage and ESPN potentially picking up California at UCLA for ESPN.
  • Friday 11/7 - The potential for Temple at SMU to air on ESPNU.  It appears the college basketball season could be starting the following week.  The 2015 Champions Classic is scheduled for 11/17 and that is typically when ESPN's 24 hour basketball marathon starts and that is usually the first full week of hoops.  ESPNU might be airing hoops if the season starts on 11/13 or earlier that week.  ESPN2 is the other option for Temple at SMU and that makes sense as ESPN should have their typical Friday NBA coverage during that time.
* Several of the network flex options for ESPN could also involve the forthcoming schedule releases for the MAC, Mountain West, BYU and Sun Belt.  For example, Boise St. may have let it slip that the road game at BYU would remain on a Saturday during a release touting their home game vs. Idaho St. moving to a Friday night.

Besides the Connecticut game scheduled for the Friday before the LDS General Conference, BYU may be looking for another home game to be played on a weeknight.  Probably not the Wagner nor the previously mentioned Boise St. game.  There are two possibilities I believe:
  • I could see the Fresno St. game up for consideration as its date is currently empty.  In 2014, Utah St. played a home game on the same Friday as the championship round of the 2K Sports Classic was played prior to the game.  That might be something ESPN works out with the Mountain West as they continue to formulate their schedule.  BYU's final regular season game is on 11/28 at Utah St., so there could be a hook into that conference's schedule.
  • The other possibility is the game vs. Cincinnati on 10/17 moving up one day to 10/16.  The Houston at Tulane game is conveniently scheduled for that Friday with the flexibility of ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.  That also happens to be the time of year where ESPN might schedule a NBA preseason game to occupy one of those three networks too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A key to C-USA CFB weeknight games & broadcasters?

Purdue at Marshall was scheduled to move to Sunday, September 6th and the television broadcaster was not announced.  This really isn't a surprise the conference moved to FOX as a rightsholder as the television schedule announcement for the conference has typically been no earlier than early May.

But there might be a pattern to follow based on when the games are chosen.  To refresh your memory, FOX gets to choose ten games off the top, then CBS Sports Network gets to choose ten, then FOX can come back with another ten games.  Note that last year, CBSSN didn't use all ten selections.

Here's what I spotted since FOX Sports 1 was made available as an option for the conference.


1/30/13 - C-USA releases football schedule
2/28/13 - First set of date changes announced.  Iowa St. at Tulsa, Marshall at Middle Tenneessee & Marshall at Tulsa all move to weeknights.  All air on FS1.
4/3/13 - Second set of date changes announced.  FAU at East Carolina, Tulane at Louisiana Tech and FIU at FAU all move.  All air on FS1
4/29/13 - Third set of date changes announced.  Rice at North Texas, Rice at UAB & East Carolina at Marshall all move.  The first two air on FS1 and the third airs on CBSSN.

Note: During the summer, UCF at FIU was moved to a Friday night for what appears to be avoiding a conflict with the Florida at Miami game the next day.


2/3/14 - Conference releases schedule.  Three games are set aside right away for weeknights.  Two were selected to air on FS1.  The third, Bowling Green at Western Kentucky, is involved in a later date change.
2/17/14 - Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion moves to Friday night.  Selected by FS1.
3/3/14 - Arizona at UTSA moves to Thursday night.  Selected by FS1.
4/1/14 - Four games change dates, including the Bowling Green at Western Kentucky game moving to Friday from Thursday.  Of the four games, one airs on FS1, two on CBSSN and one on FSN.

To summarize, it appears that the date changes that happen earlier in the offseason are being initiated by FOX because they are part of their top selections.  The later date changes, or last set of date changes, look like they have the possibility of airing on CBSSN.

This bears watching during the offseason, as the pattern could end up changing.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Early Guess at Week 2 CFB on TV for 2015 (9/10/15 - 9/12/15)

2015 Week 2 College Football Schedule

EDIT: ESPN has to carry the semis and finals of both the men and women at the US Open.  Sports Business Journal confirms this.  Hat tip to Jeff Wirth.


* The last two years, FS1 has carried a C-USA game on the same day as the NFL's opening night game.
* ESPN should have capacity to air a game if they desire as they could air the US Open women's semifinals on ESPN2. and carry a game.  ESPN will carry the women's semifinals.  ESPN2 would be open.  For now, I think they will pass on a game.

8pm FS1: Kansas St. at UTSA


* The assumption is that ESPN2 ESPN will carry the US Open men's semifinal matches in the evening.

8pm FS1: Miami (FL) at FAU
9pm ESPN2: Boise St. at BYU


* Based on openings in the American, Temple at Cincinnati could be scheduled for this week.  Navy should have an opening, but their American conference opponents all have games already scheduled.
* San Jose St. at Air Force could also be scheduled for this week.  They are the only two Mountain West schools without a game for this week.
* I believe the mid-afternoon ESPN slot will be occupied by the US Open women's singles championship and ESPN2 in the early afternoon will carry the men's doubles final.  The US Open recently published its start times for the final weekend.
* FS1 will carry an MLB game at some point I believe.  I'm targeting 4pm ET.
* My opinion is that CBS will show a SEC game this week.  Three conference games are available plus the Oklahoma at Tennessee game.
* FOX, on the other hand, doesn't have a great choice for a game on their broadcast network.  It is possible there could be some minor shuffling with the schedule to get them a better option.  Here's an example of this from last year.  Without the move of Oklahoma at West Virginia to 9/20 to cover for Auburn at Kansas St. moving to Thursday 9/18, FOX's only Big 12 choice would have been Central Michigan at Kansas.
* Big 12 games not listed could end up airing on FSN or other RSNs.  Consider those four games as institutional or 3rd tier games.
* I considered moving one of the two Mountain West games to Friday, but there was enough room to show them all on Saturday.

11:30am ESPN: USF at Florida St. (confirmed)
12pm ABC: Notre Dame at Virginia
12pm FS1: Iowa at Iowa St.
12pm ESPNU: Miami (OH) at Wisconsin
12pm ESPNEWS: Indiana St. at Purdue
12pm FSN: UTEP at Texas Tech
12pm CBSSN: North Texas at SMU (if Temple at Cincinnati is scheduled, else Army at Connecticut)
12pm BTN: Washington St. at Rutgers
12pm BTN: Buffalo at Penn St.
12pm BTN: Eastern Illinois at Northwestern
12pm SEC: Jacksonville St. at Auburn
12pm SEC: Fresno St. at Ole Miss
12:30pm ACC Network: Houston at Louisville
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Tulane at Georgia Tech
2pm Pac-12: Utah St. at Utah
3:30pm CBS: Oklahoma at Tennessee
3:30pm ABC: Oregon St. at Michigan
3:30pm ESPN2: Hawai'i at Ohio St.
3:30pm ESPNU: Wake Forest at Syracuse
3:30pm CBSSN: Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky
3:30pm BTN: FIU at Indiana
3:30pm BTN: Western Illinois at Illinois
3:30pm BTN: South Alabama at Nebraska
4pm ESPNEWS: Temple at Cincinnati (if played, otherwise North Texas at SMU)
4pm SEC: Georgia at Vanderbilt
4pm SEC: Toledo at Arkansas
6pm Pac-12: Massachusetts at Colorado
6pm Pac-12: San Diego St. at California
7pm ESPN2: Middle Tennessee at Alabama
7pm ESPNU: East Carolina at Florida
7pm CBSSN: Arizona at Nevada
7:30pm FOX: Rice at Texas
7:30pm FS1: Memphis at Kansas
7:30pm SEC:Kentucky at South Carolina
7:30pm SEC: Ball St. at Texas A&M
7:45pm ESPN: LSU at Mississippi St.
8pm ABC: Oregon at Michigan St.
8pm ESPNEWS: Missouri at Arkansas St.
10pm Pac-12: Idaho at USC
10pm Pac-12: Sacramento St. at Washington
10pm Pac-12: Cal Poly at Arizona St.
10:15pm ESPNU: Minnesota at Colorado St.
10:30pm ESPN2: UCF at Stanford
10:30pm CBSSN: UCLA at UNLV

Monday, February 2, 2015

Early Guess at Week 1 CFB on TV for 2015 (9/3/15 - 9/7/15)

A few items that were considered.  I'll note them by the day of the week.  An overall note: I expect ESPN2 to be the home of evening US Open coverage during this time period and that the channel will also have all day weekend coverage.

If the game you are looking for isn't listed, it should air on a syndication package, a local TV package or webcast.

I'll take care of week two and week three at a later time.  A few more unknowns there as it looks like some intraconference games in Group of Five conferences could be slotted in for those weeks.

All times Eastern


* South Carolina, by virtue of winning a coin toss, is the home team.  Have been able to confirm that this means the SEC's TV agreements are in place
* I moved Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan to Thursday night so it could fill a slot on ESPNU.

7pm SEC: North Carolina vs. South Carolina
7:30pm ESPNU: Oklahoma St. at Central Michigan
8pm CBSSN: Duke at Tulane
8pm ESPN: TCU at Minnesota
9pm FS1: Michigan at Utah
10pm Pac-12: UTSA at Arizona
11:30pm CBSSN: Colorado at Hawai'i


* A tweet came out that Army is working to move their opener to a Friday night, similar to their opener in 2013.

* Boise St. notes that ESPN will air the Washington game on either Thursday or Friday.  I went with Friday.
* To get Purdue at Marshall on the air, I moved their game with Purdue to a Friday night.

7pm ESPN: Michigan St. at Western Michigan
7pm CBSSN: Fordham at Army
8pm FS1: Purdue at Marshall
10:15pm ESPN: Washington at Boise St.


* With an MLB game expected plus a tentatively scheduled UFC PPV and its associated prelim matches presumably on FS1, I expect the channel to only carry a game at 12pm ET.
* The NASCAR schedule has the Xfinity Series race on 9/5 at 3:30pm ET on NBC.  Right now I'm projecting the Texas at Notre Dame game to air in the evening.  I don't believe it will air in the early afternoon where NBC usually airs the Barclays Premier League, as the BPL could be off that weekend as England's national team playing a Euro qualifier on 9/5 if I read the schedule properly.
* I'm torn as to whether FOX will carry a broadcast network game or skip the week and place a second game on FS1 after the UFC prelims.  I suppose it depends on the order of games selected by the Pac-12 TV partners.
* With no FOX RSN package for the SEC, the overflow feeds will be used a bit more often I believe.
* In my opinion, nearly all of the Big 12 controlled games for 9/5 will be returned back to the schools for airing on their local packages.

12pm ESPN: BYU at Nebraska
12pm FS1: Mississippi St. at Southern Miss
12pm FSN: Georgia Southern at West Virginia
12pm ESPNU: Penn St. at Temple
12pm SEC: UL-Lafayette at Kentucky
12pm BTN: Southern Illinois at Indiana
12pm BTN: Norfolk St. at Rutgers
12:30pm ACC Network: Texas St. at Florida St.
12:30pm ACC RSNs: Troy at NC State
3pm Pac-12: Eastern Washington at Oregon
3pm Pac-12: Portland St. at Washington St.
3:30pm ABC: Auburn vs. Louisville
3:30pm ESPN: UL-Monroe at Georgia
3:30pm ESPNU: UT Martin at Ole Miss
3:30pm CBSSN: Colgate at Navy
3:30pm BTN: Richmond at Maryland
3:30pm BTN: Kent St. at Illinois
3:30pm BTN: Illinois St. at Iowa
4pm SEC: Bowling Green vs. Tennessee
4pm SEC: Southeast Missouri at Missouri
7pm ESPN: Arizona St. vs. Texas A&M
7pm ESPNU: New Mexico St. at Florida
7:30pm NBC: Texas at Notre Dame
7:30pm SEC: UTEP at Arkansas
7:30pm SEC: McNeese St. at LSU
8pm ABC: Alabama vs. Wisconsin
8pm BTN: Stanford at Northwestern
10pm FOX Sports 1: Arkansas St. at USC
10pm Pac-12: Grambling at California
10pm Pac-12: Weber St. at Oregon St.
10:30pm ESPN: Virginia at UCLA


* I'm working under the assumption that Baylor at SMU will be played as scheduled.  Have read in multiple places that the game was under consideration for being canceled.
* I'm told the Bowling Green at Tennessee game must be played on Saturday due to considerations about the possibility of a Titans preseason home game on Thursday.  Since it would mean Tennessee and Vandy playing at home on the same date, I moved the Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt game to Sunday night.

3:30pm ESPN: Baylor at SMU
7pm SEC: Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt

8pm ESPN: Ohio St. at Virginia Tech (confirmed)