The season is just around the corner. Even if you may not feel that way, television executives certainly do.
ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Networks combined to announce the Pac-12's early-season TV schedule on Wednesday. All told, 43 of the Pac-12's 92 football games have already found television homes. Not bad for May 28.
Before we go any further, a few notes:
- The Pac-12's TV partners are ESPN (ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and the like), Fox (and its cable sibling, Fox Sports 1) and, obviously, the Pac-12 Networks. That means any CBS Sports Network or NBC games are Pac-12 away games owned by the home team.
- For those of you scratching your heads at just what the heck Fox Sports 1 is, don't worry, it's already on your channel guide. The Speed Network is being rebranded as an all-sports Fox Sports 1, the newest competitor to ESPN, in mid-August.
- Washington State at Auburn remains the only Pac-12 opening-week game without a broadcast home. That game is owned by the SEC's television package.
- The conference is making a significant investment into Thursday and Friday nights. Of the 15 weeks between Labor Day and Championship Saturday, only six go by without some sort of weeknight affair.
- Speaking of investments, Pac-12 Networks have already claimed two Oregon games (Sept. 28 vs. Cal and Oct. 5 at Colorado) well ahead of the conference's other partners in hopes that the Ducks will help any cable or satellite holdouts (read: DirecTV) succumb to fan demand.
- With a 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff, Pac-12 Thursday night games on Fox Sports 1 will effectively serve as the back-end of a doubleheader, following ESPN's Thursday night game.
- The Pacific time zone is a double-edged sword. Cal and Arizona State host Northwestern and Wisconsin in what will be 9:30 p.m. kickoffs on the visitors' body clocks. On the other side of the coin is Stanford, who heads to West Point for a 9 a.m. PT kick on Sept. 14.
- We mentioned this in January when the schedule was originally announced, but bravo to the Pac-12 schedule makers for not making us choose between Oregon-Stanford and LSU-Alabama.
- For the first time in its three-year history, the Pac-12 Championship moves from Friday to Saturday and from Fox to ESPN.
- All times Pacific.
Here is what we know at this point:
Thursday, Aug. 29
Utah State at Utah - 5 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
USC at Hawaii - 8 p.m. - CBS Sports Network
Friday, Aug. 30
Northern Arizona at Arizona - 7 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Saturday, Aug. 31
Nicholls State at Oregon - 1 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Eastern Washington at Oregon State - 3 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Boise State at Washington - 7 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Nevada at UCLA - 7 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Northwestern at California - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN2
Sunday, Sept. 1
Colorado State vs. Colorado (in Denver) - 3 p.m. - CBS Sports Network
Thursday, Sept. 5
Sacramento State at Arizona State - 7 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Saturday, Sept. 7
Weber State at Utah - 11 a.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Oregon at Virginia - 12:30 p.m. - ABC/ESPN2
Portland State at California - 2 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Central Arkansas at Colorado - 5 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Hawaii at Oregon State - 5 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Arizona at UNLV - 7:30 p.m. - CBS Sports Network
Washington State at USC - 7:30 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
San Jose State at Stanford - 8 p.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Saturday, Sept. 14
Stanford at Army - 9 a.m. - CBS Sports Network
Fresno State at Colorado - 11 a.m. - Pac-12 Networks
Tennessee at Oregon - 12:30 p.m. - ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Washington vs. Illinois (in Chicago) - 3 p.m. - Big Ten Network
Ohio State at California - 4 p.m. - Fox
Oregon State at Utah - 7 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Wisconsin at Arizona State - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN or ESPN2
UTSA at Arizona - TBD - Pac-12 Networks
Boston College at USC - TBD - Pac-12 Networks
Southern Utah at Washington State - TBD - Pac-12 Networks
Saturday, Sept. 21
Oregon State at San Diego State - 4:30 p.m. - CBS Sports Network
Saturday, Sept. 28
California at Oregon - TBD - Pac-12 Networks
Thursday, Oct. 3
UCLA at Utah - 7 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Oct. 5
Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (in Arlington, Texas) - 4:30 p.m. - NBC
Oregon at Colorado - TBD - Pac-12 Networks
Thursday, Oct. 10
Arizona at USC - 7:30 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Oct. 19
USC at Notre Dame - 4:30 p.m. - NBC
Thursday, Oct. 31
Arizona State at Washington State - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN
Friday, Nov. 1
USC at Oregon State - 6 p.m. - ESPN2
Thursday, Nov. 7
Oregon at Stanford - 6 p.m. - ESPN
Friday, Nov. 15
Washington at UCLA - 6 p.m. - ESPN2
Friday, Nov. 29
Washington State at Washington - 12:30 p.m. - Fox
Oregon State at Oregon - 4 p.m. - Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Nov. 30
Notre Dame at Stanford - TBD - Fox/Fox Sports 1
Saturday, Dec. 7
Pac-12 Championship - 4:45 or 5 p.m. - ABC or ESPN