Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:23 pm

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Did you watch Alabama beat LSU 21-0 to win the BCS Championship last night? If not, you weren't alone in finding your television entertainment elsewhere.

The overnight ratings for the BCS National Championship Game show that last night's rematch between Alabama and LSU was the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS, bringing in a 13.8 overnight rating, a 14% drop from last year's game between Auburn and Oregon. The previous low had been set in 2002 when Miami played Nebraska for the title and the game brought a 14.3 rating.

There are a few factors that were no doubt in play here. First of all, it seems many college football fans were serious when they said they didn't want to watch a rematch of a game they'd already seen, particularly one that ended 9-6 the first time and didn't exactly provide a lot of excitement. Another factor to consider is that the game was broadcast on ESPN, which is available on cable packages and previous BCS games had always been broadcast on national networks.

The low ratings for the title game followed the trend of the other four BCS bowls as well, as the average rating of all BCS games dropped 10% from the 2010 season and 21% from the 2009 season. Again, this is likely a combination of the games now being broadcast on cable and college football fans who are tiring of the bowl system.

The good news is that with all the momentum that already seems to be in place for the BCS to add a plus-one system in the coming years, the drop in ratings may provide an additional kick in the pants. 

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:53 am

Longhorn Network still looking for a carrier

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Here's a bit of irony for you: the Longhorn Network, which may end up being the straw that broke the Big 12's back, is two weeks away from launching and it still hasn't even been picked up by any cable providers. So at this point it wouldn't matter how many high school games or conference games the network decided it wanted to televise, nobody could see them anyway.

According to the report in The Dallas Morning News, the Longhorn Network and its partner ESPN are "still in active discussions" with cable providers like Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast and Direct TV.

Of course, as the report also points out, this isn't exactly an uncommon practice when it comes to these types of negotiations. It wouldn't be the first time that a deal was struck at the last minute to get a network on the air, but it is still somewhat worrisome for the Longhorn Network that it hasn't reached an agreement with anybody just yet.

I can't help but believe that when the network does launch on August 26th somebody in the state of Texas will be able to watch it.
Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:00 pm

2011 SEC on CBS schedule announced

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We're still three months away from the 2011 college football season starting, but it's never too early to begin planning your Saturday afternoons this fall. So luckily for you, I'm here to help. CBS announced it's SEC on CBS schedule for the year, along with other games that will be broadcast on CBS, and it features the excellent SEC matchups you've come to expect from CBS.

Here's a look at what you'll be seeing this fall.

- 9/17 Florida vs. Tennessee 3:30PM, ET
- 10/1 SEC Doubleheader 3:30PM, ET and 8PM, ET
- 10/29 Florida vs. Georgia 3:30PM, ET
- 11/12 SEC Doubleheader Noon, ET and 3:30PM, ET
- 11/25 LSU vs. Arkansas 2:30PM, ET
- 12/3 SEC Championship 4PM, ET
- 12/10 Army vs. Navy 2:30PM, ET
- 12/31 Sun Bowl 2PM, ET 

As for the Saturdays in between, don't worry, we aren't giving Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson those Saturdays off. There will be SEC games on CBS those Saturdays, but the matchups will not be announced until six to twelve days before the games. This way we can assure you'll be seeing the best SEC football on CBS every week. The same can be said of the matchups for our two doubleheaders this season.

Now all you have to do is wait three months.

Posted on: May 26, 2011 12:20 pm

South Park goes after the NCAA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

South Park has been on television since 1997 and during its impressive run it has never been afraid to take on a topic, satirize it, skewer it, put it on the grill and burn the hell out of it. While some may feel that the show has lost its edge over the years, there are still plenty of episodes each season that are dead on with their special brand of commentary on a variety of issues. Last night's episode was one of those, as South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to take on the NCAA.

Sure, comparing student athletes to crack babies may not be the obvious choice, but then it wouldn't be South Park, would it? Besides, as you'll see in the video below, the crack babies were only a device to get to the real point of the story.

At least at the end of the episode, the crack babies got their very own orphanage -- thanks, Slash! -- but I guess we'll just have to wait and see what student athletes get. 

Hat tip: SB Nation 

Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 2:00 pm

Michigan State to open season on a Friday night

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Michigan State had already decided last fall that it would open its 2012 schedule against Boise State on a Friday night during Labor Day weekend, and it seems the school likes the idea of a Friday night game so much, they've decided to do it in 2011 as well. The school issued a statement on Thursday saying that it was moving its season opening game against Youngstown State from Saturday September 3 to Friday September 2.


“We’re extremely excited about this special opportunity to kick off the 2011 season with a nationally televised game against Youngstown State,” said Michigan State's AD Mark Hollis. “Over the years, fans have expressed increased interest in kicking off our home football schedule with a Friday night game on Labor Day weekend. We believe it will be a positive experience for our entire fan base, including the student body, and we couldn’t pull something like this off without campus-wide cooperation.

“Since Michigan (K-12) schools don’t begin fall classes until after Labor Day, the vast majority of high school teams will play their football games on Thursday that week, making this a great way for our fans to kick off the holiday weekend. By moving the Youngstown State game to Friday night, it’s also our hope that the state tourism industry will receive a positive bump since most fans will now have the opportunity to make plans to enjoy the entire Labor Day weekend.”

The game will be played in primetime on the Big Ten Network, and it will mark only the tenth time in school history that the Spartans have held a home game at night.

Personally, I'm all for moving the game to a Friday night. I'll take football on as many days of the week that I can get, because, let's face it, what else am I going to do on a Friday night? Go outside? I'm a blogger, fresh air terrifies me.


Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 12:38 pm

Pac-12 officially announces TV deal

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Though word got out about the Pac-12's new television deal with ESPN and Fox on Tuesday, the conference officially announced its new $2.7 billion agreement that will be bringing a whole lot more Pac-12 football into televisions around the country than ever before. 

“We are equally excited by the creation of Pac-12 Media Enterprises," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a release. "Which will enable us to launch our own Pac-12 television and digital networks, providing signi cantly more exposure for women’s sports and Olympic sports in which the Pac-12 excels, in addition to academic and other campus programming of interest to our fan base. These new platforms will also provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to control the distribution of our intellectual property rights in sports, education and other Conference and membership initiatives.”

Yes, yes, but what does this mean for you, the college football fan? Well, it means you're going to have a lot more games to watch on Saturdays.

There will be 44 Pac-12 regular season games televised across ESPN and Fox platforms. Ten games a year will appear as national broadcasts on either ABC or Fox, with plenty of those games coming in primetime. Then there will be 34 other Pac-12 games broadcast on a combination of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and FX. As for the Pac-12 Network, that will carry any game not on the ESPN or Fox stations, and will average about three games per week.

As for the Pac-12 Championship game, it will be broadcast on Fox in 2011 and 2012, and then alternate between Fox and ESPN for the remaining years of the deal.


Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:50 pm

Big Ten to push back start times?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For as long as this college football fan can remember, the Big Ten has started its Saturdays in the fall at noon eastern. As a kid growing up in Chicago, this was a pretty sweet deal. I could sleep in a bit on Saturday mornings and when I woke up --BAM! -- college football. Honestly, that habit hasn't really changed much as I've grown older, but it sounds like I may have to watch the ACC and Big East for an hour before the Big Ten games begin. That's because, according to a report in the Quad City Times, Jim Delany is trying to make it so that the noon eastern start times are a thing of the past. Instead, he wants to push the start of Big Ten games back an hour.

Note: The times in the text quoted from the report are in central standard time.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.

Many fans objected to the 11 a.m. starts because they cut down on pregame tailgating time and made it difficult for fans who lived several hours away to get to games on time.

Won't somebody please think of the early morning drinkers!?

Seriously, though, it is pretty cool to think that Delany is actually listening to the fans who have been complaining about the lack of proper tailgating time. An extra hour of fun before kickoff doesn't hurt anybody except for those in charge of cleaning up afterward. The question is, just because Delany and the Big Ten want it, will the television networks?

While I'm sure Delany wouldn't have much trouble convincing the Big Ten Network to push back start times, it may not be as easy to do so with ESPN/ABC. ESPN has had games beginning a noon, 3:30pm and 8:00pm for some time now, and I'm not so sure they'll be willing to move everything around just to please the Big Ten. And let's be honest, it's the networks that televise the games who will be the ones deciding when those games start, not the fans attending them.

Posted on: March 28, 2011 3:39 pm

FX to carry weekly college football game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We truly live in the greatest era to be college football fan. During the fall, there are more college football games on television than ever before, ensuring every fan that just about any game they want to watch, they can. Now it seems that we'll all be getting at least one more game a week to feast our eyes upon.

It was announced on Monday that the cable network FX, which is owned by Fox, will begin airing one game a week during the 2011 season.
Cable channel FX will broadcast a weekly college football game during the coming season.
The Fox-owned network said Monday it would air at least 13 games involving teams from the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA.
FX is available in more than 99 million homes. The channel has shown other sports in the past, including Major League Baseball and NASCAR.
It makes sense that this would happen, since Fox has broadcast rights for the Big 12 and Pac-12. Instead of trying to fit a bunch of games on their regional Fox Sports stations, why not use a network that is already in so many homes? What would make it even better is if they surrounded the games on the schedule with reruns of Louie, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchy and Archer. As a matter of fact, I don't see any reason why Sterling Archer shouldn't be doing the play-by-play.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com