Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 College Football Scheduling Notes

* So far, only Arizona at Hawai'i is scheduled for "Week 0".  And since 12 games can be played over 14 weeks this year, the need for "Week 0" is greatly diminished.  That said, the following FBS schools could end up moving a game to "Week 0" and/or adding a 13th game:

Oregon St.
Air Force
Fresno St.
San Diego St.
San Jose St.

The game being moved does not have to be a home game for these schools.  In my opinion, Army is the least likely to make any moves since their schedule already stretches over 16 weeks when the Army-Navy game is accounted for.

* Ohio St. at Northwestern was moved to a Friday, October 18, 2019 and in my opinion, that one will be an ESPN televised game for a couple reasons:
  1. It is right in the middle of FOX's MLB postseason coverage.  It would fall right around the Game 6-7 area of the American League Division Services, which should be on FS1.
  2. FOX broadcast network will be on its 3rd week of airing of WWE Smackdown, which starts at the beginning of October. 
It gives ESPN a nice game with a flagship college football school to counterprogram with.  If you look closer at that week, you'll see that both the Big 12 (TCU at Kansas St.) and Pac-12 (UCLA at Stanford) have Thursday night games that week.  Both conferences have a full compliment of games on Saturday 10/19 too.  Don't know if that means ESPN is going to take all three games that week because they'll have several selections from those conferences & FOX could be limited in the number of TV windows.

Penn St. at Maryland (9/27) and Iowa at Nebraska (11/29, Black Friday) are the other intraconference Big Ten games being played on a weekday/weeknight.  South Dakota St. at Minnesota, Tulsa at Michigan St. & UMass at Rutgers are being played on weeknights as well.

* The ACC Network received a pair of selections to start 2019, with Georgia Tech at Clemson on Thursday 8/29 and Notre Dame at Duke on Saturday 11/9.  For those who avidly pay attention to TV ratings of sporting events, the ACC Network might fall into the same camp as the SEC Network, which is not rated nationally by Nielsen.

* Interesting conundrum for CBS for the upcoming season with the choice of their primetime CBS game.  Will it be on 9/21, where Notre Dame at Georgia is an option, or will they stay with the Saturday that LSU at Alabama falls (11/9)?  I feel the setup is better for a doubleheader on 9/21 with five SEC intraconference games plus Notre Dame at Georgia, where 11/9 has only three SEC games plus LSU at Alabama.

* The following agreements, either rights or sublicenses, ended at the end of the 2018 regular season and I'm not aware of any continuation of these agreements at this time:
  • MAC on CBS Sports Network
    • Twelve games sublicensed from ESPN
  • Conference USA on beIN Sports
  • ESPN sublicense of SEC games to CBS
    • Two game sublicense from ESPN.  
    • Existing rights for SEC on CBS is a separate deal.
* The following rights agreements expire after the 2019 season:
* FOX has swapped its UFC commitments in exchange for Premier Boxing Champions events, with potentially less conflicts.  Two Saturdays will have FS1 cards: 9/21 & 11/9.  Both dates happen to have a Pac-12 game scheduled for the Friday night before.  Sunday 9/1 also has a PBC card scheduled for FOX.  It isn't known if the card is in the afternoon or evening (we don't really know anything about the time of day about any of the cards), so FOX could still request a game for the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

One other FOX Sports commitment, besides MLB which will shape the September schedule & we'll know more about in the next 6-10 weeks, is they should have coverage of the Walker Cup on one of their platforms.  The event is in England in 2019, so some of the coverage would be outside of the coverage time of college football, but there could be some overlap in the early afternoon.  In 2017, FS1 carried the event in the early afternoon & early evening hours, leaving one college football game to air on FS2. (EDIT: Walker Cup 2019, since it is R&A hosted, has its rights with NBC).

* MLB has released FOX & FS1 static windows (ie. the ones where they select a game in advance).  8/31 has one game at 6pm & 9/7 has a pair of games after 4pm.

* ESPN, on the other hand, has scheduled three four (EDIT:  Q1 release table has ESPN+ for 3/30 but paragraphs identify it as ESPN) of its ten linear TV UFC Fight Night over the first six months of 2019 (Q1 & Q2).  They might pack more of those Fight Night cards into Q3, specifically July & August, but in September-November I would think they would have some PPV prelims plus 1-2 Fight Night cards with more ESPN+ cards in the fall.  Would assume the same applies to any Top Rank commitments ESPN would have over the final six months.  For those events it will be interesting to see how they schedule games around these multi-hour event slots.


Bill said...

Doesnt CBS usually have 2 prime time SEC games?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

No. Just one. In 2011, they negotiated with ESPN after using their primetime game to get a 2nd (LSU-Alabama) and have ESPN the right to choose ahead of CBS twice in 2012.

Hokie Mark said...

Re: Week zero - I'd love to see Virginia Tech sign up to play Air Force in week zero. You did say it could be a road game for the Falcons, right?

Anonymous said...

NBC and/or GC has Walker Cup under R&A deal; What about ND @ Mich?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Thanks re Walker Cup. Re ND-Mich - what is your question?

Anonymous said...

That game is in October during World Series, though ABC/ESPN does make a big non-conference selection (past 2 yrs: OU@OSU, ND@NU)

Anonymous said...

Next Walker Cup conflict is '25, since Seminole hosts in May of '21

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Maybe. Depends on the value ESPN places on selecting first for that particular week.

Anonymous said...

ACC Note: There were some reports a while back that the league was looking to schedule two or three conference games for Week 1 with the ACCN launch. Obviously they already have one with Georgia Tech playing at Clemson on 8/29. It's worth noting that Pitt and UVa both have no Week 1 opponent as of now, and Pitt actually moved their previously-scheduled Week 1 game vs Delaware back a few weeks this fall. Every other ACC team has a game scheduled for Week 1, though a few are vs FCS opponents so those might be able to be moved. But I'd bet on UVa @ Pitt on ACCN sometime during the opening weekend, maybe as their prime-time game on Saturday night, 8/31.

Anonymous said...

Rick Catlett predicted Boise-FSU from Jax on ACCN

Matt Sarzyniak said...

To provide context to others who are not aware, Rick Catlett is the president & CEO of the JaxSports Council, which brings events to Jacksonville. Boise St. vs. Florida St. is one of the events his group is responsible for, along with the Gator Bowl & the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament visit in 2019.

Hokie Mark said...

If there was any doubt whether the ACC Network would get carriage in Florida (and in particular on Comcast), the Boise State vs. FSU game (technically an FSU home game) would be enough to tip the scales in ESPN's favor, I think.

W_Rabb said...

Worth noting on CBS & UGA-ND the contract limits how many non conference games CBS can show but obviously they could show UGA-ND and be with in the parameters of the contract. CBS usually does two double headers so they could do UGA-ND in primetime and LSU-Bama as part of a noon/3:30 double header which might be the route to go since the schedule is limited that week