Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Notes for 2015-16 MBK, CFB scheduling and MLB Postseason

* The War on I-4 (USF at UCF) has moved to Thanksgiving night on ESPN which will keep a streak alive of Thanksgiving night college football games for the network.  At one point, ESPN appeared to be trying to sway LSU to move their home game vs. Texas A&M, but LSU held firm in its stance that they would not play on a Thursday night at home.

Moving games to Black Friday are typically about national TV, with the exception of the MAC who prefers to give its schools a full week to prepare for their conference championship game (though they will have a game on CBSSN on 11/27) and, in 2015, Georgia St. as Georgia Tech will be hosting Georgia on 11/28 as both GSU & GT are located in Atlanta (Troy has done to stay away from the Iron Bowl too).  In late May, Tulane agreed to move their home game vs. Tulsa from 11/28 to 11/27 to avoid a conflict with the Bayou Classic being played at he Superdome.  That move may have precipitated ESPN asking about moving other games around so that one of the American games didn't have to end up on ESPN3, though the number of college football telecast windows for Black Friday is unknown at this time.

By moving the USF-UCF, scheduling for MBK and CFB on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on 11/27 might look something like this, accounting for the slotting of Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh, Iowa at Nebraska, Tulsa at Tulane and Navy at Houston:

ABC: Doubleheader at 12pm & 3:30pm
ESPN: 3rd place & championship of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the afternoon and Baylor at TCU in the evening
ESPN2: Football at 11am or 11:30am then basketball the rest of the day
ESPNU: Basketball in the afternoon, then a college football game in the evening.

* MLB has released its postseason dates for each round of the playoffs and the dates that FOX Sports will carry games.  Compared to last year, there are very few conflicts.
  • FS1 does not have any Thursday or Friday night football games during the period of time when the network would carry the ALDS and ALCS.
  • The CONCACAF playoff between the US and Mexico, moved from 10/9 to 10/10, will not have any postseason conflicts as the ALDS is off that day.
  • ALCS games 2 (10/17) and 7 (10/24 if needed) fall on Saturdays.
    • For 10/17, FS1 has a five hour window (approximately 4pm-9pm ET) open.  Their college football window on FOX is a 4pm game, so they have the ability to be flexible on both channels.
    • On 10/24, FOX's college football window is at 7:30pm ET.  Since this would be game 7, it would likely air in primetime and if it airs on FOX, their CFB game could move to FS1 or to FOX earlier in the day.  FS1 is free after a 12pm game. and already set up to air a game at night right now.
  • World Series game 4 on FOX should be at night and FOX's college football window is at 3:30pm ET.
* I'm unsure why the MGM Grand Main Event has not yet announced its time & TV plans.  I am under the impression that it is with ESPN as a rightsholder, but it is possible that the deal was only for one year or TV possibilities are being worked on by the event's coordinators, bd Global.

The other event not yet set for television, nor has had any bracket information announced, is the Great Alaska Shootout.  As I understand it, the agreement with CBSSN expired and both sides were working to finalize a new deal.

* Per this release from the D2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Sinclair's American Sports Network will be the rightsholder to the NCAA's Division II football package, replacing CBS Sports Network it appears.  If I counted right, seven D2 games will air on ASN, all on Saturdays, which is a switch from CBSSN who showed them on Thursday nights.

The ASN schedule is located here.

* Took a look at what has been announced for the Big East's non-conference schedules as only Georgetown has yet to publicly release their schedule.  Some known conflicts:
  • Games on 11/13 (five games) and 11/20 (just ETSU at Villanova for now) should air on FS2 or FSN.  FS1 will have NASCAR truck series races those evenings.  CBSSN does not have the space to pick up games on these dates due to previously scheduled events (Veterans Classic on 11/13 and both the Paradise Jam and Cincinnati at USF CFB on 11/20.
  • Games on 11/14 (five games), 11/21 (just Brown at Providence for now) and 11/28 (four games, including Georgia at Seton Hall) will likely suffer the same fate of FS2 & FSN due to college football and UFC conflicts.  CBSSN does not have the space to pick up games on these dates due to full college football schedules.  FSN's availability is also limited due to two planned CFB telecast windows on these dates.
  • December 5th has five games available, including Syracuse at Georgetown.  There will a Big 12 game in the mid-afternoon on FS1, potentially Bundesliga on FS1 and/or FS2 and the Big Ten Championship on FOX in the evening.
  • December 11th and 12th may have UFC events in the evening.  The 11th does not have any games scheduled yet, but the 12th does, including Cincinnati at Xavier and Tennessee at Butler, so those may end up in the afternoon.
  • December 8th will have a Premier Boxing Champions event on FS1 at 9pm ET, so one game will likely move to another outlet.
* The SEC will release its men's basketball conference schedule tomorrow.  My expectation is that it will include TV information.  You might see the Super Tuesday schedule from the Big Ten and SEC today if it precedes the rest of the conference schedule like the Big Monday schedule did for the ACC and Big 12.

* ESPN has released their Tip Off Marathon schedule (start with Monday at 5:30pm ET & end on Tuesday at 10pm).  It culminates again with the Champions Classic doubleheader.  In terms of home teams, three will come from the A-10 and two each from the SEC, Big West and Pac-12.

I also believe the Georgetown-Maryland game, which it might end up being a mismatch, got the short end of the stick with respect to scheduling as it will be on ESPN concurrently with the Champions Classic.  I personally would have swapped it with the Oklahoma at Memphis game.  If you don't know the history of why this game hasn't been played, the Baltimore Sun goes into some details.

There is also a one hour break between 12pm and 1pm ET.  I assume this is to allow people to stretch their legs, expel the caffeine they've consumed to get through the late night/early morning games and just take stock in their lives ;).

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