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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