ESPN’s Thursday Night Prime-Time College Football Lineup Features Five ACC Matchups, SEC Showdown, Civil War Game, Texas vs. Texas A&M Rivalry
In ESPN’s announcement of the 2009 college football schedule, ESPN College Football Primetime Presented by Applebee’s will feature 12 teams that finished the 2008 season ranked among the nation’s top 25. The Thursday night lineup on ESPN starts from scrimmage with the South Carolina Gamecocks visiting the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, followed by the much-anticipated Oregon at Boise State early-season showdown at 10:15 p.m.
The 2009 season marks the second straight with a BCS team in every Thursday Night game and five out of six BCS conferences participating on Thursday night. Also, the dynamic commentator lineup of play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler, analysts Craig James and Jesse Palmer and sideline reporter Erin Andrews returns for a second straight season.
“This is one of the most exciting Thursday night lineups we’ve had,” said Dave Brown, vice president, programming & acquisitions, ESPN. “We have a great doubleheader to kick things off, and finish off strong with the Civil War Game. We’ve worked hard to make it the Monday Night Football of college football and it’s a great way to kick off each weekend.”
In the first year of the Southeastern Conference’s historic 15-year agreement with ESPN, the Thursday roster features an SEC conference matchup when Cotton Bowl champion Ole Miss – ranked No. 15 at season’s end and the only team to defeat the eventual 2008 national champion Florida Gators – visits Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina on Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. As part of the new SEC agreement, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to annually present a minimum of 20 SEC football games.
With the ACC boasting the most Thursday night appearances in the history of Thursday nights on ESPN, the Miami Hurricanes will hunt for some revenge Sept. 17 against visiting Georgia Tech, which last season defeated Miami, ranked No. 23 at the time, 41-23 in Atlanta.
In the first Thursday night game from Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Tar Heels, contenders for the ACC title, face Florida State on Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. Florida State junior starting QB Christian Ponder returns to lead the Seminoles, who surged to a 9-4 finish and a rank of No. 23 after a sound 42-13 defeat of Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day.
The Tar Heels then travel to face perennial ACC power Virginia Tech on Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. before the Hokies head down to BCS-buster candidate ECU on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
For the second year, the Big 12 returns to Thursday in prime time, highlighted by the Texas at Texas A&M face-off Thanksgiving night, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Also, in the first Thursday night telecast from Columbia since 1992, Nebraska visits Missouri on Oct. 8 at 9 p.m. Then, Mizzou’s fellow Big 12 North contender Colorado faces Oklahoma State on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
For the third year, the Thursday night schedule will feature the Pac-10, including – for the first time on Thursday night – the Civil War Game that pits the Oregon State Beavers against the Oregon Ducks live from Oregon’s Autzen Stadium on Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Also slated for the Thursday night lineup, South Florida’s solid offense, with senior starting quarterback Matt Grothe, will bring with it a rebuilt defense Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. when the Bulls face BIG EAST champion and Orange Bowl representative Cincinnati, which finished 2008 ranked No. 17. South Florida then visits Rutgers on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
ESPN College Football Primetime Presented by Applebee’s Schedule
Date Time (ET) Matchup Network
Thu., Sep 3 7 p.m. South Carolina at N.C. State ESPN
10:15 p.m. Oregon at Boise State ESPN
Thu., Sep 10 7:30 p.m. Clemson at Georgia Tech ESPN
Thu., Sep 17 7:30 p.m. Georgia Tech at Miami ESPN
Thu., Sep 24 7:30 p.m. Mississippi at South Carolina ESPN
Thu., Oct 1 7:30 p.m. Colorado at West Virginia ESPN
Thu., Oct 8 9 p.m. Nebraska at Missouri ESPN
Thu., Oct 15 7:30 p.m. Cincinnati at South Florida ESPN
Thu., Oct 22 8 p.m. Florida State at North Carolina ESPN
Thu., Oct 29 7:30 p.m. North Carolina at Virginia Tech ESPN
Thu., Nov 5 7:30 p.m. Virginia Tech at East Carolina ESPN
Thu., Nov 12 7:30 p.m. South Florida at Rutgers ESPN
Thu., Nov 19 7:30 p.m. Colorado at Oklahoma State ESPN
Thu., Nov 26 8 p.m. Texas at Texas A&M ESPN
Thu., Dec 3 9 p.m. Oregon State at Oregon ESPN