College Football Needs to Shakeup TV Scheduling
Take a minute or two today and go to ESPN or CBS Sports and name me one game this weekend, before prime time, that your average casual fan would want to watch. I’m waiting…. still waiting…..yeah that’s what I thought.
The 4th Week of glorious college football should just be a 4 hour window with plenty of time to do yard work beforehand. Early in the day you’ve got the Virginia Cavaliers-TCU Horned Frogs and Maryland Terrapins-West Virginia Mountaineers. Later in the afternoon you’ve got the Missouri Tigers-South Carolina Gamecocks (Hey Sheldon Richardson, do us all a favor and keep your yapper shut this week, k?) and Oregon State Beavers-UCLA Bruins.
Not exactly games that “move the needle” with the masses. Besides Maryland-West Virginia they also have little to no impact on the national title race which is what really brings the eyeballs on Saturday afternoons.
Sadly this isn’t just a problem this week. Next week’s slate isn’t exactly a buffet of great games either. For a sport as grand as college football you can’t limit yourself to just 8 weeks or so of prime competition. What I propose can change that. I’d appointed “TV czar” who would be someone with a background in the TV industry that understands the rigors of scheduling. He or so would take a look at each week’s schedule and come up with a format that gives each window throughout the day a “watchable” game between ranked teams. That draws in the casual fans who right now are sitting on the sidelines and it could even be done as little as a week ahead of time.
Look at the NFL‘s flex scheduling policy and the success it’s had. We thankfully don’t have to endure any crappy Cleveland Browns-Baltimore Ravens matchups late in the season. What the big leagues have that college football generally lacks is a strong following in nearly every major metropolis. The NCAA and its TV partners need to sell the brand.
I’m in Chicago which doesn’t exactly have the great college sports fans but my plan would be a hit even for the most apathetic among us. As “TV czar” we’d start the day off (11 AM central) with a rematch of last year’s blowout between the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats want revenge for the drubbing while Oklahoma is a much different team especially on the offensive and defensive lines.
During the mid-afternoon we’d switch over to NBC and check out the Michigan Wolverines and Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Two name programs that played a classic last year in Ann Arbor that came down to the final seconds.
It’s important to remember I wouldn’t exactly be clearing out the schedule to accommodate these games either. This isn’t the WWE. Any game that “looks good” on paper can turn into a one sided affair so we’d protect each window with some backup games like the Maryland-West Virginia and Missouri-South Carolina games I mentioned earlier.
After those were over we’d start the night off right with a top 10 showdown in Tallahassee between the Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles. Two teams with ridiculous talent and an equal reputation for letting their fans down.
You’d finish off your day of football with a battle between two awesome offenses as the Arizona Wildcats visits Autzen Stadium to battle the Oregon Ducks. With these two spread offenses you might even see this night game creep into the wee hours of Sunday morning but who cares, it’s Saturday!
Growing up I don’t remember having to wait nearly 8 hours to see a game that pits two teams that have a legitimate shot at hosting the crystal football during the 2nd week of January. Obviously I’ll watch the lesser games anyways but that’s because I’m a junkie. A college football addict. Most won’t do that, they need a reason to stay inside for 12 hours on a beautiful fall day.
“Spreading the wealth around” might get you fired up politically but not when it comes to sports. The powers that be at the NCAA and at the TV networks need to abide by that motto and fix the problem.
The restaurant industry would love it and fans across the nation want it. If we can finally get a playoff after all these years of fighting, this battle should be a piece of cake.
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