The Best Games. The Most Games. ESPN Announces Early Season College Football Schedule

May 31, 2018  •  Post A Comment

Press release from ESPN, May 31, 2018:

ESPN will celebrate the return of college football with an early season schedule that is unrivaled and unmatched in the industry, featuring marquee teams from all 10 FBS conferences and the nation’s top programs playing key conference and non-conference matchups across ESPN’s networks. ESPN’s first three weeks schedule launches a season-long regular season campaign which culminates with the six conference championship games and leads into a postseason featuring 35 Bowl Games – including the New Year’s Six – and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T. ESPN will also air every snap of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

ESPN begins the season riding the momentum of a widely successful 2017 campaign, which concluded with the CFP National Championship generating the second largest audience in cable history and the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game with the third largest cable audience ever. Furthermore, ESPN’s entire presentation of the New Year’s Six plus the CFP National Championship was the most-watched in the system’s four-year history. The post season success was a continuation of the regular season superlatives, which included ABC’s Saturday Night Football being the most-watched college football franchise for the second consecutive year.

Welcome Back: ESPN’s Networks Annual Five-Day Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza Celebrates the Return of College Football with Nearly 50 Games

ESPN’s annual five-day kickoff weekend slate (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3) is peppered with the nation’s best teams, including the top 4 teams and seven of the top 8 in ESPN.com’s latest Way-Too-Early Top 25, playing key conference and non-conference games. Across all its networks, ESPN will carry nearly 50 games in the season’s first week.

The defending CFP National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide open their title defense on ABC’s Saturday Night Football vs Louisville (Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET) in the 2018 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando, only the fourth meeting between the two schools and the first in more than 25 years. The season debut of Saturday Night Football will cap a kickoff Saturday tripleheader on ABC, with all three games featuring a New Year’s Six participant from last season. Ohio State hosting Oregon State (noon) will lead into the 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff between Washington and Auburn (3:30 p.m.). The Buckeyes are reigning Big Ten Champions and went on to win the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, while Auburn participated in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Peach Bowl last season.

ESPN Airs the Most Games of Any Network in Week 1 and the 2018 Season

ESPN will air the most games of any network in week 1, a theme that will continue throughout the season. The network’s seven game kickoff weekend slate kicks off in earnest on the season’s first full Saturday with a quadruple-header beginning with the 2018 AdvocCare Texas Kickoff from Houston between Ole Miss and Texas Tech (noon) and continues with the defending SEC Champion and College Football Playoff finalist Georgia Bulldogs hosting Austin Peay (3:30 p.m.).

ESPN’s primetime slate will features familiar faces in new places, as Chip Kelly and Kevin Sumlin make their debuts with their respective programs. Both head coaches will be at home, with Kelly’s UCLA Bruins hosting Cincinnati (7 p.m.) and Sumlin’s Wildcats welcoming in BYU (10:45 p.m.)

Sunday and Monday Primetime Telecasts Featured in Season’s Kickoff Week: Both Matchups Potential Top 25 Showdowns

A signature of kickoff week returns with special primetime telecasts on both Sunday and Monday night of Labor Day weekend, with two potential top-25 showdowns. Miami vs. LSU from AT&T Stadium in Arlington will air on ABC, the network’s third consecutive year airing a Sunday night game during kickoff week. On Labor Day night, Virginia Tech travels to Florida State in a pivotal ACC matchup. This is the 15th year ESPN has aired a Labor Day night matchup.

Additional ESPN Kickoff Week Highlights:

  • Big Ten Opener: For the second consecutive year, a Big Ten matchup begins ESPN’s kickoff week when Northwestern travels to Purdue (Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. on ESPN)
  • 2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: Prairie View A&M vs. North Carolina Central (Sept. 2 at noon on ESPN2) will meet in the annual challenge, which will be played in Atlanta for the first time.

SEC Network Begins Fifth College Football Season

SEC Network begins its fifth season airing football with an abundance of games in the season’s first three weeks, beginning with Texas A&M hosting Northwestern State on the season’s first Thursday (Aug. 30 at 8:30 p.m.). The game marks the debut of new Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher. The network, combined with its alternate channel, will air six additional games on Saturday, including Florida’s home opener in primetime. A complete look at their schedule is below and available here.

ESPN+ Streams More than 20 Games in First Three Weeks, More than 100 Exclusive Games Throughout the Season

ESPN+, the first multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN, will stream more than 20 football games during the season’s first three weeks, beginning a season where the subscription service carries more than a hundred exclusive games this season.

ACC Network Extra Streams Clemson’s Home Opener, Five Total Games in Week 1

ACC Network Extra will stream the home openers for Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Virginia during week 1, beginning a season-long slate where the digital network will carry a number of games from ACC stadiums.

Week 2: Penn State-Pitt and Colorado-Nebraska Rivalries Take Center Stage, Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher Meet Again

ABC will feature two of college football’s oldest rivalries in week 2 as Penn State travels to Pitt (Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.) and Colorado heads to Nebraska (Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m.). ABC’s Saturday Night Football will feature the 99th meeting between the Nittany Lions and the Panthers in a rivalry that was renewed the last two seasons, with both schools winning on their home field. Earlier in the day, the Buffaloes will take on the Cornhuskers for the first time since 2010 and 70th matchup overall.

ESPN’s primetime game will feature Clemson at Texas A&M (7 p.m.), as head coaches Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher face off for the ninth straight year; however, it will be the first ever non-conference matchup between the two national championship coaches, as the matchup will be just Fisher’s second as head coach of the Aggies.

Additional ESPN’s Networks Week 2 Highlights:

  • Sweet Home Alabama: The Crimson Tide return to Bryant-Denny Stadium to host Arkansas State (3:30 p.m. on ESPN2)
  • Sparty Heads West: Michigan State will play its first road game of the year, traveling to Arizona State in a Big Ten-Pac 12 Showdown (ESPN at 10:45 p.m.)

Longhorn Network Airs Texas Football Games for Eighth Consecutive Year

Longhorn Network will televise a Texas football game for the eighth straight year when the Longhorns host Tulsa (8 p.m.). The 24-hour network devoted to the University of Texas is also expected to televise another game this season, with details announced at a later date. More details on LHN’s production can be found here.

Week 3: Top Teams Face Conference and Non-Conference Road Competition

ESPN’s week three slate features many top teams heading on the road, including Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma’s first true road test of the season. The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide will be in primetime, as Ohio State plays TCU from AT&T Stadium in Arlington on ABC’s Saturday Night Football (Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.) and Alabama heads to Ole Miss (7 p.m., ESPN) as both teams begin SEC play. Oklahoma will begin its Big 12 campaign looking to avenge its lone regular season loss last season as it heads to Iowa State (noon, network TBD). In the late afternoon, West Virginia travels to NC State (3:30 p.m., network TBD), playing in Raleigh, N.C. for the first time since 1978.

Additional conference matchups in week three include: Florida State at Syracuse (noon, network TBD) and Washington at Utah (10 p.m., ESPN). Other non-conference matchups set to air: UCF at North Carolina (noon, network TBD) and Middle Tennessee at Georgia (7:15 p.m., ESPN2).

Penn State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma at West Virginia Highlight ESPN’s Networks Additional Games

ESPN’s has locked in a number of games to beyond the first three weeks of the season, including: Penn State at Indiana on Oct. 20 (time and ESPN network TBD), Notre Dame at Northwestern on Nov. 3 (time and ESPN network TBD), and Oklahoma at West Virginia on Black Friday (Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. on ESPN)

ESPN Televises Six Conference Championship Games, Most in the Industry

ESPN will televise six conference championship games to conclude the regular season, with the Marathon MAC Football Championship on Friday, Nov. 30 and the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game, American Championship, Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game, Mountain West Championship and Sun Belt Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1.

FCS Kickoff Highlights Week 0 Schedule

The 2018 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff featuring North Carolina AT&T vs. Jacksonville State in primetime highlights ESPN’s week 0 schedule. Additional games from both FBS and FCS will be added in the coming weeks.

ESPN’s Networks College Football Current Schedule

Week 0

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Sat, Aug. 25                7 p.m.        2018 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff featuring North Carolina AT&T vs. Jacksonville State from Montgomery ESPN

Week 1

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Thu, Aug. 30               7 p.m.        UCF at Connecticut ESPNU Central Connecticut State at Ball State             ESPN+ Kennesaw State at Georgia State   ESPN+ 8 p.m.            Northwestern at Purdue              ESPN Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana-Monroe                ESPN+ 8:30 p.m.       Northwestern State at Texas A&M               SEC Network

Friday, Aug. 31           6:30 p.m.   Monmouth at Eastern Michigan ESPN+ 7 p.m.            Army at Duke             ESPNU 9 p.m.           Western Kentucky at Wisconsin ESPN

Sat, Sept. 1                 Noon         Oregon State at Ohio State          ABC 2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech from Houston ESPN James Madison at NC State           ESPNU Coastal Carolina at South Carolina SEC Network Villanova at Temple      ESPNEWS 12:20 p.m.                Furman at Clemson  ACC Network Extra 12:30 p.m.  Alcorn State at Georgia Tech      ACC Network Extra 1 p.m.                  Massachusetts at Boston College                ACC Network Extra 2 p.m.         Howard at Ohio ESPN+ 3:30 p.m.               2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff: Washington vs. Auburn from Atlanta ABC Austin Peay at Georgia ESPN Central Michigan at Kentucky ESPNU Marshall at Miami (Ohio)          ESPN+ Albany at Pittsburgh       ACC Network Extra 4 p.m.         Eastern Illinois at Arkansas        SEC Network Tennessee-Martin at Missouri SEC Network Alternate 6 p.m.       Delaware State at Buffalo            ESPN3 South Carolina State at Georgia Southern        ESPN+ Richmond at Virginia     ACC Network Extra Boise State at Troy          ESPNEWS North Carolina A&T at East Carolina ESPN3 Elon at South Florida ESPN3 7 p.m.      Cincinnati at UCLA    ESPN Louisiana Tech at South Alabama     ESPN+ Mercer at Memphis ESPN3 Central Arkansas at Tulsa          ESPN3 VMI at Toledo                 ESPN3 Nicholls at Kansas         ESPN3 Grambling at Louisiana ESPN3 Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State     ESPN+ 7:30 p.m.                  Charleston Southern at Florida   SEC Network Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt             SEC Network Alternate Stephen F. Austin at Mississippi State    ESPNU 8 p.m.           2018 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando: Louisville vs. Alabama               ABC 10:45 p.m.          BYU at Arizona          ESPN

Sun, Sept. 2                Noon         2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge from Atlanta: Prairie View A&M vs. North Carolina Central ESPN2 7:30 p.m.                 Miami vs. LSU from Arlington, Texas ABC

Mon, Sept. 3               8 p.m.        Virginia Tech at Florida State     ESPN

Week 2

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Fri, Sept. 7                  8 p.m.        TCU at SMU              ESPN2

Sat, Sept. 8                 Noon         Arizona at Houston    ABC and ESPN2 Mississippi State at Kansas State     ESPN Duke at Northwestern      ESPNU Nevada at Vanderbilt SEC Network Towson at Wake Forest ACC Network Extra 12:30 p.m.  Georgia State at NC State           ACC Network Extra 1 p.m.         Holy Cross at Boston College ACC Network Extra 2 p.m.            William & Mary at Virginia Tech                  ACC Network Extra 3 p.m.                  Kansas at Central Michigan ESPN+ 3:30 p.m.             Colorado at Nebraska                 ABC Arkansas State at Alabama                  ESPN2 North Carolina at East Carolina                  ESPNU Howard at Kent State    ESPN+ Morgan State at Akron   ESPN+ Wagner at Syracuse ACC Network Extra Buffalo at Temple            ESPN3 4 p.m.            East Tennessee State at Tennessee SEC Network Southern Illinois at Ole Miss                  SEC Network Alternate 6 p.m.   Savannah State at Miami            ACC Network Extra Maryland at Bowling Green         ESPN+ Massachusetts at Georgia Southern   ESPN+ 7 p.m.            Clemson at Texas A&M              ESPN Wyoming at Missouri ESPN2 or ESPNU Southeastern Louisiana at LSU           ESPN2 or ESPNU Florida A&M at Troy     ESPN+ UAB at Coastal Carolina ESPN+ Indiana State at Louisville    ACC Network Extra Texas Southern at Texas State    ESPN3 7:20 p.m.       Samford at Florida State             ACC Network Extra 7:30 p.m.    Kentucky at Florida      SEC Network Alabama State at Auburn      SEC Network Alternate Utah at Northern Illinois          ESPNEWS 8 p.m. Penn State at Pittsburgh ABC Tulsa at Texas Longhorn Network Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio) from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati ESPN3 Nicholls at Tulane    ESPN3 10:15 p.m. Connecticut at Boise State              ESPN2 or ESPNU California at BYU          ESPN2 or ESPNU 10:45 p.m.                  Michigan State at Arizona State  ESPN

Week 3

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Thur, Sept. 13             7:30 p.m.   Boston College at Wake Forest ESPN

Fri, Sept. 14                7 p.m.        Georgia State at Memphis          ESPN

Sat, Sept. 15               Noon         Oklahoma at Iowa State              ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU Florida State at Syracuse           ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU Miami at Toledo        ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU UCF at North Carolina ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU UTEP at TennesseeSEC Network Murray State at Kentucky     SEC Network Alternate Rhode Island at Connecticut ESPN3 12:20 p.m.       East Carolina at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra 12:30 p.m.             Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh         ACC Network Extra 3 p.m.         Ohio at Virginia          ACC Network Extra 3:30 p.m.    BYU at Wisconsin ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 Boise State at Oklahoma State             ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU Georgia Southern at Clemson   ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU West Virginia at NC State          ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU Central Michigan at Northern Illinois               ESPN+ Southern Miss at Appalachian State                 ESPN+ 4 p.m. Colorado State at Florida     SEC Network North Texas at Arkansas SEC Network Alternate Eastern Kentucky at Bowling Green               ESPN3 6 p.m.            Eastern Michigan at Buffalo        ESPN+ 7 p.m.            Alabama at Ole MissESPN Delaware State at Western Michigan ESPN+ Texas State at South Alabama ESPN+ Alabama A&M at Cincinnati ESPN3 Oregon State at Nevada       ESPN3 Campbell at Coastal Carolina         ESPN3 7:15 p.m.       Middle Tennessee at Georgia ESPN2 7:30 p.m.                  Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M                 SEC Network Marshall at South Carolina   ESPNU Western Kentucky at Louisville ACC Network Extra Louisiana at Mississippi State          SEC Network Alternate 8 p.m.          Ohio State vs. TCU from Arlington              ABC 10 p.m.               Washington at Utah   ESPN

Additional Games

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Thu, Sept. 20              7:30 p.m.   Tulsa at Temple         ESPN

Fri, Sept. 21                7 p.m.        Florida Atlantic at UCF               ESPN Harvard at Brown             ESPNU 10:30 p.m.    Washington State at USC           ESPN

Sat, Sept. 22               Noon         Boston College at Purdue            ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 6 p.m.        McNeese at BYU       ESPN3 TBD               Air Force at Utah State                TBD

Thu, Sept. 27              8 p.m.        North Carolina at Miami             ESPN

Fri, Sept. 28                7 p.m.        Princeton at Columbia                 ESPNU 8 p.m.           Memphis at Tulane    ESPN2

Sat, Sept. 29               6 p.m.        Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan           ESPN+ TBD              Toledo at Fresno State TBD TBD                Nevada at Air Force TBD

Thu, Oct. 4                  7:30 p.m.   Georgia State at Troy                  ESPNU 8 p.m.           Tulsa at Houston        ESPN

Fri, Oct. 56 p.m.        Dartmouth at Yale      ESPNU 7 p.m.           Georgia Tech at Louisville          ESPN 9 p.m.              Utah State at BYU      ESPN2

Sat, Oct. 63:30 p.m.   Ohio at Kent State      ESPN+ Bowling Green at Toledo                 ESPN+ Miami (Ohio) at Akron  ESPN+ TBD              San Diego State at Boise State TBD TBD   Fresno State at Nevada TBD

Tue, Oct. 9                  8 p.m.        Appalachian State at Arkansas State            ESPN2

Thu, Oct. 11                7:30 p.m.   Texas Tech at TCU   ESPN Georgia Southern at Texas State      ESPNU

Fri, Oct. 12                 7 p.m.        South Florida at Tulsa                 ESPN 10 p.m.            Arizona at Utah          ESPN

Sat, Oct. 13                 Noon         Iowa at Indiana           ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 3 p.m.        Western Michigan at Bowling Green ESPN+ 3:30 p.m.                 Ohio at Northern Illinois              TBD TBDHawai’i at BYU                  TBD TBDArmy at San Jose State TBD TBD               Wyoming at Fresno State TBD

Thu, Oct. 18                7:30 p.m.   Georgia State at Arkansas State ESPNU 9 p.m.           Stanford at Arizona State             ESPN

Fri, Oct. 19                 7 p.m.        Yale at Penn               ESPNU 9 p.m.           Colorado State at Boise State     ESPN2

Sat, Oct. 20                 2 p.m.        Bowling Green at Ohio                ESPN3 3 p.m.            Eastern Michigan at Ball State    ESPN+ Western Michigan at Central Michigan ESPN+ TBD      Fresno State at New Mexico                  TBD TBDPenn State at IndianaABC, ESPN, ESPN2

Tue, Oct. 23                8 p.m.        Troy at South Alabama                ESPN2

Thu, Oct. 25                7:30 p.m.   Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech    ESPN Appalachian State at Georgia Southern              ESPNU

Fri, Oct. 26                 7 p.m.        Miami at Boston College             ESPN 10:30 p.m.       Utah at UCLA             ESPN

Sat, Oct. 27                 TBD          Northern Illinois at BYU              TBD TBDSan Diego State at Nevada         TBD TBDHawai’i at Fresno State TBD Tue, Oct. 30  8 p.m.        Kent State at Bowling Green ESPN2 or ESPNU Miami (Ohio) at Buffalo                  ESPN2 or ESPNU Wed, Oct. 31                  7:30 p.m.   Ball State at Toledo    ESPN2 Thu, Nov. 1   7:30 p.m.   Temple at UCF          ESPN Fri, Nov. 2       6 p.m.        Penn at Cornell  ESPNU 7:30 p.m.      Pittsburgh at VirginiaESPN2

Sat, Nov. 3                  TBD          Notre Dame at Northwestern     ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 TBD          BYU at Boise State    TBD TBDSan Diego State at New MexicoTBD

Tue, Nov. 6                 7:30 p.m.   Kent State at Buffalo   ESPNU

Wed, Nov. 7               7 p.m. or 8 p.m.          Ohio at Miami (Ohio)                  ESPNU or ESPN2 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.             Toledo at Northern Illinois ESPNU or ESPN2

Thu, Nov. 8                 7:30 p.m.   Wake Forest at NC State            ESPN

Fri, Nov. 9                  7 p.m.        Louisville at Syracuse                 ESPN2 10:15 p.m.     Fresno State at Boise State         ESPN2

Sat, Nov. 10                TBD          UNLV at San Diego State            TBD Colorado State at Nevada  TBD

Tue, Nov. 13               6 p.m.        Western Michigan at Ball State  ESPN2

Wed, Nov. 14 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.    Buffalo at Ohio ESPNU or ESPN2 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.      Miami (Ohio) at Northern Illinois                 ESPNU or ESPN2

Thu, Nov. 15               8 p.m.        Tulane at Houston      ESPN

Fri, Nov. 16                9 p.m.        Memphis at SMU      ESPN2

Sat, Nov. 17                TBD          New Mexico State at BYU          TBD TBDYale vs Harvard from Fenway Park in Boston              TBD TBDAir Force at Wyoming                 TBD 2 p.m.                 2018 Florida Classic: Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman from Orlando          ESPN Classic

Tue, Nov. 20               7 p.m.        Ball State at Miami (Ohio)          ESPNU or ESPN+ 7 p.m.           Northern Illinois at Western Michigan         ESPNU or ESPN+

Thu., Nov. 22              7:30 p.m.   Mississippi State at Ole Miss     ESPN

Fri, Nov. 23                TBD          UCF at South Florida TBD TBD                  Virginia at Virginia Tech              TBD TBDHouston at MemphisTBD 8 p.m.                 Oklahoma at West Virginia ESPN

Sat, Nov. 24                TBD          Utah State at Boise State             TBD TBDHawai’i at San Diego State         TBD TBDSan Jose State at Fresno State   TBD

Please Note: Not all ESPN3 and ACC Network Extra games are exclusive

Conference Championship Weekend

Date          Time (ET)                  Game        Network

Fri, Nov. 30                7 p.m.        Marathon MAC Football Championship from Detroit ESPN2

Sat, Dec. 1                  TBD          Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game from Charlotte TBD TBDAmerican Championship Game (campus site TBD)   TBD TBDDr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game from Arlington   TBD TBDMountain West Championship Game (campus site TBD)            TBD TBDSun Belt Championship Game (campus site TBD)       TBD

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