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NATIONAL PREVIEW

Channeling Some Football

Here's where to watch college football games this season:

September 01, 2007|Larry Stewart

ESPN on ABC

Keith Jackson is gone, and so is the name ABC Sports. ESPN hasn't quite taken over the entire sports world, but it has taken over ABC Sports. So games you see on Channel 7 are no longer referred to as ABC games. They are ESPN on ABC games. Actually, the name change took place before last season, but it has taken a while to catch on.

After drawing an average of nearly 8 million viewers a telecast last season, the so-called Saturday night prime-time series is back. (It is a prime-time start in the East, but 5 p.m. on the West Coast).

The opener today has Tennessee playing at California, with the Bears hoping to avenge last season's 35-18 loss to the Volunteers. There will be no game Sept. 8, and then on Sept. 15 it will be USC at Nebraska.

That will be one of five appearances USC will make on the series. The second is a regionally televised home game against Washington State on Sept. 22. The others are Sept. 29 at Washington, Nov. 3 against Oregon State, and Nov. 10 at California. But any of those three games could be switched to ESPN or ESPN2.

UCLA's lone appearance on the Saturday night series will be Oct. 6, when the Bruins play host to Notre Dame. That game will be nationally televised on ESPN on ABC.

The main announcing team for the series will be Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit. Bob Davie was part of the team last season, but he has been moved to the ESPN2 "prime-time" series to work with Mark Jones.

In addition to the 5 p.m. games, ESPN on ABC will also have mostly 12:30 p.m. Saturday games involving teams from the Pacific 10, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Big East conferences. ESPN on ABC also has the 1:30 p.m. UCLA-USC game at the Coliseum Dec. 1 and the Rose Bowl.

Besides Musburger and Herbstreit, the ESPN on ABC announcing teams include Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Paul Maguire; Dan Fouts and Tim Brant; Terry Gannon and David Norrie, and Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham.

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ESPN networks

Each Saturday, ESPN will have games generally at 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., and ESPN2 games will usually be at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

ESPN also has a Thursday night lineup that includes a 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day game, USC at Arizona State.

ESPN's Thursday night announcing team is Chris Fowler, Craig James and Doug Flutie. ESPN and ESPN2 will also offer regular Friday night telecasts, plus games on selected Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.

ESPNU, for the third season, will have four games each Saturday, generally at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Working select games for ESPNU as a commentator will be former Miami coach Larry Coker.

ESPN Classic will televise at least six live games during the season, the most ever for the network.

The ESPN GamePlan pay package offers out-of-market ESPN on ABC regional telecasts. The cost is $129 for the season or $21.95 per weekend.

ESPN360.com, ESPN's broadband service, will deliver more than 250 games, some original and some being simulcasts of ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic telecasts.

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Fox cable

FSN, Fox's cable network, will offer Pac-10 and Big 12 games not televised by ESPN on ABC or another ESPN network. The Big 12 games will generally begin at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. and the Pac-10 games at noon or 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. or 4 p.m., and 7:15 p.m.

Both the UCLA and USC season openers today are FSN telecasts. The Bruins' 12:30 p.m. game at Stanford will be carried locally on FSN Prime Ticket, with Matt Delvin and Warren Moon announcing. The Trojans' 7:15 p.m. home game against Idaho will be on FSN West, with Barry Tompkins and Petros Papadakis.

The only other USC and UCLA games scheduled on FSN at this time are the Trojans' game at Oregon at noon Oct. 27 and the Bruins' game at Washington State at 3:30 p.m. the same day.

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Big Ten Network

This network, launched Thursday, is a joint venture between the conference and Fox Cable. Available on DirecTV's channel 220, it will televise 17 Big Ten games during the first three weeks of the season and 35 overall. But the ESPN networks, including ESPN on ABC, get to choose the best games. The network's main announcing team is Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis.

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Versus

The network that televises the NHL now has the Pac-10 and Big 12 package that TBS formerly sub-licensed from FSN. It involves 18 games, including Brigham Young at UCLA on Sept. 8, Stanford at USC on Oct. 6 and California at Stanford on Dec. 1.

Some college football fans may feel the same frustration that hockey fans felt during the NHL playoffs, since Versus reaches only about half of the Greater Los Angeles market's three million cable households.

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Fox College Sports

This three-channel digital cable service available to 52 million homes nationwide, generally on a sports pay tier, has 96 out-of-market games scheduled for this season, same as last season.

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CSTV

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