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Two FCS programs may be in line for some big-time exposure

Let's fast forward to August 23. Fall camp is in full swing, and the dawn of the season is in sight. But in terms of watching football on television, you and the general pigskin-loving public will be starving for relevant live action. At least, that's what two FCS programs are banking on.

According to Craig Haley of, Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington could be in line for a spotlight game on August 23, to be televised by ESPN. It would be an exceedingly rare exclusive broadcast window available to the FCS. Even the FCS National Championship traditionally shares the stage with the BBVA Compass Bowl in early January. 

But now, the FCS could have the opportunity to jump five days ahead of FBS and play on the Saturday before The Saturday. 

In the past, a number of FBS programs participated in kickoff games in so-called Week 0; The BCA Classic alternated between home sites and neutral sites from 1997-2004, while the Eddie Robinson Classic, the Kickoff Classic and the Pigskin Classic all closed up shop in 2002. 

In the decade since, the final empty Saturday has been ceded to the football wasteland that is the NFL preseason.

Should the game take place, the FCS will kick off the 2014 season with one of its most intriguing match-ups. With combined marks of 63-22 over the past three seasons, Sam Houston State has made three straight FCS playoffs appearances, with back-to-back FCS title game trips in 2011-12, while Eastern Washington reached the FCS semifinals in 2012 and 2013. Eastern Washington figures to be the odds on favorite for a preseason No. 1 ranking, while Sam Houston State welcomes new head coach K.C. Keeler.

Neither team has announced its 2014 schedule, but the two are slated for a game in Cheney, Wash. On the back end of a home-and-home series, Sam Houston State topped Eastern Washington 49-34 in Huntsville, Texas, in September.