Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Mock Draft for the Big Ten with ESPN & FOX Using 2015

Had a comment left on the Big Ten/ESPN agreement blog post asking to try to do a mock draft of Big Ten weeks for FOX and ESPN based on 2015.  Granted, this is steeped in hindsight since the season was played, but here's how it might go.

What isn't known at the moment is the selection order within a given week.  For example, if FOX gets the first pick on a given week, do they alternate with ESPN and where does BTN fit in?

Here's the top available games for each week in 2015.  Added in a few BTN games.  Apologies in advance if your game isn't listed:

9/5 - Stanford at Northwestern & BYU at Nebraska
9/12 - Oregon at Michigan St. & Oregon St. at Michigan
9/19 - Air Force at Michigan St., Virginia Tech at Purdue, Rutgers at Penn St., Pittsburgh at Iowa
9/26 - BYU at Michigan
10/3 - Iowa at Wisconsin, Ohio St. at Indiana
10/10 - Northwestern at Michigan, Wisconsin at Nebraska
10/17 - Penn St. at Ohio St., Iowa at Northwestern, Michigan St. at Michigan
10/24 - Ohio St. at Rutgers, Northwestern at Nebraska
10/31 - Games of similar stature
11/7 - Minnesota at Ohio St., Michigan St. at Nebraska
11/14 - Ohio St. at Illinois
11/21 - Michigan St. at Ohio St., Michigan at Penn St., Northwestern at Wisconsin
11/28 - Ohio St. at Michigan, Penn St. at Michigan St. & Rivalry Games

And here's the order I would choose the weeks, alternating FOX and ESPN with FOX going first.

FOX: 11/28, 9/12, 10/17, 9/19, 10/10, 11/7, 10/31
ESPN: 11/21, 9/5, 10/3, 9/26, 10/24, 11/14, 10/10

So these might be the games that end up on ESPN and FOX using 2015 as a guideline and I'm aware BTN ended up with a few of these games.  Again, some of these weeks would be picked coming into the season, some during the season.  As some schools still don't have lights, that would also affect the network decisions being made.

BYU at Nebraska
Oregon St. at Michigan
Pittsburgh at Iowa
BYU at Michigan
Ohio St. at Indiana
Wisconsin at Nebraska
Michigan St. at Michigan
Ohio St. at Rutgers
Michigan St. at Nebraska
Ohio St. at Illinois
Michigan St. at Ohio St.
Northwestern at Wisconsin
Penn St. at Michigan St.

Stanford at Northwestern
Oregon at Michigan St.
Rutgers at Penn St.
Iowa at Wisconsin
Northwestern at Michigan
Penn St. at Ohio St.
Iowa at Northwestern
Northwestern at Nebraska
Minnesota at Ohio St.
Michigan at Penn St.
Michigan at Ohio St.
Best of 10/31

And this is a bit of a futile exercise, because we don't know where BTN will fit in, if homecoming games will continue to have their start times set far in advance, how many night games will require advance notice beyond 12 days for the purpose of renting lights, etc.  The need to rent lights will lessen with I believe twelve of the fourteen schools having permanent lights by the time the contract starts in 2017.  Michigan St. intends to install permanent lights in time for the 2017 season, leaving Purdue and Northwestern with the only stadiums to not have permanent lights.

This exercise also works with the Big Ten in a vacuum and not taking into account the fact that the Big 12 and Pac-12 have similar processes for the determination of which weeks both FOX and ESPN will pick first, along with a external programming decisions (MLB postseason, US Open tennis, etc.)


Hokie Mark said...

Awesome work, Matt! This is really a gold mine of information which will take a while to digest it all.

While I wrap my mind around what you've already done, I have another question for you: when Notre Dame plays at USC, how do you see that fit into the whole Fox / ESPN selection process for Rivalry Week?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

See I don't know, again because of all three (Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) having their own unique ways of determining selection orders. The Big 12's seems to be similar to the what the Big Ten will do (a draft of weeks), except that FOX and ESPN will alternate the first choice of weeks with FOX in even numbered seasons and ESPN in odd numbered ones. Then there's the Pac-12 where the draft of weeks seems to apply as well, but there's the ability to pre-select two games in advance of the draft of weeks(?), plus the third entity of the Pac-12 Networks which has the top choice or 2nd choice a few times a year.

Notre Dame at USC should be grouped with Notre Dame at Stanford since that seems to be an alternating game. Notre Dame at USC was reserved by ESPN in 2012 for ABC and FOX got the game in Palo Alto in 2013. Both entities got a ND game in 2014 with Arizona St. (ABC) and USC (ND) both hosting ND, so they both could have pre-picked a ND game. Last year, FOX took the game in Palo Alto.

The pattern that could be occurring is that the network not showing the Pac-12 football championship gets the first chance to pre-select a regular season game. The same seems to be true with the Big 12 as FOX will have the championship game in odd numbered years, which are the ones where ESPN will have the first pick of weeks to choose first.

Hokie Mark said...

There are a lot of variables, to be sure. One other question I thought of: with ABC/ESPN already guaranteed Rivalry Week games from the ACC and SEC, plus a shot at Big XII and Pac-12 games, too... I wonder if Fox would have the guts to pass on that week with their 1st pick and take a chance that it would still be available with their 2nd pick? Even if ESPN took it, they'd get Ohio St/Michigan but Fox would likely be left with a very good Big Ten game PLUS maybe some top Big XII and Pac-12 games...

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Mark, I personally wouldn't leave it to chance. Ohio St.-Michigan is typically one of the highest rated games of the season and something that FOX, in my opinion, would want to hang its hat on every year they can. Similar to FS1 airing Oklahoma vs. Texas this year, which may or may not be a lead in to any MLB Division Series games depending on how MLB schedules the postseason. In 2014, FS1 carried NLDS game 2 between Washington & San Francisco on Saturday 10/4, a comparable date based on the NLDS starting on a Thursday.

Unknown said...

What are your predictions for Rivalry Week?
Imo, now that the B12 will have a CCG, OU-OkSt and UT-TTU will be on Thanksgiving Weekend.

Does FOX or ESPN have any chance at taking USC/Stanford vs. Notre Dame AND UMich-OSU?

Also, will Heroes Game stay on Friday?
Do any other games move to Friday?

Also, kind of unrelated, is hockey mentioned at all in this contract? Notre Dame joined as a hockey-only member and Minnesota and UMich have large fanbases. Will FS1/2 or ESPN/2/U pick up more games?