Maryland football coach Randy Edsall is working to bring Terps football into prominence in the local community, but his team won’t be in the national spotlight this spring: Maryland is one of five ACC teams whose spring football games won’t be covered by ESPN3.
The Terps play their Red and White spring game under the lights at Byrd Stadium on Friday, April 12, but in the schedule announced by ESPN and the ACC this week, the network will broadcast the Pittsburgh spring game that night instead — even though Pitt doesn’t technically join the ACC until July 1.
Did Maryland just draw a short straw when it came to the scheduling, or was it an intentional snub? Maryland is on the way out of the conference for a new era with the Big Ten (and Big Ten Network), but the split with the ACC, of which Maryland was a founding member, has not exactly been amicable. The Terps face a $52 million exit fee but are pursuing legal action to have the fee dropped.
The current bitterness between the school and conference likely had nothing to do with ESPN3’s spring broadcasting schedule, but coverage isn’t entirely based on last season’s records, either.
Six teams from the ACC Coastal Division (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami, North Carolina, and Pitt) will air, while just three Atlantic Division teams (Clemson, Florida State, and N.C. State) made the cut.
Georgia Tech finished third in the Coastal Division in 2012, ahead of Duke and both Virginia schools, went to the ACC title game by default, and beat USC in the Hyundai Sun Bowl to close out the year, but the Yellow Jackets aren’t on ESPN3’s spring game radar either. Syracuse, which officially joins the conference on July 1, finished ahead of Pitt last year when both were members of the Big East, but the Panthers are the team in the ESPN lineup this spring. Wake Forest and Boston College will also miss out on national spring game coverage.
The broadcast schedule isn’t based on game times, either: five of the games will be held on Saturday, April 13, with kickoff times at 2, 3, or 4 p.m.
It’s easy to argue that many of the teams, particularly those that had strong seasons in 2012, like Florida State and Clemson, will draw bigger television/internet audiences than Maryland or Boston College — but will Duke and Virginia really be much more popular? If resources are the issue, it makes the most sense to show just the top ACC teams from last season, but if ESPN is covering almost two-thirds of the ACC teams anyway, with no clear rhyme or reason as to which schools make the cut, why not just air them all?
Per ESPN.com’s ACC blog, here’s the full lineup:
- Saturday, Apr. 6 — Virginia, 1 p.m., ESPN3
- Friday, Apr. 12 — Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 13 — Florida State, 2 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 13 — Miami, 3 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 13 — North Carolina, 3 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 13 — Clemson, 4 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 13 — Duke, 4 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 20 — NC State (Kay Yow Spring Football Game), 1:30 p.m., ESPN3
- Saturday, Apr. 20 — Virginia Tech, 3 p.m., ESPN3