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One of the most intriguing battles this weekend in college football will take place off the field in Boulder and Tuscaloosa. For FOX’s ‘Big Noon Kickoff’ the show will be in Boulder to showcase Deion Sanders, while ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ is headed to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama vs. Texas showdown.
As we’ve seen over the past week, the presence of Deion Sanders on the Colorado sidelines has led to the lead-in show staking a claim to the Buffaloes. While FOX is broadcasting its pregame show outside Folsom Field, ESPN is hoping to attract viewers to its show at Denny Chimes, outside Bryant Denny Stadium.
These two colossal networks aren’t going head-to-head at kickoff though, which gives FOX an opportunity to drive further traffic to the upcoming Colorado-Nebraska game. Make no mistake, Deion Sanders is bringing in viewers, with the highly anticipated game against TCU a prime example.
Colorado will play Nebraska at 12 p.m. ET, while Alabama and Texas will kick off at 7 p.m.
But this scenario isn’t what we’ve seen in the past from ESPN and the SEC. Numerous times over the past number of years, College Gameday has broadcasted from a site that would not end up showing the actual football game. The perfect example of this is with the SEC and previous Alabama games, with LSU being one of those contests.
CBS has the contract for SEC games this season, but that does not start until week three of the season, giving ESPN the opportunity to broadcast the Alabama-Texas matchup. Unfortunately, if you’re a subscriber to Charter, they are still in a dogfight with ESPN for broadcasting fees.
This means that if the two sides don’t come to an agreement before Saturday, ESPN will be losing a large portion of its viewers, for both broadcasts.
As for FOX, the plan was to always broadcast the first two games of the Deion Sanders era at Colorado. The network just got extremely lucky that Shedeur Sanders and the Buffaloes pulled off the upset over TCU, giving them a springboard to this weekend. I’ve personally seen five commercials throughout the day promoting this weekend’s ‘Big Noon Kickoff’, as the network looks for another solid number in their race to beat College Gameday.
Who Wins The Ratings War On Saturday Between ESPN, FOX
There’s a reason why ESPN has been the home to pregame viewers for the last 25 years — they know how to put on a show. Both shows have brought in new blood to interact with viewers, with FOX bringing on Mark Ingram II and ESPN turning to Pat McAfee. I give Ingram credit, I thought he handled his first big show pretty well, especially with him riding in on a horse for his grand entrance.
McAfee continues to be a lightning rod for ESPN, always giving the viewers something to talk about, with his funny antics and attention to detail. You can tell it’s not forced, as ESPN decided to just let him go, whether it’s jumping into a river or grandstanding for the public’s pleasure.
FOX is trying to persuade viewers to change the channel to Big Noon Kickoff, presenting a similar show to the one on ESPN. Each one is trying to outdo the other, while FOX is taking advantage of its noon ET showcase time slot. When Rob Stone sends the broadcast off the air and into the stadium to the Uber-talented Gus Johnson, it will be a smooth transition into another Colorado game that will attract millions of college football fans.
For ESPN, the only downside over the years has been the game that follows College Gameday is usually not anywhere near the best game of the day. But this will change once the SEC fully transitions to ESPN next season. I’d imagine you’ll see some type of pregame show that brings them straight to kickoff on ABC at 8 p.m. ET, which will be the SEC’s game of the week.
For now, while Lee Corso is making his selections and Urban Meyer is giving his final thoughts before kickoff, the viewers at home are the ones benefiting the most. We’re currently witnessing a fight between both FOX and ESPN to draw viewers, which means we’re getting the best of both shows.
Unless you’re a Spectrum subscriber, who might have to signup for a streaming service before Saturday comes around, again. Unfortunately, those ‘free trials’ usually run out after a few days.
Time to cancel YouTube TV and try FUBO I guess. Either way, we’re gearing up for another big weekend of college football, and each pregame show is ready to captivate the viewer. I sense a lot of remote action happening between 10 a.m. and noon this weekend.