BYU Football will play their first three games on primetime ESPN.
The ESPN networks typically televise 10 national college football games per week across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ABC. Aside from the ten televised games, ESPN also broadcasts anywhere from 20-25 FBS games across conference networks and streaming services through ESPN+ and ESPN3.
In other words, ESPN has the rights to about 30-35 games per week and they choose which games to broadcast when and on which networks based off of potential ratings. Many teams would give just about anything to have just one game on ESPN an entire season.
BYU Football is going to have their first three games all broadcasted on ESPN during primetime. This time slot is often considered the third or fourth best ESPN game of the day with the top game going to the primetime ABC game.
The fact that BYU, a team considered G5 in most circles, is getting this kind of exposure is a testament to how important it is to be winning games, and what happens when you do.
To give some perspective, in a typical season BYU is featured on ESPN/ABC on a Saturday two to three times per year (Friday’s don’t count). The rest of the schedule consists of being thrown into Friday games and ESPNU. Outside of their game against Utah State who owns the tv rights for that game, the Cougars may not play a single game on a Friday or ESPNU, let alone a streaming service.
Considering that Boise State and Virginia are both big games at home later in the season, it can almost be guaranteed the Cougars will be on ESPN at least two more times if they continue to win.
Throw in possible ESPN games against USC and Washington State and suddenly we’ve got a BYU team receiving as much national exposure as any other team in the nation. It wouldn’t even be shocking to see BYU take a solid ESPN2 afternoon game against South Florida.
In total, if BYU continues to win we could realistically look at this kind of tv schedule:
Arizona – ESPN Primetime
Utah – ESPN Primetime
Arizona State – ESPN Primetime
South Florida – ESPN2 Mid day
Utah State – CBS Sports (Friday)
Boise State – ESPN Primetime
Baylor – No idea (Big 12 TV deal is weird)
Washington State – ESPN Mid day OR FOX mid day (only 4 contracted games this day)
Virginia – ESPN Primetime
Idaho State – BYUtv
Georgia Southern – ESPN2 or ESPNU
USC – Fox mid day or Fox Sports Primetime
Independence Bowl – ABC
There are a lot of things that aren’t great about being Independent, but potentially having the greatest exposure of any team not named Alabama is not one of them. If the Cougars keep winning, or at least stay ranked, this is the kind of schedule that we can expect this year and for years to come.
Taking advantage of this exposure and winning some big games could go a long way in the Cougars’ journey of being either invited to a P5 or being considered at that level nationally.