As we begin to get into the meat of the Big 12 Conference schedule, there should be concern as to whether or not the Big 12 will receive any of the prime time slots on ABC, ESPN or FOX. Last week, the Big 12 landed two of these three slots with TCU vs. Ohio State and Texas vs. USC, while Alabama vs. Ole Miss was on ESPN. It was a nice surprise and well deserved based on the quality of game at AT&T Stadium and the historical nature of the two teams playing in Austin.
But looking ahead, the Big 12 may have to wait another month to find one of its games in one of these three spots.
This coming weekend, the Big 12 has an 11 a.m. (all times in CST) kick off in Ames between Iowa State and Akron, a pair of 2:30 games in Morgantown where West Virginia hosts K-State and Waco for Baylor vs. Kansas. Then later games include TCU at Texas, Oklahoma vs Army and Oklahoma State home to Texas Tech. The latter two kick off at 6:00, with only OSU vs. TTU even on network TV, getting carried by Fox Sports 1.
Week Five kick off times were announced Monday, where there is only one night game and it’s TCU vs. Iowa State at 6:00. FOX is currently not locked into a game for Week 5 prime time, however the FOX game typically kicks off at 7:00 CT and they may have baseball obligations that evening. The other networks are already lined up with games such as Ole Miss @ LSU on ESPN (shocker!!) and ABC carrying Penn State vs. Ohio State. FOX has typically been great to the Big 12, and the Iowa State – TCU match up has a lot of storylines based on how last year’s game went, but it remains to be seen what will happen.
Moving on, the best game in Week Six for the Big 12 is Oklahoma vs. Texas in the Red River Rivalry, but you know as well as I do, that game gets underway at 11 a.m or 2:30 p.m., at the latest. The rest of the Big 12 slate is average, at best, with Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State leading the way as the second most intriguing match up. Week Seven features a Thursday night game on ESPN with TCU vs. Texas Tech and then three decent games with West Virginia at Iowa State as the headliner. Maybe the Mountaineers are 5-0 and have a Top 5 ranking, with Iowa State working way back into the Top 25 and FOX takes a flier on the game, but that’s also a long shot at this point.
As it stands right now, the next best chance for the Big 12 Conference guaranteeing itself a prime time match up on ABC, FOX or ESPN comes in Week Eight when TCU hosts Oklahoma. Both teams should be ranked and OU could very well find itself undefeated. To think that the conference could go from Week Four through Week Seven without a game in one of the prime time slots is concerning, but not shocking.
The Big 12 Conference is used to drawing the short straw in the eyes of the television network executives, but in a season where it might just be the Oklahoma Sooners… and everyone else, we all might have to get used to the idea of prepping for lots of early starts with our mimosas and screwdrivers.
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