Saturday, August 30, 2008

Here Comes College Football On ESPN2


The match-up of the powerhouses on ESPN2 will begin this Saturday with the Mississippi State Bulldogs from Starkville, MS facing the NASCAR Nationwide Series from Fontana, CA.

The Bulldogs are led by Head Coach Sylvester Croom and his starting quarterback Wesley Carroll. The Nationwide gang is led by Series Director Joe Balash and emerging star Brad Keselowski. It should be an interesting match-up.

As Nationwide Series fans know all too well from 2007, college football games run about three-and-a-half hours from start-to-finish. With several injury time-outs over the course of a single game, it is not uncommon to have an event that runs closer to four hours. TV networks try to build-in post game shows to absorb these potential over-runs.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs will kick-off against rival Louisiana Tech at 6:45PM Eastern Time. It should be a great opportunity for both programs to get some national TV exposure right at the start of the season. If the game runs on schedule and without any overtime, it should end around 10:15PM.

While the Nationwide Series enjoys a 30 minute pre-race show early in the year, all that changes when college football comes to town. This Saturday, it will be 15 minutes of Allen Bestwick, Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. This mini-show is scheduled for 9:45PM. That is only three hours after the MSU kick-off.

ESPN is heavily invested in college football and has just announced a long-term deal that brings SEC events to the network for more than two billion dollars in rights fees. The media company uses three cable TV networks, one broadcast network and multiple pay-per-view channels to get that product to the consumer.

Last season, college football spun the Nationwide Series around like a top. Once the football season is underway and begins to heat-up, NASCAR's second series staggers through the final nine events trying to get some TV time on the ESPN family of networks. Comparisons between the importance of the two sports are not relevant because NASCAR fans have been following the Nationwide Series on ESPN2 since February.

Now, less than three months away from the final race in Homestead the reality of college football will begin to play a role in the sport once again. Last weekend, the IRL telecast began on the ESPN Classic Network because of an over-run of LPGA Golf. NASCAR fans should once again become familiar with that channel location on the cable dial. It may well have its first use this Saturday and has the potential for many more during these last races of the 2008 Nationwide Season.

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40 comments:

stricklinfan82 said...

The only saving grace for us this weekend is that ESPN Classic doesn't have a live college football game at that time, so at least we have an overflow TV network available, though the loss of HD will hurt. I'm afraid we won't be so lucky for most of the rest of the year, as we saw at Memphis last year when the broadcast started as "Internet only" and only a miracle tackle in OT on ESPN2 spared us TV coverage starting in time for the green flag.

If ESPN is committed to college football that's fine, they should have never signed on to cover the Nationwide Series on Saturdays in the fall. Fox wanted all of NASCAR in 2001 but had the NFL in the fall, so NASCAR had to find someone else (NBC) to pay a discounted price for the second half of the season that Fox couldn't cover because of their football commitment.

The second half of the Nationwide Series should be on another network that doesn't have college football commitments every Saturday - Fox, TNT, Speed, FX, somewhere. I can only fear what will happen the day rain inevitably gets involved in one of these Nationwide races on a college football Saturday.

slithybill said...

I believe college football has changed their rules again this season to try to speed up the game. But I don't think it will be enough to shorten them to 3 hours.

Didn't they learn their lesson last year? Apparently not. I guess they need another full time network. ESPN3, anyone?

By the way, how do the ratings on ESPN2 compare between college football and the Nationwide series? I know it depends on the teams that are playing on any given weekend, but wouldn't ESPN rather have more ads in the higher-rated event and thus be able to charge more for those ads?

Anonymous said...

Well Daly Planet viewers wanted less pre-race and more post-race. So now we only have 15 minutes of pre-race lol

alex said...

I don't blame ESPN for trying to juggle it. It's just the nature of the beast when they joined the Nascar TV landscape. I'm a huge Nascar fan, but saturday afternoon I'll be at a football game.

Richard in N.C. said...

My impression is that ESPN controls kick-off time for the vast majority of college football games - so I'm not at all clear why they would not want to start the football game 15 or 30 minutes earlier.

Anonymous said...

This is going to stink for those of us who have to depend on Tivo for our races. I am committed to other things, and I always Tivo the races, and this juggling act drives me crazy. I never know what I'm going to be seeing when I flick on my Tivo.

I just wish they would give the races to Speed and kick ESPN right were it hurts the most.

Dot said...

Oh joy, college football. Why does it always seem that every game before a race is always tied? Or, there are 3 minutes left and it takes 45 minutes to run down the clock?

Being a race fan, I understand fan passion. I guess it could be worse. We could be drag racing fans. (I am). That series is the double red headed step child twice removed on ESPN2. Qualifying for that series is on after the race, maybe.

JD, is ESPN penalized for not starting the race on time? Do we end up seeing more commls because they weren't shown on ESPN2 vs Classic once if flips back (if it starts there)? I know there are fewer h/hs that receive Classic. What's the sponsors (TV, not cars) take on this issue? Just wondering.

Gymmie said...

agreed stlnfan82! I don't care about how many "pots" they have cooking on any given day, but when you have too many on the stove something is going to boil over and unfortunately it's the redheaded stepchild aka NA$CAR :(.

I really really really wish we could have a NA$CAR channel so that we just have ONE channel to go to for EVERYTHING! Not sure with what...but there's got to be a way to "fill" the other time.

I also fear rain and what it might do to the mess that already is Saturday. Everything is so packed tightly with absolutely no breathing room.

Newracefan said...

Guess it's the radio via internet for me, no Classic or 360 here. There is just something inherently wrong with commiting to televise an entire series and then not leave room for it. It's like the guy who is always late because he forgets to factor in travel time.

Jessica said...

Just this season espn has punted practice and qualifying to SPEED. Is there any chance that they would punt all or part of a nationwide race?

Vicky D said...

Gymmie - be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I think if ESPN just gives more time between the football game and race would solve a lot of problems.

Erik said...

The college game should move along closer to the 3:06 average length of the NFL game with the new rules. Though, we'll see.

Other than that, I will refrain from commenting.

haus20 said...

Next year will be very interesting. With the new SEC contract starting, something will have to give...it will certainly be interesting to see what is in store for '09.

Gymmie said...

yes I definitely agree Vicky :(. I don't know why they didn't think to do that...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Erik,

Here is a comment on the new 40 second play clock from experienced Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti:

"The national commissioners for college officials, they say with the old 25-second clock, they gave their guys 13-14 seconds to start the clock," Bellotti said. "The reality is the 40-second clock should not change the tempo of the game unless you choose to change it."

NCAA executive Rogers Redding said: "The (rules)committee is struggling with trying to maintain a reasonable length of the game."

Should be interesting on Saturday.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

dot,

The over-run of a previous live event does not result in a penalty, but for the Sprint Cup Series the network showing the race must cover the event from green to checkers.

Remember the Fox baseball over-run earlier this season? They were going to move a national baseball game from Fox to the FX cable network in order to get the green flag on a Cup race.

While the Nationwide Series does not have the same TV issue, ESPN has already invested seven months of hard work and millions of dollars in TV production costs to show this series exclusively from February until this point.

The thing to remember is that college football did this to this same NASCAR series last season and NASCAR is not likely for be as patient with this issue in 2008.

JD

Anonymous said...

College football will always get better treatment by ESPN . It draws a much larger viewing audience than Nationwide , or for that matter most of the other programming on ESPN . Remember , there is widespread betting on football , that means more people tuning in . That is also the only reason anyone watches Sports Center .
Be careful in wishing for a NASCAR only network . All of the other hours would have to be filled with worthless drivel like SPEED has , that godawfull Pinks show for instance . And Truck U that has a Nielsen rating of .0002 . Even that shows' director goes to lunch while they're filming it so he doesn't have to watch .

Anonymous said...

How can anyone (except maybe the LAME staff at Fontana) possibly think starting a Nationwide race AFTER 10:00 PM EDT is anything short of absurd. When you draw 23 people for the Nationwide race, based on the local grocer giving away 18 tickets, you would think a prime time east coast tv audience would indeed be the big draw...obviously such is not the case.

majorshouse said...

I still say that Darlington got the shaft by California on Labor Day weekend and I do not want to hear the crap about not selling the place out because all we have to do is to look at the attendance at California and I hate these late starting times and may listen to the Nationwide race on the radio. I wish that we could have all of the NASCAR races on the Speed channel. I realize that they have certain commitments right now, but wish that could change because football is definitely drawing a larger audience right now and let's face it, ESPN's coverage has been less than stellar and I think that the Speed crew would give us better excitement and a better commitment to the racing as well.

glenc1 said...

anon 5:35, I watch college football and Sportcenter and I never place bets, except for the occasional Superbowl 'pick a square' deal. There are *some* people who just want an update on what's going on in the sports world, believe it or not. and though I agree on the ratings college football gets; the issue is that ESPN made this committment with these things already known to them.

As for the starting time, they're not going to get the fans IN the seats if you don't start it at a time designed for them (it's a night race...) I'm an East coaster, but I think CA fans get enough of the shaft. And no, I might not watch it all, but I doubt they get to see all those races that start at 5pm on a Friday (for them) as they're driving home. Just trying to see it from their point of view (and there are certainly more than 23 of them...)

gwsp3 said...

10:00PM EDT? Forget it. I have followed NASCAR and all it's series for 50+ years but this is ridiculous. If NASCAR and ESPN have no better regard for the sport and fans than this, they can sure do without me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a lot of negative talk and it hasn't even happened yet. CFB has adapted the NFL clock rule (with the 40 second play clock that starts immediately after the previous play). Maybe we should see if it does start late, before everyone starts talking smack against ESPN.

Anonymous said...

The 40 Second clock rule certainly Speeded up the NFL games. Average game times in the NFL are 3 hours!

Geez said...

"10:00PM EDT? Forget it. I have followed NASCAR and all it's series for 50+ years but this is ridiculous. If NASCAR and ESPN have no better regard for the sport and fans than this, they can sure do without me".

The folks on the west coast should be able to have one night race don't you think? It's only one race a year. coffee up.:-)

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that Stater gave away so many tickets to Fontana, until I heard a caller on Sirius Speedway show on Tuesday afternoon said Stater gave away as many tickets as they could so when he went to the track, he held his free ticket in one hand and used the over to cover his wallet because Fontana would charge you for the air you breathe if they could.

Anonymous said...

The bigger change College Football made was adopting the NFL rule on when to start the game clock after a player goes out of bounds.

College used to always start it on the snap. Now it will start when the ball is spotted ready for play when there is more than 2 minutes in each half. That is the same as the NFL, except the NFL uses 5 minutes.

No doubt, this will cut down the length of the games. By how much is anyones guess.

GinaV24 said...

Well, since my cable provider doesn't have ESPN Classic available to me in my area (and I've already complained, begged, pleaded what have you to them about it), I guess that means I'll listen to races on the radio. Actually, that's fine. The telecast for both the nationwide and cup series just isn't so exciting that I can't follow it another way. Call me "tuned out"

Anonymous said...

I think that ESPN does a crappy job at covering NASCAR...I wish all of the NASCAR events were on SPEED!

Anonymous said...

Having the California Nationwide race on any other network would not change the east coast start time. Auto Club Speedway starts the race at 7pm local. ESPN or any other network can't change that. And why would they? Ever sat in the hot California smog at 2 in the afternoon on metal bleachers? Brutal!
As for college football, I can only imagine that their are thousands of people out there yelling at their TV because there's a NASCAR race on and not another football game. I wonder if they outnumber the faithful of TDP

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:21PM,

Don't understand your points at all but you are welcome to express them.

Here is a "?" you can borrow as well.

JD

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:21pm, I completely understand your points and agree with them. Not hard to understand at all. Very good points!

snowfaller said...

Well, as a first trial run, the west coast showing of NASCAR Now is supposed to be on ESPN2 right now and there are only 11 minutes left in the college football game being shown...

Get ready NASCAR fans, it's going to be a long fall.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:50PM,

You do understand that this race has been a disaster from the first season?

Last year, it was a disaster of epic porportions. The race date itself has been changed.

Never has Cali hit on a combination of time of day and day of week that will please SoCal fans.

College football is now in its second season of clashing with Saturday's NASCAR agenda.

Last year ESPN just dumped the Saturday coverage and this season NASCAR somehow gave the early untelevised activity to SPEED.

College football starts on Saturday, while NASCAR started in February. Comparing the early sessions or the Nationwide Series to a national college football game from a ratings perspective makes absolutely no sense.

If ESPN did not have room for practice, qualifying and the Nationwide Series all of which have been televised live for years, they should not have done the NASCAR TV deal.

Hope that helps to address my points in your answer.

JD

Anonymous said...

For what its worth, none of the nationally televised college football games last night finished within a three hour tv window. It appeared about 3:20 was the average, and some did appear to approach 3:45. My guess is the green flag will be on Classic.

This is the nationwide series, not the sprint cup series. They don't deserve the same level of protected tv coverage. Somebody has to draw the short straw, and the end of an event is more important than the start of the next one.

NASCAR would have had to award nationwide to a network that doesn't air any other live events, even if it meant less money. Its not like ESPN just started to show college football.

PammH said...

My 2 cents, for what it's worth..I live in the midwest, so even tho it's the wk-end, I'm OLD (50's) & there is NOOO way I will stay up to watch a Cup Lite race that probably won't even start at the advertised time of 10 EDT!! So I can't channel hop like I had to for at least 1 CL race last yr to keep up. And it's a shame, because I root for BK & unless the regular Nascar shows give me alot of highlites, I'm kinda SOL for this race-it po's me off, to say the least. I HATE the 4 letter network..grrr. :end of rant: I'm cranky because I care..;)

Gymmie said...

If ESPN did not have room for practice, qualifying and the Nationwide Series all of which have been televised live for years, they should not have done the NASCAR TV deal.

Definitely agree! We shouldn't have to deal with tape delay (which is why everyone was celebrating when the Pick 'em Ups went to SPEED..because you had to avoid EVERYTHING including *their* ticker so you wouldn't find out who won). Then when they say they'll air at it 12:30 am, because the race went over and there's a live football game coming up, you get a "surprise" that they're going to interrupt half way through for some silly baseball show.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Saturday NASCAR coverage on SPEED.

A post for the Nationwide Series race will be up at 8PM Eastern Time.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

It does suck for the fans on the East Coast that the Nationwide race starts so late. BUT the West Coast fans get shafted quite often and they should get the experience of having a "night" race. I doubt many of you would want to be here (Auto Club Speedway) where the local time is 4 pm and the temp is 94. So to start the race an in hour when it is 8 pm on the East Coast would have brutal temperatures. This won't be a problem next year when we are in Atlanta. I have no control over college football but I share the pain of the race switching channels.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up for the Nationwide Series coverage on ESPN2.

JD

Anonymous said...

Those of us on the West Coast are constantly screwed by the tv schedule ... Try waking up to see qualifying or practice at 6-7am ...

The football game on The Deuce is a WAC game ... They don't always run as long as the bigger conferences ...


Let's see ... Weather in Atlanta this weekend is highs around 90 with scattered thundershowers ... Fontana - high today about 90 with tomorrow about 86 ... Give me the dry heat any day over scattered thundershowers & heat ... In mid-October, SoCal gets the Santa Ana winds & heat so it could be hotter next year in Oct than it was last year at Labor Day ...



Most people forget that NASCAR didn't used to start the season with the Daytona 500 & Speedweeks ... They used to start in January in SoCal ...




Not everyone has ESPN Classic ... It's NOT a viable option for Disney to keep throwing the race coverage up there ...