That’s right. Starting next season, the Big Ten has announced that they will have six Friday night games. These games will not appear on BTN (as they have on the Friday before Labour Day in the past) but on a FOX or ESPN network. So FS1, ESPN, or ESPN2. My guess is that most of these games will be non-conference affairs, although I could see a lower-level Big Ten team (like Rutgers or Illinois) jumping at the chance to have what amounts to a national audience all on their own on a Friday night. I do fear that most of these games will go to FOX Sports One so, as of this moment, we wouldn’t get them. The split-out of the games between FOX and ESPN has not been disclosed yet. This B1G/FOX deal could becoming more and more of a nuisance to us if things don’t change.
Alright let’s come back to this weekend (and the next two nights). Let’s take a look at the schedule:
|Buffalo at Ohio (Rogers & Fibe)||6:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSN|
|#14 Oklahoma at Iowa State||7:30 PM||ESPN||SP|
|Arkansas State at Georgia State||7:30 PM||ESPNU||SP|
Nothing too big here. I assume Oklahoma should beat Iowa State and continue their march to a possible Big XII title.
|Central Michigan at Miami-OH (Rogers & Fibe)||6:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSN|
|Temple at UConn||7:00 PM||ESPN2||SP|
|San Jose State at #24 Boise State||10:15 PM||ESPN2||SP|
Temple cannot avoid a hiccup here against UConn. A loss and it puts USF back in the driver’s seat in the AAC East. Speaking of hiccups, Boise State has to beat San Jose State soundly and continue to beat up teams the rest of the way. They also have to hope for two Wyoming losses to have any hope at the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six.
|Navy vs. Notre Dame (in Jacksonville)||11:30 AM||CBS||CBS|
|#8 Wisconsin at Northwestern||12:00 PM||ABC||ABC|
|Indiana at Rutgers (Rogers)||12:00 PM||BTN||BTN|
|Air Force at Army (Rogers & Fibe)||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSN|
|Vanderbilt at #9 Auburn||12:00 PM||ESPN||SP|
|#7 Louisville at Boston College||12:00 PM||ESPN2||SP|
|Georgia Southern at Ole Miss||12:00 PM||ESPNU||SP|
|#4 Texas A&M at Mississippi State (Bell)||12:00 PM||SEC Network||SP|
|Pittsburgh at Miami||12:30 PM||ACC Network||SP**|
|Georgia Tech at #21 North Carolina||12:30 PM||ACC Network||WSBK/SP**|
|Clark-Atlanta at Kennesaw State||12:30 PM||Peachtree||Peachtree|
Quite a few games not up on any guide yet but they should show up eventually. I have faith………..ok I have some faith. Not a lot. But it’s there.
Navy-ND gives us morning football (technically) by starting at 11:30, something I have mentioned should happen every week, even if it’s just one game. Wisconsin has a trap game in Evanston against a suddenly good Northwestern team. Finally, Texas A&M, who somehow got into the top 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, plays at Mississippi State. People on Bell will get this game. Rogers customers, you’re out of luck.
You will notice asterisks everywhere. An asterisk party! One asterisk just denotes that a game hasn’t appeared on the guide yet but a slot is there with TBA plastered all over it. Two asterisks is a little different. Everyone seems to get the ACC Network on different channels. Many of us get the ACC Network on WSBK out of Boston. Those people will get the Georgia Tech-North Carolina game. Also, if you get the ACC Network out of Detroit (The CW) or Cleveland (MyTV) you would get this game . But if you get the ACC Network out of Buffalo (on WNLO) then you would receive Pitt-Miami. Same if you get it out of Plattsburgh. All somewhat confusing. The other confusing part is that, for the second straight week, the ACC Network game you aren’t receiving isn’t appearing yet on the specialty pack. It didn’t appear at all last week so hopefully this isn’t a trend if the ACC Network plans to do split broadcasts like this.
UPDATE #1: The ESPN and SEC Network games are now appearing on the guides. Still don’t know what’s going on with the ACC Network game that you won’t be getting on your ACC Network channel. That is still not appearing on the specialty pack and I have a feeling it just won’t. Stay tuned.
|Virginia at Wake Forest||3:00 PM||FSN – Regional||SP|
|#18 Oklahoma State at Kansas State||3:30 PM||ABC/ESPN2||SP|
|Syracuse at #2 Clemson||3:30 PM||ABC/ESPN2||ABC|
|Central Arkansas at Stephen F. Austin||3:30 PM||ASN||MyTV|
|Purdue at Minnesota (Rogers)||3:30 PM||BTN||BTN|
|#11 Florida at Arkansas||3:30 PM||CBS||CBS|
|BYU at Cincinnati (Rogers & Fibe)||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSN|
|Maryland at #3 Michigan||3:30 PM||ESPN||SP|
|#19 Virginia Tech at Duke||3:30 PM||ESPNU||SP|
|TCU at #17 Baylor||3:30 PM||FOX||FOX|
|Tennessee Tech at Tennessee (Bell)||4:00 PM||SEC Network||SP|
|Missouri at South Carolina (Bell)||4:00 PM||SEC Network||SP|
|FIU at Western Kentucky||5:30 PM||beIn Sports||beIn Sports|
Four games still not appearing on the guide. The ESPN games will. UVA-WF may or may not show on the specialty pack or not. I am leaning towards it not appearing but I don’t want to pull the trigger on that just yet.
A lot of decent games but no marquee games. Quite a few games that would be considered trap games, including Maryland-Michigan, Syracuse-Clemson, and Florida-Arkansas. It’s one of those weeks where it really doesn’t matter what you put on the PVR since nothing truly stands out. I will still be filling the PVR though. My PVR won’t be happy about this but that’s it’s job and it will do it to the best of its ability DAMMIT!
UPDATE #2: All the games are now appearing, including UVA-WF which makes me look like a bit of a tool (see two paragraphs above this one). Interesting that, at least on the Fibe guide, it says Oklahoma State at Kansas State OR Syracuse at Clemson on the specialty pack. Almost feels like a CYA type of deal with this. Either that or it may have everything to do with what area you are living in.
|Hawaii at San Diego State (Rogers & Fibe)||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSN|
|Oregon at USC||7:00 PM||ESPN||SP|
|Kansas at #20 West Virginia||7:00 PM||ESPN2||SP|
|#22 Florida State at NC State||7:00 PM||ESPNU||SP|
|Iowa at #12 Penn State (Rogers)||7:30 PM||BTN||BTN|
|Georgia at Kentucky (Bell)||7:30 PM||SEC Network||SP|
|#10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State||8:00 PM||ABC||ABC|
|#1 Alabama at #13 LSU||8:00 PM||CBS||CBS|
Two MASSIVE games tonight. Nebraska-Ohio State is a massive Big Ten matchup. The loser is eliminated from CFP contention. Nebraska is on thin ice anyway but if they win out and win the Big Ten Championship, they are almost assuredly in. tOSU controls their own destiny here completely. Win out and they are in. Don’t and it’s New Year’s Six at best.
Alabama-LSU has suddenly become a big game again. A month ago, almost no one would have said that. And Death Valley at night is a VERY tough place to play. Expect a close game, at least for three quarters. Basically, Bama will try to do what they do to all opponents: outlast them. The amount of times they have pulled away in the second half for a big win is staggering. And they are the best at it.
Also, Penn State, surprisingly at #12, hosts Iowa. It would be an interesting scenario if PSU wins the Big Ten East which is still a possibility. Does The Committee put them in or do they look for reasons not to? I think if it is a close call, they may be the odd team out.
UPDATE #3: All ESPN games now appearing on the specialty pack guides.
Saturday Late Night
|Utah State at Wyoming||10:15 PM||ESPN2||SP|
|Nevada at New Mexico||10:15 PM||ESPNU||SP|
|#5 Washington at California||10:30 PM||ESPN||SP|
Three late night games. The Huskies should win pretty handily over Cal. The question will be how far over 40 points they go. Wyoming has a huge game against Utah State. Win and they get one step closer to the Mountain West Championship and burying Boise State’s NY6 chances.
UPDATE #4: UW-Cal now appearing on the specialty pack guide.
The Important Games…at least this week
#1 Alabama at #13 LSU (8:00, CBS) – The only night game of the year on CBS and it is pretty much always this one. Even when LSU was down and out in mid-September, I am sure this game was still on CBS’s radar. Now, LSU has come back from the dead and this game has a lot of meaning. Bama’s CFP chances hinge on this game and the Iron Bowl. Lose one and they probably still have a chance. Lose both and they’re done.
#10 Nebraska at #6 Ohio State (8:00, ABC) – Despite their overtime loss to Wisconsin, the Huskers are still in a good spot. Husker fans have good memories though. If this turns into another four-loss season, Mike Riley might have to put a barbed-wire fence around his property. As I said above, this is essentially a CFP elimination game. Loser has no hope of getting there.
Maryland at #2 Michigan (3:30, specialty pack) – A surprisingly good Maryland team is one win away from bowl eligibility. I don’t expect them to get it here but it would turn the Big Ten East on its ear if they did somehow pull it off.
#18 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (3:30, ABC/specialty pack) – Most of you will get this game on the specialty pack. Some of you who live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba will get this game on ABC. Oklahoma State has basically been forgotten in the Big XII shitshow. If they somehow win out, they secure the Sugar Bowl spot. It would be a shocker. It has to start here though. Lose this one and there really is no hope for that.
#11 Florida at Arkansas (3:30, CBS) – CBS usually doesn’t get two SEC games that are this good in their day-night doubleheader. But this looks like a good one. Arkansas is sneaky good and could cause the Gators a lot of headaches. Plus, there’s an added bonus that if Florida loses, that puts Kentucky in the catbird seat in the SEC East.
Iowa at #12 Penn State (7:30, BTN) – Again, I am not belittling what the Nittany Lions have done so far this season. But for them to be at #12 seems too high. Now if they beat Iowa handily, there is a better than good chance that they end up 10-2 and possibly with a trip to the Big Ten title game. Then this would make sense. I guess this is why these early rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Some picks for y’all
Getting my southern United States on or something. Whatever. Anyway here are some picks for your enjoyment and, perhaps, amusement.
Alabama over LSU (but it will be close)
Ohio State over Nebraska
Michigan over Maryland
Oklahoma State over Kansas State
Arkansas over Florida (had to pick at least one upset!)
Iowa over Penn State (OK make that two upsets)
Colorado over UCLA
Louisville over Boston College
Boise State over San Jose State
Oklahoma over Iowa State
So there ya go. All set through late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. I will be pushing my PVR to the limit. It may not like it but that’s too damn bad. Tomorrow I will be doing the NFL schedule and then the weekend will be upon us! Enjoy the games everyone!