Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Notes on the 2018 ACC, American & C-USA Football Schedule Releases


I lumped these three together because I wanted to have enough content to write about.  To be clear, expect the majority of these to be about the first two conferences listed.

* Here's a reasonable guess of the ESPN Thursday Night Schedule based on the ACC & American taking up the majority of the schedule and accounting for the expected weeks when FOX likely couldn't take a game for FS1 due to MLB playoffs.

8/30: Northwestern at Purdue (hey man, its what we got right now)
9/6: None. ESPN has to skip due to US Open commitments (women's semifinals)
9/13: Boston College at Wake Forest
9/20: Tulsa at Temple (pending finalized NFL schedule)
9/27: North Carolina at Miami (FL)
10/4: Tulsa at Houston
10/11: Let's assume Texas Tech at TCU with FS1 likely on MLB duty
10/18: Let's assume Stanford at Arizona St. with FS1 likely on MLB duty
10/25: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, which should send Baylor at West Virginia to FOX Sports
11/1: Temple at UCF
11/8: Wake Forest at NC State
11/15: Tulane at Houston
11/22: Mississippi St. at Ole Miss

For 8/30, Northwestern at Purdue doesn't feel like a likely opener for ESPN.  I could certainly see them working on another game, maybe from the SEC to relieve a potential glut of SEC Network-worthy games.

As for Baylor at West Virginia (more likely than not?) on FOX Sports on 10/25, that should be an off day within the World Series.

* I'll sketch out the Friday night schedule later in the spring once the remaining conference schedules appear, likely in early March.  There's plenty of Fridays where there's at least two games scheduled if you work through the 2018 schedule, including potential for at least some Friday night doubleheaders.  One Friday game to note is TCU at SMU on 9/7.  It is airing on the same evening as the US Open men's semifinals, which are required to air on ESPN per contract, so look for the football game on in the place it has often aired on this particular Friday: ESPN2.

* The UCF at Connecticut game on 8/30 was excluded from the list of Thursday night games airing on ESPN in the American's schedule release.  My guess is that CBS Sports Network could end up with a doubleheader of American games with the back half being Wake Forest at Tulane.

* I'm unsure what the potential plan is for ESPN in the event Tulsa at Temple has to move back to Saturday 9/22.  Temple's schedule release did not give Friday 9/21 as an option and the American has FAU at UCF scheduled for that evening.  There are two C-USA games that week involving Power 5 opponents (NC State at Marshall & Virginia Tech at Old Dominion).  I suspect they could end up wait until the Mountain West's schedule is finalized and take a game from there if needed.

I can't speak to the odds of the Eagles playing two Thursday night games in the first three weeks of the season, but I've seen recent examples of teams playing back-to-back Thursday night games, such as the Lions (2015) & Cowboys (2017) both playing on Thanksgiving and the Thursday after at home.

* Both the ACC and American released their Friday night games without TV partners, which has been par for the course with the ACC for the past few seasons, but new with the American.  I think we'll know more about any American games sent over to CBSSN around the same time the Mountain West sets their weeknight schedule.

Memphis at SMU on 11/16 might be more likely to get sent to CBSSN since ESPN Networks often has MBK events around this date and tends to take a western located football game.  CBSSN has also happened to air college football around this particular date in the past four years.

* Notice that Navy did not have any TV information next to their home games.  Their agreement with CBSSN expired.  The American does require between 80-90% of their conference controlled games to air on national TV, so there's a few things that could happen:
  • ESPN and CBSSN expand their sublicensing terms for football to include a few more football games, regardless of the competing teams.
  • ESPN works with the conference to allow for a few more streaming games.
  • An agreement is reached to continue the previous Navy-CBSSN agreement until the end of the current rights agreement.  I suppose that would be similar to the first option listed, but this one explicitly calls out the Navy games and treats them differently since they're not a full member of the conference.
* A couple folks asked about when there would be some news about Conference USA's rights agreements, which are up for negotiation except for beIN Sports.  I don't have any information to provide.  Last time out, the agreements were announced in May.  As mentioned above, 9/22 is the date with C-USA's most valuable games, which might leave ESPN out of those and without knowing the Mountain West schedule, I can't say whether CBS Sports Network would be in play for them either if they continue as a rightsholder.


Anonymous said...

UNC-Miami for 9/27 would also depend on the NFL schedule since the Hurricanes have their home games in the Dolphins' stadium.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

This is true, but for whatever reason, the NFL schedule was not called out in the case of UNC-Miami. I don't know if the Temple item is actually a clue regarding the NFL schedule or not.

Unknown said...

can't see any chance Eagles have two Thursday games in first three weeks, week two opponent would be off the short week and no reason to schedule the Eagles for another Thursday game