ESPN announced the telecast schedule for six of its college football games – all involving at least one SEC team, three with an ACC team and one with TCU of the Big 12 – for ABC and ESPN during the 2013 season. Five of the games will be played over the opening weekend, including the two marquee neutral site showdowns: Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Cowboys Classic. Additional games will be announced in the coming months.
The six games will include seven teams ranked in ESPN.com’s early college football top 25 rankings for 2013 (No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 Georgia, No. 10 South Carolina, No. 11 Clemson, No. 13 LSU, No. 17 TCU and No. 25 Vanderbilt. Highlights:
- The season will kick off with an ESPN SEC doubleheader on Thursday, Aug. 29. The action will begin with No. 10 South Carolina hosting ACC-member North Carolina at 6 p.m. ET. South Carolina – coming off an 11-2 season, including a 33-28 victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl – is led by defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. North Carolina will return 13 starters to a team that finished 8-4 in 2012, including senior quarterback Bryn Renner and sophomore receiver Quinshad Davis. The second game at 9:15 p.m. will pit Ole Miss at SEC rival No. 25 Vanderbilt, holders of a three-game winning streak against the Rebels. Vanderbilt closed the 2012 campaign with a 9-4 record, including a victory over NC State in the Music City Bowl, for the program’s best season since 1915. Ole Miss will enter the season with a top five recruiting class, signing a class of top rated players led by No. 1 overall prospect defensive end Robert Nkemdiche.
- ESPN and ABC will combine to televise three night games involving the SEC on Saturday, Aug. 31, including a doubleheader of neutral site games. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game from Atlanta will match two-time defending BCS National Champion No. 1 Alabama against the ACC’s Virginia Tech at 5:30 p.m. while No. 13 LSU will square off against the Big 12’s No. 17 TCU in the Cowboys Classic from Arlington at 9 p.m.
- The eighth season of the ABC Saturday Night Football series, broadcast television’s first weekly prime time college football game, will kick off with No. 6 Georgia at No. 11 Clemson in a showdown of teams predicted to compete for the national championship. Georgia won the SEC East Division in 2012 and finished with a 12-2 record, including a 45-31 victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Clemson put together an 11-2 record in 2012, concluding with a 25-24 victory over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Georgia has won the past five games against Clemson, including their last meeting in 2003.
|Thu, Aug 29||6 p.m.||North Carolina at South Carolina *||ESPN|
|9:15 p.m.||Ole Miss at Vanderbilt||ESPN|
|Sat, Aug 31||5:30 p.m.||Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Virginia Tech vs. Alabama (Atlanta)||ESPN|
|8 p.m.||Georgia at Clemson||ABC|
|9 p.m.||Cowboys Classic: TCU vs. LSU||ESPN|
|Thu, Oct 24||7:30 p.m.||Kentucky at Mississippi State||ESPN|
* Previously announced
For the 2012 season, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 covered 306 regular-season Football Bowl Subdivision games exclusively – 195 more than every other national network combined – involving teams from all 11 conferences, plus independents Notre Dame, BYU, Navy and Army. Overall, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined to reach more than 187,000,000 viewers for game telecasts. Combining ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 with ESPNU’s extensive lineup and the networks averaged 2,018,000 viewers for 216 regular-season games.
The 2013 college football season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN 3D, ESPN3, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Regional Television and ESPN GamePlan will total more than 450 regular-and post-season games, concluding with the entire Bowl Championship Series, including the National Championship, on ESPN. The schedule will include weekly Saturday night games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, weekly ESPN and ESPNU Thursday night contests and telecasts every Friday.