College football on television
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College football on television includes the broad- and cablecasting of college football games, as well as pre- and post-game reports, analysis, and human-interest stories. Within the United States, the college version of American football annually garners high television ratings.
College football games have been broadcast since 1939, beginning with the 1939 Waynesburg vs. Fordham football game on September 30 in New York City. The introduction of sports-specific television networks has increased the amount of air-time available for coverage. Today, dozens of games are available for viewing each week of the football season. Other coverage includes local broadcasts of weekly coach's programs. These programs have become an important sources of revenue for the universities and their athletics programs.
Coverage is dependent on negotiations between the broadcaster and the college football conference or team. The televised games may change from year-to-year depending on which teams are having a strong season, although some traditional rivalry games are broadcast each year. Some games are traditionally associated with a specific event or holiday, and viewing the game itself can become a holiday tradition for fans. Post-season bowl games, including the Bowl Championship Series, are presently all televised, most of them by the ESPN networks.
Universities found to have seriously violated NCAA rules have occasionally been penalized with a "television ban"; the effect can equal that of the "death penalty". The sanction is rarely applied except for the most egregious of circumstances, such as the Southern Methodist University football scandal.
- 1 History
- 2 Broadcast rights
- 2.1 Networks
- 2.2 Cable stations
- 2.3 Canada
- 2.4 Conference affiliations (by home team)
- 3 Televised games
- 4 Announcers
- 5 Announcers, Canada
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Prior to television
Prior to that, various other means of communication were used. For example, in 1911, more than 1,000 people gathered in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, to watch a mechanical reproduction of the 1911 Kansas vs. Missouri football game while it was being played. A Western Union telegraph wire was set up direct from Columbia, Missouri, to relay the action.
Early televised broadcasts
The first televised college football game occurred during the "experimental" era of television's broadcasting history, when a game between Fordham University and Waynesburg College was broadcast on September 30, 1939. One month later, Kansas State's homecoming contest against the University of Nebraska was the first homecoming game to be broadcast on October 23, 1939 . The following season, on October 5, 1940, what is described as the "first commercially televised game" between the University of Maryland and the University of Pennsylvania was broadcast by Philco. Fairly sporadic broadcasts continued throughout World War II.
By 1950, a small number of football schools, including Penn (ABC) and the University of Notre Dame (DuMont Television Network) had entered into individual contracts with networks to broadcast their games regionally. In fact, all of Penn's home games were broadcast on ABC during the 1950 season under a contract that paid Penn $150,000. However, prior to the 1951 season, the NCAA – alarmed by reports that indicated television decreased attendance at games – asserted control and prohibited live broadcasts of games. Although the NCAA successfully forced Penn and Notre Dame to break their contracts, the NCAA suffered withering attacks for its 1951 policy, faced threats of antitrust hearings and eventually caved in and lifted blackouts of certain sold-out games. Nonetheless, the first national broadcast of a live college football game, which was also the first coast-to-coast live broadcast of any sports contest, was Duke at the University of Pittsburgh on September 29, 1951 on NBC.[dubious ] Bowl games were always outside the control of the NCAA, and the 1952 Rose Bowl at the end of that season was the first national telecast of a college bowl game, on NBC.
For the 1952 season, the NCAA relented somewhat, but limited telecasts to one nationally-broadcast game each week. The NCAA sold the exclusive rights to broadcast the weekly game to NBC for $1,144,000. The first game shown under this contract was Texas Christian University against the University of Kansas, on September 20, 1952. In 1953, the NCAA allowed NBC to add what it called "panorama" coverage of multiple regional broadcasts for certain weeks – shifting national viewers to the most interesting game during its telecast. NBC lost the college football contract beginning in 1954, prompting it to carry Canadian football instead.
The NCAA believed that broadcasting one game a week would prevent further controversy while limiting any decrease in attendance. However, the Big Ten Conference was unhappy with the arrangement, and it pressured the NCAA to allow regional telecasts as well. Finally, in 1955 the NCAA revised its plan, keeping eight national games while permitting true regional telecasts during five specified weeks of the season. This was essentially the television plan that stayed in place until the University of Oklahoma and the University of Georgia filed suit against the NCAA in 1981, alleging antitrust violations.
Bowl games were always exempt from the NCAA's television regulations, and the games' organizers were free to sign rights deals with any network. Mizlou Television Network, for instance, carried many of the bowl games (mostly lower-end bowls) despite not holding any regular season rights.
On June 27, 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in NCAA v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Oklahoma that the NCAA's television plan violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. As a result, individual schools and athletic conferences were freed to negotiate contracts on their own behalf. The year after the Supreme Court decision, nearly 200 games were televised, compared to the previous year’s 89. College football’s television ratings slumped due to market saturation, and the price of a 30 second advertisement plunged from $57,000 in 1983 to $15,000 in 1984, while the combined take from network television fell more than 60 percent. Despite the monetary suffering of the universities, the additional coverage had a positive impact for fans of college football. “Everyone talks about money, but no one seems to care about the football fan. He is the one who benefited from deregulation. And he isn’t complaining,” said Chuck Neinas, the former commissioner of the Big Eight Conference. Together with the growth of cable television, this ruling resulted in the explosion of broadcast options currently available.
However, in the immediate wake of the ruling, most schools still decided to jointly negotiate their television contracts through the now-defunct College Football Association. The Big Ten Conference and Pacific-10 Conference were not members of the CFA, opting to negotiate their own TV deals.
Effects of television exposure
Television exposure has been used as a selling point in recruiting high school athletes. "We’re recruiting all over the country, and it’s nice to be able to go in someone’s home and say, ‘You can turn on the TV and watch the Buckeyes six to eight times a year," said former Ohio State head coach John Cooper.
Television money and generous donors have allowed universities to provide modern facilities and luxurious amenities to college football teams. The Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium at the University of Texas offers fans the opportunity to lease suites for $88,000 a year. The suites include theater-style seats, televisions, kitchenettes and bars. The athletes ride to practice in chartered buses and dress beneath a three-dimensional 20-foot lighted longhorn in a locker room that includes a nutrition center, players’ lounge and "state-of-the-art" ventilation system.
Nationally televised games also brought new notoriety, revenue and growth for leagues that had rarely appeared on television. As the cable networks grew and expanded, they sought more games to fill time. Former Mid-American Conference (MAC) Commissioner Rick Chryst attributes his league’s expansion to a deal that put several MAC games per year on ESPN.
Television added to the prestige of college football programs that never would have received exposure in the 1950s, a period when television was blamed for falling attendance. A 1948 study conducted by the Crossley Corporation at the NCAA’s request found that fans thought watching televised games was equal or superior to watching from the stands. In 1950, a study by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago said that attendance at college football games would have been 40 percent higher if no games had been televised.
The popularity of televised college football has been accompanied by a growth in game attendance. In 1949, when the U.S. population was around 150 million, 17.5 million spectators attended a college football game. By 2012, after the population had doubled, attendance had grown proportionally higher, at nearly 50 million people.
The modern era
When Notre Dame left the CFA to sign an exclusive deal with NBC in 1991, it shocked the college football world and marked the true beginning of the modern era. By 1995, the CFA had fallen apart completely.
One of the most significant side-effects of the changes in television policy since 1991 has been the sharp decrease in independent schools and realignment of athletic conferences, as schools sought to pool and increase their bargaining power. Television has also driven the trend of universities (generally mid-majors) playing football on weekdays rather than the traditional Saturdays, in order to have their games broadcast.
The pursuit of television money has provided financial independence to many big-time university athletic programs, since they can independently auction their "product" to the highest bidder. Some universities have limited authority over the athletic directors and coaches. In 2009, Florida President J. Bernard Machen said that due to the presence of ESPN money, the university no longer had control of its athletics department. Studies have also shown that success of big-time sports programs alters students’ academic behavior, reducing the amount of activity at the library and lowering men’s grade point averages with each victory.
Television and cable networks control the schedule of football games. ESPN broadcasts nationally televised college football games on Thursday nights each week, making it the college equivalent of the NFL’s Monday Night Football. The energy and excitement of such an atmosphere generally benefits the home teams, which have a winning record on Thursday nights. The midweek games are scheduled with no consideration of academics, rest and recovery for athletes, and university logistical issues such as competition for parking between faculty and students and fans. For example, the logistical issues are such a problem for the University of Georgia that midweek home games are forbidden. However, most coaches are happy to tackle the logistical issues for the sake TV scheduling and money.
ABC has been airing college football since acquiring the NCAA contract in 1966. Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson were the number one broadcast team. Keith Jackson, its best-known college football play-by-play man, announced games from 1966 through 2005 on ABC (and for 14 years before that for various outlets), and was considered by many to be "the voice of college football." From 1966 through 1981, ABC was the exclusive network home for regular season NCAA football telecasts. In 1982 and 1983, ABC and CBS split the package. In 1984, after the NCAA television contract was invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, ABC began a three-year deal televising CFA games, featuring most major college teams except members of the Big Ten and Pacific-10, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Miami, the games of which were televised by CBS. From 1987 to 1990, ABC televised Big Ten and Pacific-10 games. Since 1991, ABC has had contracts with most of the major BCS conferences, which leads it to broadcast many of its games regionally. ABC began airing a weekly Saturday night primetime football game in the fall of 2006, when the network's sports division converted to ESPN on ABC. Nearly all regional ABC games that air on a given Saturday are also available as part of a pay-per-view package called ESPN GamePlan, and online via ESPN3.
NBC broadcast the Rose Bowl beginning in 1952 until the 1988 Rose Bowl when ABC took over. It had the Orange Bowl from 1965 through 1995. (The 1971 contest held the distinction of being the very last sporting event on US television to carry cigarette ads.) NBC has an exclusive contract with Notre Dame, which began in 1991. Since that time, NBC has carried nationally all of Notre Dame's home games, paying at least $9 million per season for broadcast rights. Recently, Notre Dame's ratings have been down significantly due to relatively poor play; Notre Dame games on NBC drew less than half the ratings that CBS and ABC averaged for their college football games in 2008. NBC is also the home of the annual "Bayou Classic" between Grambling State University and Southern University at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game is well known for its Battle of the Bands between the schools at halftime.
CBS shared the NCAA package with ABC in 1982 and 1983 and was also required to locally broadcast four Division III contests each year as part of that contract. (For the 1982 season, these four contests were instead aired nationwide and produced using the staff of the NFL on CBS, which had been idled due to a players' strike that year.) From 1984 to 1986, CBS televised games involving the Big Ten, Pacific-10, and Atlantic Coast Conferences, plus the University of Miami. From 1987 to 1990, CBS televised CFA, ACC and Miami games. CBS broadcast several important games in the 1980s, such as the classic Boston College–Miami game that ended with Doug Flutie's Hail Mary on November 23, 1984, and the "Catholics vs. Convicts" showdowns between Notre Dame and Miami from 1987 to 1990. CBS did not televise any regular season college football games from 1991 to 1995. The network aired Big East games from 1996–2000, and since 1996 has broadcast SEC games. CBS currently holds the right for the first pick for any game where an SEC team is at home, along with the rights to televise the SEC Championship game. The network also broadcasts the annual Army–Navy Game, the Navy–Notre Dame game in even-numbered years (where Navy is the home team and chooses to play in a larger stadium), and the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve.
Although its regional networks also air games, until 2012, Fox did not air any regular season college football games. It did, however, air the Bowl Championship Series from 2006 to 2009 (excluding any event held at the Rose Bowl, whose rights were held by ABC) and has aired the Cotton Bowl Classic since 1999. In 2011, it began airing the Big Ten Football Championship Game, and the Pac-12 Championship Game (alternating with ESPN). In 2012, Fox began airing regular season college football games from the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences.
PBS briefly carried the Ivy League in the 1980s.  The cost of rights, coupled with a prohibition on commercials that most PBS affiliates were required to honor, eventually made the airing of sports on the network an unworkable proposition.
Tri-State Christian Television, a religious broadcaster covering the midwestern United States, began carrying the broadcasts of the Liberty Flames football team. The Flames are the football team of Liberty University, the conservative Baptist college founded by the late Jerry Falwell. TCT's tape-delayed broadcasts of Liberty football games began in 2013.
In addition, Raycom Sports and ESPN Plus syndicate games to broadcast stations and regional sports networks on a market-by-market basis. Many conferences also run their own syndicated network. Included in these are the Southland Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference who run the Southland Conference Television Network, the Sun Belt Network, and the WAC Sports Network.
TBS became the first cable station to nationally broadcast college football live when it began airing games during the 1982 season. The games were aired under a special "supplemental" television contract with the NCAA. ESPN followed later the same year, starting with a simulcast of the Independence Bowl match-up between Kansas State and the University of Wisconsin on December 11, 1982, which was the first college football game shown live on ESPN. (TBS subsequently left the field for several years, but again broadcast college football games from 2002–2006, showing Big 12 and Pac-10 matchups sublicensed from Fox Sports Net.)
In the wake of the 1984 Supreme Court ruling that broke the NCAA monopoly, ESPN immediately began airing regular season games live, starting with a contest between Pittsburgh and BYU on September 1, 1984. The network aired a 48-game package that year. ESPN2 began broadcasting live games in 1994, ESPNU began in 2005.
ABC gets first choice of games over the ESPN networks, especially from the American Athletic Conference, Big Ten, and ACC, because ABC and ESPN are owned by the same company. Many marquee games will still air on ESPN so they can air in prime-time, without being limited to regional viewers or GamePlan subscribers, but not giving non-cable owners a chance to see the games (unlike the NFL, games on ESPN are not required to be simulcast on over-the-air stations in local markets). This also occurs because CBS, not ABC, owns broadcast TV rights to the SEC, and thus only the ESPN networks can air the second and third-choice games (normally on Saturday nights); CBS having made the first pick. Likewise, FSN is the cable partner for Big 12 and Pac-12 games, and so only ABC can air games from those conference packages (it normally has the first pick), aside from a handful of games from each conference that ESPN purchases each year.
FSN sublicensed games to TBS from 2002-2006 from the Big 12 and Pac-10 Conferences and to Versus from 2007-2010. In 2011, FSN is moving those games to FX. Joining the Big 12 and Pac 12 Conferences on FX will be Conference USA. Those games moved to Fox Sports 1 upon the channel's launch in 2013.
BET carried college football games from historically black colleges and universities under the Black College Football banner from 1981 through 2005 (in later years, the coverage was co-produced by CBS). This ended after the breakup of CBS and Viacom. Black college football games are now seen on the ESPN networks as well as on Bounce TV.
In the early 2000s, entire networks devoted to college sports, including college football, began to appear. Fox College Sports began in 2002. College Sports Television (now CBS Sports Network) debuted in 2002, becoming a CBS subsidiary in 2005. ESPNU began in March 2005. In the late 2000s, networks devoted to a single conference (e.g. Big Ten Network, MountainWest Sports Network) or team (Longhorn Network) began to appear.
Regional cable networks have long devoted coverage to one or two conferences. The Pac 12 and Big 12 have had deals with FSN since 1996, which airs games on its regional family of networks. As noted above, Fox Sports 1 and ESPN have also acquired the rights to certain games. The Mountain West Conference entered into an arrangement with CBS Sports Network and Comcast that developed the "MountainWest Sports Network" or "the mtn" that was devoted to broadcasting the league's games. The contract also placed 8 MWC football games and 5 men's basketball games along with the MWC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament Championships on Versus (now NBC Sports Network). MountainWest Sports Network ceased operations on May 31, 2012. The Big Ten also has a similar regional network, with the Big Ten Network having made its debut in August 2007. The Texas Longhorns debuted the Longhorn Network in the fall of 2011, and the Pac-12 will debut the Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Digital Network in fall of 2012. While it isn't a national network, the Western Athletic Conference and Learfield Sports started the WAC Sports Network in 2010 to broadcast games to local affiliates.
Canadian university football has had some national coverage of regular season games by terrestrial networks over the last 30 years, but the vast majority of broadcasts are on community channels, community TV networks or sports specialty channels. This is in part due to the sport's structure in Canada, where it is divided strictly into regional conferences and inter-conference play (other than in the maritimes, where there are too few teams and thus interleague play with Quebec teams occurs early in the season) is much rarer than in the United States, reducing the sport's national appeal.
In the early years of TSN during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the network broadcast some regular season games along with the OUAA or OQIFC finals.
Hamilton-based CHCH carried Ontario (OUA) university football games (typically involving the hometown McMaster Marauders) through the 1990s until 2002. Since 2003, The Score had offered a Saturday game of the week under the brand OUA University Rush. The Score currently in the process of being sold to Rogers Communications and is currently is the only English national broadcaster carrying university football games. The Score also broadcasts playoffs and the Yates Cup.
A series of community TV stations carry other games throughout Ontario. Rogers outlets in Ottawa, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and London broadcast games. TV Cogeco outlets in Windsor, Hamilton and Kingston also broadcast games. Kingston broadcasts of Queen's Gaels football are tape delayed for same day broadcast, while all other games are distributed live.
Quebec (and national Francophone)
Previously, RDS broadcast a game of the week package during the regular season. The rights for the Uteck Bowl, Mitchell Bowl and Vanier Cup belonged to RDS in 2011 and 2012. There is no agreement in place yet for the 2013 season.
In the early years of TSN during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the network broadcast some regular season games along with the Canada West final.
Games in Canada West games are carried throughout the Shaw TV system to subscribers through most regions of Western Canada and parts of Northern Ontario. In southern and central Saskatchewan the broadcasts are shared with Access Communications customers. Krown Produce Canada West Football on Shaw has been available since 2006.
Since 2010, the games have been available to 900,000 Shaw Direct subscribers nationally on channels 299 and 499.
In 2012, Shaw simulcast the games in anamorphic HD for free access on HD 303 on their systems.
Canada West renewed a three-year agreement with Shaw TV before the 2012 season.
Shaw also produces a weekly, 30-minute CIS highlight and features show, Krown Canadian University Countdown.
The Vanier Cup has had a wide and varied history on Canadian TV.
In the early 1970s, CBC Television broadcast the game. From the mid-1970s through to the mid-1980s the CTV Network broadcast the national final. TSN gained broadcast rights to the final in the late 1980s. On occasion, the network would broadcast a conference game nationally, but would mainly stick with conference finals, national semifinals (a.k.a. bowl games) and the national final.
TSN lost the rights to The Score in 2006 and 2007 for national bowl games and the Vanier Cup, but regained them in 2008.
Conference affiliations (by home team)
- All conferences, games and teams are Bowl Subdivision teams unless otherwise noted.
- ABC: ACC, American, Big 12, Big Ten, BYU, and Pac-12.
- CBS: SEC, along with the Army–Navy Game (every year), Notre Dame-Navy (even-numbered years), and Air Force Commander-in-Chief Trophy home games (sublicensed from CBS Sports Network)
- NBC: Notre Dame and Bayou Classic (FCS)
- Fox: Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten Championship Game, Pac-12 Championship Game (2011)
- ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Plus, ESPN Classic and ESPN3: ACC, American, Big 12, Big Ten, BYU, Conference USA Championship Game, MAC, Mountain West (sublicensed from CBS Sports Network), Pac-12, SEC (ESPN Plus games branded SEC Network), Sun Belt, MEAC (FCS) Turkey Day Classic (FCS), D-I FCS Tournament, D-II Championship Game, D-III Championship Game.
- FSN, Fox Sports 1, and Fox College Sports: ACC (classified as ACC Regional Network), Big 12, Conference USA, SEC (classified as SEC Regional Network), Pac-12, and Northern Arizona (FCS).
- Raycom Sports: ACC (branded ACC Network)
- CBS Sports Network: Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, Army, Navy, and NAIA Championship
- NBC Sports Network: Mountain West Conference (sublicensed from CBS Sports Network), Ivy League (FCS), CAA (FCS), Atlanta Football Classic (FCS)
- Bounce TV: CIAA (D-II), SIAC (D-II)
- America One: Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (D-II), Dakota Athletic Conference (NAIA)
- Big Ten Network: Big Ten
- Longhorn Network: Texas
- Pac-12 Network: Pac-12
- Root Sports: Big Sky (FCS)
In contrast to the National Football League, which uses the visiting team's conference affiliation to determine who broadcasts afternoon games, college football telecasts are assigned based on the home team's conference affiliation.
There are four conferences in Canada, plus a national playoff.
Regional and national coverage in 2012:
- The Score: OUA
- Shaw TV: Canada West
- TSN: The Canada West championship, Hardy Cup
- Radio-Canada: French: RSEQ
- Eastlink TV: AUS
National semifinals and final managed by Canadian Interuniversity Sport
- TSN: English: Uteck Bowl, Mitchell Bowl, Vanier Cup
- RDS: French: Uteck Bowl, Mitchell Bowl, Vanier Cup
Annual televised games
Some games are traditionally played on a specific date (often a holiday), and are nationally-televised every single year. These include:
- Auburn and Alabama – Known as "The Iron Bowl", it is one of the most heated rivalries in all of sports and has generally been the last game of the regular season. Since 2007, the game has been scheduled for either the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.
- Notre Dame and Michigan – Played in September in all but six seasons since 1978. Every one of these games has been on national network television, except the 1980 game (won by Notre Dame, 29-27, on a game-ending 51-yard field goal by Harry Oliver). The 1982 showdown was the first night game in the history of Notre Dame Stadium, with the use of portable lights from Musco Lighting, and was televised in prime time on ABC. The 1988 and 1990 games at Notre Dame were prime time telecasts on CBS, with both won by Notre Dame. The 2011 game, the first night game ever at Michigan Stadium and won by Michigan, was televised nationally by ESPN.
- Ohio State and Michigan – Traditionally played the third Saturday of every November, and normally broadcast on ABC. With the Big Ten adding a bye week, the game was moved to the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010.
- West Virginia and Pittsburgh (Backyard Brawl) – Usually played towards the end of the football season and always on national television. In the past, the Backyard Brawl games were on ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2. The future of this game is in doubt because of West Virginia's move to the Big 12 before the 2012 college football season.
- Tennessee vs. Alabama –Known as the "Third Saturday in October". This game has been played between the two schools on or around the same day of every year since 1901. Recently it has been either the third or fourth Saturday of October, depending on the calendar.
- Texas and Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry) – Played during the State Fair of Texas in Dallas on the second Saturday of October and broadcast on ABC. The 2009 game was moved back a week to the third Saturday in October, and the 2010 game was moved up to the first Saturday in October.
- USC and Notre Dame – USC–ND has had a national television audience every year since 1986, with the exception of 2002 when the game was a split-national telecast with Florida–Florida State. Notre Dame hosts the game in odd years in mid-October, and USC hosts the game in even years on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In the former case, NBC airs the game, while in the latter case, it is carried on the ESPN family of networks (ABC was the longtime carrier of games from Los Angeles, but in 2008 it aired on ESPN while ABC aired Oklahoma-Oklahoma State).
- Florida and Florida State – Usually played on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, during odd years the game is played in Gainesville, and aired on CBS. In even years, the game is played in Tallahassee on and aired or ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2.
- Texas A&M–Texas – Played on the day after Thanksgiving and televised annually on ABC through 2007. In 2008, Texas A&M vs. Texas was played on Thanksgiving night in Austin, and in 2009 was played on Thanksgiving night in College Station, with ESPN telecasting both games. The 2010 game in Austin was again played on Thanksgiving night. This annual game will no longer be played due to Texas' refusal to play Texas A&M after their move to the Southeastern Conference beginning in July 2012. A&M has publicly stated they wish to continue the annual game. Texas however states that their schedule is full until at least 2019.
- LSU and Arkansas – Known as "The Battle for the Golden Boot." Played on the day after Thanksgiving and broadcast on CBS from 1996-2008. The game was moved back a day to Saturday due to the Iron Bowl moving to the Friday slot for 2009 and 2010, but was broadcast by ESPN and CBS, respectively. CBS will once again broadcast the game on the day after Thanksgiving in 2011.
- Army–Navy Game – generally played on the last weekend of the regular season and broadcast on CBS since 1996. Since 2009, the game has been played on the second Saturday in December, and is the only FBS game that weekend.
- USC and UCLA – played during the last week of the regular season (2004–2008), when the game was broadcast on ABC between the ACC Championship Game and the Big 12 Championship Game. (NOTE: For the 2009 season USC played their final game against Arizona, but USC-UCLA was again each team's final game in 2010.) The ESPN family of networks still airs the game on odd-numbered years, while the Fox family of networks airs the game when played in Pasadena during even-numbered years.
- BYU and Utah – Known as "The Holy War" and as the "Deseret First Duel." The game was typically played the week before Thanksgiving until the 2011 season, when Utah moved to the Pac-12 and BYU became a football independent. The game was broadcast by ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPN Plus before 2007 and was simulcast on Mtn. and CBS Sports Network from 2007-2010. The game returns to the ESPN Family of Networks beginning in 2011, and could be seen on one of the Fox family of networks in even-numbered years. For the 2011 and 2012 seasons the game will take place during the third week of the season. Discussions are in place to have the game take place between September 29 and October 5, depending on what day the first Sunday in October falls on, for the 2013 season on.
- Grambling and Southern – Known as the Bayou Classic, the Grambling-Southern rivalry airs annually on NBC on the last Saturday afternoon in November (i.e., the Saturday following Thanksgiving). It is the only black college football classic, and the only non-FBS college football game, to air regularly on a nationwide broadcast television network.
- Rose Bowl – Annually broadcast since the 1952 Rose Bowl. Traditionally held on New Year's Day along with the Rose Parade; however, after joining the Bowl Championship Series, the 2002 game was played January 3 and the 2006 game was played January 4 due to the Rose Bowl being the national championship game. NBC was the longtime home of the Rose Bowl until the late 1980s, when ABC took over. ABC's final Rose Bowl was the 2010 game, and the network aired the BCS Championship Game from the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010. ESPN began televising the game in 2011.
- Orange Bowl – Traditionally held on New Year's Day. It was a New Year's night staple for many years on NBC, with NBC's last telecast being the 1995 game. CBS aired the game for three years, followed by ABC for eight years, and Fox for four years, with 2010 being the last Orange Bowl to air on Fox. ESPN began televising the game in 2011.
- Sugar Bowl – Traditionally held on New Year's Day. Its traditional time slot was early afternoon and was first telecast by the DuMont Network in 1953 and then by ABC from 1954 to 1958. From 1959 until 1969 NBC broadcast the game as a part of its New Year's Day trio of the Sugar, Rose and then Orange. ABC returned in 1970 and for 1972 convinced the Sugar Bowl committee to move the game to primetime on New Year's Eve where it remained through 1975. ABC aired the game up until 2006 when Fox purchased the rights for the BCS Bowl games through 2010. ESPN began televising the game in 2011.
- Cotton Bowl Classic – Traditionally held on New Year's Day. CBS was the long-time home of the Cotton Bowl Classic, airing it up through 1992, and again from 1996-1998. NBC aired the game from 1993–1995, and Fox has aired the game since 1999. The game has been played on January 2 multiple times in recent years, as was the case in both 2009 and 2010. The 2011 game aired in primetime for the first time ever, on Friday, January 7.
The Bowl Championship Series, which began in 1998, was driven from the start by television revenue. In 2007, the Fox Broadcasting Company started broadcasting all the BCS games with the exception of the Rose Bowl. ABC previously aired two full cycles of the BCS between 1998 and 2006. Before this, CBS aired the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance, with the exception of the Sugar Bowl from 1995-1997. The Rose Bowl has aired on ABC since 1989. All BCS games will shift to cable in 2010-11 as ESPN will begin a four-year deal.
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Note: All ABC crews may appear on ESPN and vice versa.
- Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Heather Cox
- Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman/Shannon Spake
- Mike Patrick/Ed Cunningham/Jeannine Edwards
- Bob Wischusen/Rod Gilmore/Quint Kessenich
- Fox College Football (For 2013)
- Gus Johnson or Dick Stockton/Charles Davis/Kristina Pink (FOX)
- Justin Kutcher/Petros Papadakis or Joel Klatt/Kristina Pink (Fox Sports 1 Thursday Night)
- Craig Bolerjack/Joey Harrington/Ryan Nece (Fox Sports 1)
- Justin Kutcher or Eric Collins or Tom McCarthy/James Bates/Brady Poppinga (Fox Sports 1)
- Adam Alexander/Chris Simms (Fox Sports 1)
- Mark Followill or Mike Morgan/Brian Baldinger/J.C. Pearson (FSN & FCS)
- Ron Thulin/Dave Lapham or Ovie Mughelli/Jim Knox (FSN & FCS)
- Wes Durham/Brian Stann/Jenn Hildreth (ACC Regional)
- Mark Neely/Sed Bonner
- SEC on CBS (For 2013)
- Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson/Tracy Wolfson
- Spero Dedes/Steve Beuerlein/Evan Washburn
- Tim Brando/Aaron Taylor
- Notre Dame Football on NBC (For 2013)
- ESPN College Football (For 2013)
- Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe (ESPN College Football Primetime Saturday)
- Joe Tessitore/Matt Millen/Maria Taylor (ESPN Saturday Primetime)
- Mark Jones/Brock Huard/Jessica Mendoza or Kaylee Hartung (ESPN2 College Football Primetime)
- Rece Davis/Jesse Palmer and David Pollack/Samantha Ponder (ESPN College Football Primetime Thursday)
- Carter Blackburn/Danny Kanell/Allison Williams (ESPN/ESPN2 College Football Primetime Friday)
- Dave Pasch or Steve Levy/Brian Griese/Tom Luginbill (ESPN College Football Saturday Afternoon)
- Beth Mowins/Joey Galloway/Paul Carcaterra (ESPN2 College Football Saturday Afternoon)
- ESPNU (For 2013)
- Clay Matvick/Matt Stinchcomb/Dawn Davenport (ESPNU Saturday Primetime)
- Tom Hart/John Congemi (ESPNU Saturday Afternoon)
- Anish Shroff/Kelly Stouffer (ESPNU Saturday Afternoon)
- Mark Neely/Jay Walker (ESPNU Thursday HBCU)
- Joe Davis/David Diaz-Infante (ESPNU Late Saturday)
- CBS Sports Network (For 2013)
- Andrew Catalon/Aaron Taylor/Lauren Gardner (MWC)
- Dave Ryan/Adam Archuleta/Evan Washburn (CUSA and MWC)
- Ben Holden/Tom Bradley/John Feinstein (Army)
- Brad Johansen/Randy Cross/Sheehan Stanwick Burch (Navy)
- Brent Stover/Corey Chavous/Lisa Byington (CUSA & D2)
- BTN (For 2013)
Other announcers and analysts that will be used:
- Chris Denari
- Paul Burmeister
- Eric Crouch
- Brandon Williams
- Antwaan Randle El
- Jon Jansen
- Danan Hughes
- Jeremy Leman
- Pac-12 Network (For 2013)
- Ted Robinson/Glenn Parker
- Kevin Calabro/Yogi Roth
- Roxy Bernstein/Anthony Herron
- JB Long/Jeremy Bloom or Jamal Anderson
- ESPN Plus (For 2013)
- Dave Neal/Andre Ware/Cara Capuano (SEC Network)
- Eamon McAnaney/Anthony Becht/Brooke Weisbrod (American Athletic Conference Network)
- Michael Reghi/Doug Graber or Doug Chapman (MAC)
- BYUtv (For 2013)
- Dave Raymond/N. D. Kalu/Leila Rahimi (CUSA)
- Bernie Guenther/Chuck Oliver/Rachel Baribeau (CUSA)
- Matt Stewart/Chris Doering or Cole Cubelic/Angela Mallen (SEC)
- Tom Dore/Cole Cubelic/Barbara Jordan (Sun Belt Network)
- Chuck Hussion/Corey Stewart/David Cobb (FCS Subdivision)
- Don Russell/Rick Rhoades/A. A. Moore (D2)
- Tim Neverett/Sherdric Bonner/Jenny Cavnar (Mountain West)
- Robert Kekaula/Darnell Arceneaux/Lori Santi (Hawaii home games via Oceanic PPV)
- Tom Glasgow/Jason Stiles/Jen Mueller (Big Sky)
- Rich Burk/Sherdric Bonner/Brad Adam or Jenny Cavnar (Big Sky)
- Southland Conference TV Network (For 2013)
- Krown Produce Canada West Football on Shaw
- Simon Bennett/Donnovan Bennett
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2013)|
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- Castillo, Michael. "Cal Might Be What The Doctor Ordered For USC, After Quarterback Troubles". Retrieved 27 March 2012.
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- Herndon, Mike. "Thursday night not always right for football, some SEC coaches say". Retrieved 27 March 2012.
-  As Notre Dame's TV Money Dwindles, So Too Should Its Independence June 15, 2009
- Fox To Air New Big Ten Football Championship Game - Broadcaster Secures Rights To Conference's Title Tilt From 2011-16 Multichannel News November 17, 2010
-  Pac-12May 4, 2011. FOX, FX and Fox Sports Net began airing regular season games in 2011 from the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA.
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- Current major conference television contracts from kansascity.com
- Selection of legendary games from usatoday.com