Today's San Antonio Express reports that Fox is negotiating with ESPN to carry the 6 Big XII footbal games that used to be carried by TBS. Good news? Very likely...depending on the time and network the games appear on. ESPN already has a rather full schedule of college football with Big Televen, ACC, Big East, and SEC games on at various times during the day. In recent years, ESPN2 has carried SEC games with 9 pm kickoffs locally. While folks at home wouldn't necessarily mind a late kickoff for TV, fans who have to drive hours to return home may have different opinions. (Especially when you consider the lack of hotel rooms on football Saturdays in Lincoln...)
Also, no word on which of the ESPN networks these games would end up on. ESPN? Great! ESPN2? Still better than FSN. ESPN-U? Uh, oh. Heck, these games might end up getting bumped all the way to the Ocho.
If this contract happens, look for games to get squeezed into the existing ESPN schedule, mostly on afternoons and evenings. If that happens and the games end up on ESPN and ESPN2, it's an improvement over TBS and FSN. The Fox TV network would have been even better, but apparantly ABC has the exclusive rights to broadcast coverage of Big XII football, meaning that these games must remain on cable TV.
If ESPN does pick up the games, hopefully they'll assign Ron Franklin to all Big XII football games like they assign him to Big XII basketball. Franklin and CBS' Verne Lundquist are the two best college football announcers around for my money.
The same reporter from the San Antonio Express-News took a shot last week at Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman for calling Thursday night games a "disaster". From a pure fan and University standpoint, Perlman's position was reasonable. When NU-Rice had to be moved after 9/11, it forced classes to be cancelled and was certainly inconvenient for fans. In the grand scheme of things, cancelling classes one evening pales to the event that caused the game to be rescheduled in the first place. Chalk up yet another PR gaffe for the Pederson/Perlman cabal.