Sunday, May 7, 2017

How I Go About Those Weekly CFB TV Guesses

I don't have much to write about at this point.  I try to stay narrowly focused on college football & men's college basketball and right now the topics are either limited or non-existent, so I figured this would be a neat "behind the curtain" post about how I've went about those weekly CFB TV guesses,  These guidelines don't apply to those ones done in advance of the season, but the guesses of the 12 day picks that would occur on Mondays during the season.

Setup work
The first things I try to make sure I do is head to media sites that FOX, CBS and ESPN operate and note the start times of the telecast windows they have scheduled for their networks.  From there, if any games have already been placed for a specific start time and/or television network, I'll try to plug them in first.  Example of those would be any Big Ten games set aside as night games and/or homecoming games set for a specific start time.  I'll also work to look for any selection rules that need to be adhered to, particularly as the season progresses.

Order of operations
From here, I'll start with the SEC and choose the game I think will air on CBS.  After that, I'll figure out any SEC game(s) to air on ESPN and SEC Network.  I usually slot the top SEC Network as the fourth best SEC game of any given week.  There are exceptions to this in the 12 day process, such as the couple weeks where CBS has two SEC games.

After that, I'll slot in the Big Ten games.  Starting this year I'll have to take into consideration the number of windows available on FOX Sports, but in previous seasons I'd place the Big Ten games, usually at 12pm and 3:30pm ET.  Also, if I felt the ACC had the best overall game for the week, I'd set that for 8pm ET on ABC to get that out of the way.

The next tier I usually slotted was a combination of the Big 12 and Pac-12.  I'd usually try to take into account the number of windows on FOX Sports along with the start times, which usually gave a reasonable indicator of which conference had the broadcast network games.  For both conferences, I'd often work backwards based on the number of Pac-12 Networks telecast windows & if FSN was scheduled for the Big 12.  With both conferences having a fixed number of games for their TV packages (ESPN & FOX Sports with 22 Pac-12 games each, ESPN with 23 Big 12 games, FOX Sports with the remaining Big 12 games minus one game per school), I can usually figure out the number of games per network in a given week, but can't always figure out who has that first choice.

I'll probably look to continue placing a portion of the Big Ten in before the Big 12 and Pac-12, but not the conference in full, now that ESPN and FOX Sports will be splitting the rights of three conferences.

The ACC comes up next.  At this point, I'll make a few adjustments as the ACC may have multiple worthwhile games compared to the Big Ten or Big 12.  I'll also use advance listings to figure our the number of ACC RSN games and if there might be split telecast window for the syndicated ACC Network.

Next up is the American, Mountain West (usually ESPN Networks only) and BYU.  Those three entities will often take up any remaining openings on ESPN Networks or CBS Sports Network.  Lastly, any openings set aside for the MAC on CBS Sports Network will get filled, along with any openings for the Sun Belt Conference.  If there's any remaining games, and there usually are, I'll note the games that would air on ESPN3.

Conference USA isn't listed here because the majority of their television appearances are set before the season and are often capped far in advance.  Usually a couple C-USA games for ESPN are set to air on ESPN Networks but don't have a network or start time finalized, so I'll set those as needed in with the other Group of Five conferences.  At the end, my goal is to make sure I don't miss listing any games, though that has happened to me lately with the early season selections.

If anything, you could look at that & say "wow, there's some clear bias towards the Power 5 when it comes to TV selections that you project", but I'd argue that I'm following the trends that the networks themselves seem to be using as they try to schedule as best they can to get people to watch their games.

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