September 26, 2023

The early college football TV show enters the picture with Deion Sanders, Colorado getting major spotlight

With the 2023 college football season just a few months away, the early season broadcast schedule is slowly being finalized.

Multiple networks unveiled their rosters on Wednesday, giving us a glimpse of the action-packed Saturdays to come. Week 1 is especially intriguing.

Starting Thursday night (Aug. 31), Utah will host Florida at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, facing Matt Rhule’s Nebraska debut on the road versus Minnesota on Fox. Of the five Friday games, the most notable will be an ACC meeting between Georgia Tech and Louisville on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. Michigan State (7 p.m. vs. Central Michigan on FS1) and Miami (7 p.m. vs. Miami Ohio on ACC Network) will also in action on Friday evening.

That weeknight action will be a nice preview for a fun Saturday slate featuring Deion Sanders’ Colorado debut and the first glimpse of Big Ten football on CBS and NBC:

  • Colorado at TCU (afternoon on Fox)

  • Virginia vs. Tennessee (afternoon on ABC)

  • East Carolina in Michigan (afternoon on Peacock)

  • Boise State in Washington (3:30 p.m. on ABC)

  • Ohio State at Indiana (3:30 p.m. on CBS)

  • Rice in Texas (3:30 p.m. on Fox)

  • North Carolina vs. South Carolina (7:30 p.m. on ABC)

  • West Virginia at Penn State (7:30 p.m. on NBC/Peacock)

Week 1 continues over the Memorial Day weekend through Sunday and Monday.

Before Week 1’s biggest game, CBS has a double-header with Northwestern at Rutgers at 12:00 PM and Oregon State at San Jose State at 3:30 PM. The Sunday Nightcap is the big game between LSU and Florida State in Orlando. LSU earns an SEC West title in its first season under Brian Kelly and is expected to be even better in 2023.

FSU meanwhile had a breakthrough with 10 wins last year and is the current betting favorite (+175) to win the ACC at BetMGM. FSU is just ahead of Clemson on the ACC title shot board. Listed at +200, Clemson will be in action Monday night as it travels to Duke for an 8 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

FILE - Colorado head coach Deion Sanders watches the first half of the team's spring training NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 22, 2023 in Boulder, Colo.  Scouting and recruiting players in the NCAA transfer portal is an essential part of building a college football program.  Sanders' team has added 20 transfers since the portal opened on April 15.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders will be in the national spotlight as CU’s first two games will be part of Fox’s “Big Noon Saturday” broadcast. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Week 2 schedule is loaded

Week 2 schedule is even better than week 1.

The group of games is highlighted by the trip from Texas to Alabama at 7 p.m. on ESPN. There’s also the rematch between Texas A&M and Miami (3:30 p.m. on ABC), Notre Dame heads to NC State (afternoon on ABC), Oregon visits Lubbock to take on Texas Tech (7 p.m. on Fox), Nebraska’s trip to Colorado for another “Big Noon Saturday” showcase for the Coach Prime crew (which actually kicks off locally at 10 a.m.), Ole Miss’s trip to New Orleans to face defending Cotton Bowl champion Tulane (3:30 p.m. on ESPN2) and the annual Iowa v. Iowa State rivalry game (3:30 p.m. on Fox).

Here’s a more detailed look at what’s been announced for Week 2:

  • Notre Dame in NC State (afternoon on ABC)

  • Nebraska in Colorado (afternoon on Fox)

  • Utah in Baylor (afternoon on ESPN)

  • Troy at Kansas State (afternoon on FS1)

  • Purdue at Virginia Tech (afternoon on ESPN2)

  • Texas A&M in Miami (3:30 p.m. on ABC

  • Iowa State of Iowa (3:30 p.m. on Fox)

  • Ole Miss at Tulane (3:30 p.m. on ESPN2)

  • Texas in Alabama (7 p.m. on ESPN)

  • Oregon at Texas Tech (7 p.m. on Fox)

  • UCF at Boise State (7 p.m. on FS1)

  • Wisconsin in Washington State (7:30 p.m. on ABC)

  • Arizona in the state of Mississippi (7:30 p.m. on SECN)

  • Stanford at USC (10:30 p.m. on ESPN)

  • Oklahoma State at Arizona State (10:30 p.m. on FS1)

  • Maroon at Cal (10:30 p.m. on ESPN

College Football: Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) in action, passes against Alabama Will Anderson Jr.  (31) and Dallas Turner (15) at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium.  Austin, TX 9/10/2022 CREDIT: Greg Nelson (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X164150)

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) passes to Will Anderson Jr. (31) and Dallas Turner (15) of Alabama at Darrell K Royal Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Fox puts Deion Sanders, Colorado front and centre

Colorado’s unprecedented roster transformation under new coach Deion Sanders was the talk of the offseason. Primarily using the transfer portal (and some high school recruiting), Sanders has brought dozens of new players to Boulder after a brutal 1-11 record in 2022.

That new Buffs roster will gain national audiences in Weeks 1 and 2, with Fox announcing Wednesday that Colorado will be part of the season’s first two “Big Noon Saturday” broadcasts. In Week 1, Colorado heads to Fort Worth to take on TCU, which is in second place.

In Week 2, Fox heads to Boulder for a unique local kickoff at 10 a.m. as the Buffs host Nebraska at Folsom Field. Nebraska enters its first season with Matt Rhule as head coach.

Plus, ESPN gets in on the Colorado action in Week 3 for CU’s home game against Colorado State. That game is scheduled to kick off at 10 PM ET. ESPN will also broadcast Colorado’s Friday night home game against Stanford on October 13 at 10 p.m. ET. Another Friday night game — CU’s Nov. 17 trip to Washington State — airs on FS1 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Big Ten debuted on CBS and NBC

Big Ten’s new television deal kicks off this season with a series of Big Ten games airing on CBS and NBC. CBS will begin incorporating the Big Ten into its arsenal when it closes its deal with the SEC. This will be the final year of the longstanding “SEC on CBS” broadcast.

Included in the NBC deal are games that will stream exclusively on Peacock, including Michigan’s season opener against East Carolina. The other Peacock exclusive games are Delaware at Penn State on September 9 and Washington at Michigan State on September 16.

Confirmed Big Ten on CBS Broadcast Schedule So Far:

  • Saturday, September 2: Ohio State in Indiana (3:30 p.m.)

  • Sunday, September 3: Northwestern at Rutgers (afternoon)

  • Saturday, September 9: UNLV in Michigan (3:30 p.m.)

  • Saturday, September 23: Iowa at Penn State (7:30 p.m.)

  • Saturday October 28: Matchup TBA (afternoon)

  • Saturday November 4: Matchup TBA (afternoon)

  • Friday, November 24: Iowa in Nebraska (afternoon)

NBC’s Big Ten Offerings:

Saturday September 2

Saturday September 9

Saturday September 16

Saturday September 23

Saturday November 11

Friday November 24

Midweek C-USA is present

We’re all fans of the midweek MAC games that usually appear on the schedule in late October and early November. Starting this season, Conference USA midweek games will be part of our college football weeks.

Conference USA will look very different this year with Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA all heading to the AAC. With those schools leaving, Jackson State, Liberty, New Mexico State, and Sam Houston all joined the conference. C-USA is now a nine-team league, trailing FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP and Western Kentucky.

To get a little more attention for the conference’s new look, Conference USA smartly agreed to a midweek scheduling model that will primarily take place in October. There will be 10 weekday games on CBS Sports Network and ESPN with nine games on ESPN2 or ESPNU. The games are mainly spread over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There is also a Friday game.

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