Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Notes on 2016 SEC & Big Ten Early Season & Special Date Selections

Big Ten Controlled Games

* I have included the LSU vs. Wisconsin game in the Big Ten list.  I don't actually know if it falls under here, but its being played in the state of Wisconsin, so I felt it was best to list it as a Big Ten game.

* I don't believe you'll see a reverse mirror scenario with Penn St. at Pittsburgh & UCF at Michigan on 9/10 at noon ET.  One should occupy ABC nationally & the other on ESPN.  I personally feel that Penn St. at Pittsburgh should be on ABC, but ESPN's programming department knows a lot more than I do.

* Five early season games are scheduled for ESPNEWS, which is on par compared to 2015.  

* With respect to BTN appearance requirements (two appearances, at least of the two as an intraconference game), Illinois, Michigan, Ohio St., Purdue & Wisconsin need an intraconference game.  Indiana needs one more appearance, regardless of opponent.  IU is a regular participant on BTN during conference play, so a second appearance shouldn't be hard to squeeze in.

* Ohio St. already has five scheduled appearances on ABC or ESPN.  Michigan has four.

* How did Colorado at Michigan end up on BTN?  I suspect that BTN was able to leapfrog ESPN & ESPN2 to select the game.  Note that it is the only 12pm or 3:30pm game on BTN over the first three weeks that will not have a second BTN game running concurrently.  So either BTN valued the game to jump up in the order, or if it fell to them (let's be fair, Colorado's been down in football for a while), BTN valued the game enough to not schedule a second game against it.

SEC Controlled Games

* Included in the SEC's list is the Chick-Fil-A College Kickoff between North Carolina & Georgia.

* Five games, so far, have been set for the SEC Network's alternate channel.  Looking through the rest of the season.  My expectation is that the alternate channel will be required on 11/19 when eleven SEC games are available (five vs. FCS opponents).  The possibility also exists on 10/1 & 11/7, when eight games are offered.  11/7 happens to be CBS's exclusive doubleheader at 3:30pm & 8pm ET, where any games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU would be in the 12pm ET window.

* While announced earlier, I'm told that Tennessee made an exception to host Appalachian St. on a Thursday night as the stadium is on campus & classes are in session.  Parking tends to be limited in situations like these, so some accommodations are probably in flight (night classes cancelled?).

* I am working under the assumption that the UCLA at Texas A&M & Kentucky at Florida games were sublicensed from ESPN.  UCLA at Texas A&M because there were, arguably, better games available from the SEC and, in the case of Kentucky at Florida, a concurrent SEC game on ESPN2 starting at 3:30pm ET (Western Kentucky at Alabama).  In the case of both games, the appearances by Florida, Kentucky and Texas A&M should not count towards any appearance requirements on CBS, as last year's Louisville vs. Auburn & Georgia at Vanderbilt games did not.

* Twelve of the fourteen schools will make at least one SEC Network appearance over the first three weeks of the season.  Not pictured: Alabama & LSU.

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