Sunday, May 26, 2019

Final TV Guesses For 2019 College Football Early Season & Special Dates

One final run at the early season & special date TV schedule with most of these to be announced on May 30th.

In the interest of trying to keep this blog post short, I'm creating links to Google Docs for each week plus the weeknight schedule.

If a game isn't listed, I assuming it will be online only via ESPN3/ESPN+, Stadium online or other means.

Weeks Zero & One
Week Two
Week Three
Special Dates (Week Four & Beyond Weeknights)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Notes on Early Season ACC, ABC Primetime Games & Championship Saturday

* ABC has followed FOX's lead of showing the Pac-12 Championship game on broadcast television on Friday night.  In addition, they'll carry the ACC, American & Big 12 games on ABC on Saturday.  My assumption is that the Big 12 or ACC will be at noon while the American will be slotted against the SEC title game in the middle like last year.  Whichever game isn't at 12pm gets the primetime slot.

The ABC primetime games will also shift to 7:30pm ET starts full time after using those start times for Big Ten telecasts only.

* FOX's advertising upfront presentation noted that their best games each week would be a noon ET instead of in primetime.  Its fair to say that ABC owned the space at 8pm and is established there and in mid-afternoon there's often the SEC game on CBS being the top game, with Notre Dame on NBC also placing well.  In any case, there's a bit of a splitting of the audiences.  Can't hurt FOX to try another time slot.

FOX offered noon ET or 1pm ET ten times in 2018 (nine Saturdays plus day after Thanksgiving).  Per SportsMediaWatch, FOX's highest rated game was that earliest game nine times.  The only times the first game was not their highest rated was Week 13 when Kansas-Oklahoma at 7:30pm beat Michigan St.-Nebraska at 12pm.

With FOX being a Pac-12 rightsholder, I assume that they'll either place their best game from the conference at 3:30pm  ET when possible.  As for the Big Ten title game, I would assume that remains a primetime affair.

* Yes, the surprise for me was to see the existence of the ACC RSN package when the ACC released their remaining early season start times.  The conference's communications department said it would be 17 football games, plus men's & women's basketball games, distributed across existing RSNs.  This package is a continuation of an existing agreement to give games to RSNs that would have extended into the 2026-27 athletic year, so it was not bought back.  The agreement ending that athletic year was the extension reached when Pittsburgh and Syracuse were added as members, so it was the extension prior to the one where the ACC Network's establishment was announced.

I'll be interested to see how those games' distribution across RSNs will occur.  FOX's control over the RSNs being bought by Sinclair will be coming to an end at some point.  I don't know if there will be tighter control over which RSNs receive these games.  Will it be the same wide open distribution that FOX was given over the RSNs it owned plus any RSNs covering ACC states? With FOX out of the picture could other RSNs buy these games?  Or could only ACC states' RSNs receive these games with digital coverage elsewhere.

* So why did the RSN package remain?  I don't know yet.  In 2019, there are 91 regular season controlled games from the conference.  Of that, the RSN package will take 17.  Let's assume the ACC Network takes 45 (14 weeks X 3 games, plus 3 weeknight games in weeks 1 & 2), leaving 29 games for ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU.

That seems a bit low, but ESPN and ESPN2 could have to give up one window a month to UFC for PPV prelims.  Either way, the number of games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 last year was 40.  So either ACC Network is going to be stocked up with games that would have otherwise appeared on those primary networks, or ACC Network isn't going to have three games a week.

* With the use of both ACC Network Extra & ACC RSNs, it appears that there won't be linear TV overflow channels for the network.

* Was also caught off guard by a pair of network designations & a date change:

  • Pittsburgh at Syracuse on ESPN on October 18th surprised me.  I was under the assumption that the game would be on ACC Network and ESPN would air Ohio St. at Northwestern.  I'm still working off the assumption that FS1 would have MLB postseason and FOX would be carrying WWE Smackdown, so maybe its possible that ABC will carry a Friday night football game.  Or I have a misplaced read on the MLB postseason schedule.
  • To further my misplaced assessment of the MLB postseason schedule, the start time  & network Virginia at Miami (FL) (8pm ET on ESPN) doesn't lend itself to being doubleheadered with Colorado at Oregon, also scheduled for that Friday night.  Assuming FOX has the same commitments to MLB and WWE, does the Pac-12 game air on ESPN2?  Pac-12 Networks?  Less certain it would air on ABC being a west coast game unless it starts earlier in the evening like the Pac-12 Championship will.
  • With North Carolina at Wake Forest moved to Friday night 9/13, Wake Forest will start the season with three consecutive Friday night games: vs. Utah St., at Rice, vs. UNC.  The 6pm start time could mean a doubleheader with Washington St. vs. Houston or for that game to air on ESPN2 instead.  Could also allow for the game at NRG Stadium to be moved to Thursday to give workers a chance to turn it over as Rice is hosting Texas there on Saturday night at 8pm ET.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

CFB TV Guesses (Take 2) on 2019 Weeks Two

Taking a 2nd crack at figuring out the Week Two CFB TV schedule.  What have we learned since late February?  A few things:
  • The Mountain West national TV schedule has been announced
  • One game has changed dates across this particular week
  • UFC 242 has been set for Saturday, September 7th.

Here's the original guesses

7pm ACCN: William & Mary at Virginia
8pm CBSSN: Wake Forest at Rice
9pm ESPN2: Marshall at Boise St. (confirmed)
10pm Pac-12: Sacramento St. at Arizona St.


Still don't know whether the ACC Network will have alternate feeds for football games or not.  When reaching out to contacts who may know, they said those details were still being worked out.  

I'm assuming CBS continued its sublicense agreement with ESPN for a pair of SEC games.  North Carolina vs. South Carolina in Week One & Arkansas at Ole Miss this week.  In prior years, since these are sublicensed, ESPN can air SEC games concurrently on ESPN, ESPN2 and/or ESPNU during these two games.

Per multiple reports, UFC 242 is set for September 7th in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Don't know if/how that affects when the fight schedule would be broadcast.  For those doing time zone math, 12pm ET = 8pm local time in the UAE, so for the time being I've cleared out the 12pm ESPN window for airing any PPV prelims.  ESPN would also carry the US Open women's final in mid-afternoon, so I don't have the channel carrying a game until 7pm ET.

The three Big 12 games on FS2 are not member retained games.  I just don't know where to place these without knowing when Sinclair will take over the formerly FOX owned RSNs.  I suppose the other platform FOX could use is Caffeine, the streaming platform they have invested in and are moving some Big East Digital Network to.  This particular weekend also has a FIFA international play break, so I think FS2 would be free from Bundesliga duty in the early afternoon.

12pm ABC: Syracuse at Maryland
12pm FOX: Army at Michigan
12pm ESPN2: Buffalo at Penn St.
12pm FS1: UTSA at Baylor
12pm ESPNU: Old Dominion at Virginia Tech
12pm SEC: West Virginia at Missouri
12pm SEC Alt: Murray St. at Georgia
12pm BTN: Western Michigan at Michigan St.
12pm CBSSN: UAB at Akron
12pm FS2: Coastal Carolina at Kansas
12:30pm ACCN: Ohio at Pittsburgh
2pm Pac-12: Nevada at Oregon
3:30pm ABC: Cincinnati at Ohio St.
3:30pm CBS:  Arkansas at Ole Miss
3:30pm ESPN2: New Mexico St. at Alabama
3:30pm ESPNU: Illinois at Connecticut
3:30pm CBSSN: North Texas at SMU
3:30pm BTN: Rutgers at Iowa
3:30pm BTN: Eastern Illinois at Indiana
4pm FOX: LSU at Texas
4pm SEC: Eastern Michigan at Kentucky
4pm SEC Alt: Charleston Southern at South Carolina
4pm ACCN: Miami (FL) at North Carolina
4pm FS2: Bowling Green at Kansas St.
5pm Pac-12: San Diego St. at UCLA
5pm Pac-12 Washington: Northern Colorado at Washington St.
7pm ESPN: BYU at Tennessee
7pm ESPN2: USF at Georgia Tech
7pm CBSSN: UCF at FAU (time confirmed)
7pm Stadium: Western Kentucky at FIU (time confirmed)
7pm FOX PPV: South Dakota at Oklahoma
7:30pm ESPNU: Southern Miss at Mississippi St.
7:30pm SEC: Tulane at Auburn
7:30pm SEC Alt: UT Martin at Florida
7:30pm ACCN: UL-Monroe at Florida St.
7:30pm BTN: Vanderbilt at Purdue
7:30pm BTN: Central Michigan at Wisconsin
8pm ABC: Texas A&M at Clemson
8pm FOX: Stanford at USC
8pm Pac-12: Northern Illinois at Utah
8pm FS2: UTEP at Texas Tech
10pm ESPN: California at Washington
10pm FS1: Nebraska at Colorado
10:30pm CBSSN: Minnesota at Fresno St. (confirmed)
11pm Pac-12: Northern Arizona at Arizona
12am Spectrum PPV: Oregon St. at Hawai'i

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

CFB TV Guesses (Take 2) on 2019 Weeks Zero & One

Taking a 2nd crack at figuring out the Week Zero (really nothing to figure out here) and Week One CFB TV schedules.  What have we learned since late February?  Lots:
  • Houston at Oklahoma has moved to Sunday night
  • Miami (FL) vs. Florida has moved to Week Zero
  • The Mountain West national TV schedule has been announced
  • A handful of games have changed dates across this particular week

Week Zero

It is essentially finalized from a FBS perspective, provided someone doesn't pull some shenanigans and move a game.  Villanova at Colgate will also be slotted for national TV at some point (Stadium or CBSSN?).  The only sticking point I see in the schedule right now is the schedule of BIG3 basketball on CBSSN and whether that would be played on Saturday or Sunday.

Week One

Here's the deal: If the game isn't listed, assume it will be streamed by whatever the home conference's streaming arrangements are (ESPN3, ESPN+, Stadium online, etc.).  This now includes the member retained games for Baylor, Kansas, Kansas St. and Oklahoma St.

If you're curious about the two FS2 games, here's the deal: These two games are what I believe will be the member retained games for these two Big 12 schools as their content does not transfer over to ESPN+ until 2020.  I can't tell you what happens to those games because I don't know when operations for the former FOX RSNs will transfer over to Sinclair in 2019 as the sale does need regulatory approval.  The belief is the 3rd quarter.  I suppose the other platform FOX could use is Caffeine, the streaming platform they have invested in and are moving some Big East Digital Network to.

7pm ESPN: UCLA at Cincinnati (network confirmed)
7:30pm ACCN: Georgia Tech at Clemson (network confirmed)
7:30pm SNY: Wagner at Connecticut
8pm CBS Sports Network: FIU at Tulane

8pm BTN: South Dakota St. at Minnesota
8:30pm SEC: Texas St. at Texas A&M (confirmed)
10:15pm ESPN: Utah at BYU
10:30pm Pac-12: Kent St. at Arizona St.

6pm CBSSN: Rice at Army (network confirmed, time guess based on MW confirmation)
7pm ESPN: Wisconsin at USF (network family confirmed)
7pm ACCN: Utah St. at Wake Forest
7:30pm BTN: Massachusetts at Rutgers
8pm FS1: Tulsa at Michigan St.
9pm Pac-12: Colorado St. vs. Colorado
9:30pm CBSSN: Purdue at Nevada (confirmed)
10:15pm ESPN: Oklahoma St. at Oregon St.

12pm ABC: FAU at Ohio St.
12pm ESPN: Georgia St. at Tennessee
12pm ESPNU: Virginia at Pittsburgh
12pm SEC: Toledo at Kentucky
12pm BTN: Idaho at Penn St.
12:30pm ACCN: Virginia Tech at Boston College
1pm AT&T SN Pitt: James Madison at West Virginia
2pm Pac-12: Eastern Washington at Washington
3:30pm ABC: Duke vs. Alabama
3:30pm CBS: North Carolina vs. South Carolina
3:30pm FOX: Middle Tennessee at Michigan
3:30pm ESPN: 
Ole Miss at Memphis
3:30pm ESPNU: Akron at Illinois
3:30pm CBSSN: Holy Cross at Navy (network confirmed)
3:30pm BTN: Howard at Maryland
4pm ACCN: East Carolina at NC State
4pm SEC: Portland St. at Arkansas
4pm FS2: UAPB at TCU
5:30pm Pac-12: UC Davis at California
7pm ESPN: Georgia at Vanderbilt
7pm FS1: Northwestern at Stanford
7pm ESPNU: Mississippi St. vs. UL-Lafayette
7:30pm FOX: South Alabama at Nebraska
7:30pm ACCN: Boise St. vs. Florida St.
7:30pm SEC: Georgia Southern at LSU
7:30pm BTN: Miami (OH) at Iowa
7:30pm CBSSN: Missouri at Wyoming (confirmed)
8pm ABC: Oregon vs. Auburn
8pm Longhorn: Louisiana Tech at Texas
8pm FS2: Montana St. at Texas Tech 
8pm CyclonesTV: Northern Iowa at Iowa St.
9pm Pac-12: New Mexico St. at Washington St.
10:30pm ESPN: Fresno St. at USC

12pm ESPN2: Jackson St. vs. Bethune-Cookman
7:30pm ABC: Houston at Oklahoma (confirmed)

8pm ESPN: Notre Dame at Louisville