The ESPN family of networks will telecast more than 400 college football games this fall and feature the return of afternoon and primetime games across multiple platforms, network officials said Thursday.
ESPN360.com alone will offer more than 300 games and ESPN Mobile TV will deliver up to 10 games a week and coverage of two new post-season bowl games.
Saturday Night Football Presented by Southwest Airlines on ABC, the only weekly primetime college football series on broadcast television, returns for its third season beginning Saturday, Aug. 30 with the Illinois-Missouri tilt at 8 p.m. ET. Weekly primetime telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and ESPN’s Thursday and Friday night games will also return.
Thursday night games this year will feature all BCS Conference teams and, for the first time, include games from the Big 12 Conference—including the annual Lone Star State matchup between Texas A&M and Texas on Thanksgiving.
ESPN officials said this year’s slate will include home games from all six BCS conferences for the second year in a row. In addition, ESPN on ABC and ESPN will televise the premier games from the Big Ten, BIG EAST, Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences every week.
ESPN360.com, along with its own original productions, will also simulcast every game telecast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ABC as well as every ESPN GamePlan pay-per-view contest.
ESPNU will generally offer five games each week throughout the season, featuring matchups from the ACC, BIG EAST and MAC conferences as well as games involving Navy and various Championship Subdivision teams from the CAA, MEAC, Ohio Valley, Southern and SWAC conferences.
With the launch of ESPNU HD on Aug. 28, the network will offer every live game on Thursdays and Saturdays in high definition. It also marks the third season that every ESPN and ESPN2 game and the majority of the Saturday Night Football series games will be offered in HD on all the family networks.
Network officials said its “reverse mirror” coverage will be in effect again this season for as many as 13 Saturday afternoon regional telecasts. For example, on Aug. 30, ABC will televise Utah vs. Michigan and USC vs. Virginia at 3:30 p.m. ET while ESPN2 will “reverse mirror” ABC’s coverage, telecasting Utah vs. Michigan in markets receiving USC vs. Virginia on ABC and USC vs. Virginia to parts of the country receiving Utah vs. Michigan on ABC.
For the second year, ESPN Mobile TV will simulcast up to 10 games a week telecast on the various ESPN outlets. In addition to the live game coverage, ESPN Mobile TV will provide highlights, news and updates on a variety of scoreboard shows.
ESPN Radio will broadcast a weekly game as well as 18 post-season bowl games on more than 750 non-duplicative stations reaching more than 200 listeners.
Finally, ESPN’s post-season bowl coverage will include two new bowls—The St. Petersburg Bowl, which is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, and the Congressional Bowl in Washington, D.C.
For a look at ESPN’s full 2008 college football schedule, click here.