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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTES

ESPN will broadcast college football playoffs

Cable network reportedly will play $470 million a year for 12-year deal.

November 21, 2012
  • Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is sacked by Louisiana-Lafayette's Emeka Onyenekwu during the Gators' victory, 27-20, on Nov. 10, 2012.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is sacked by Louisiana-Lafayette's… (Joshua C. Cruey / McClatchy-Tribune )

The college football playoff system will be televised on ESPN for 12 years once it starts after the 2014 season, the network said Wednesday.

The title game will be played on a Monday, at least a week after the semifinals.

The deal is worth about $470 million a year, a person with knowledge of the terms said.

ESPN's current four-year contract to air the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls along with the BCS title game is worth about $125 million per year.

Florida QB will play

No. 6 Florida will have its starting quarterback back in the starting lineup against one of its biggest rivals.

Coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that sophomore Jeff Driskel will return to the starting lineup for Saturday's game at No. 10 Florida State.

Driskel sprained his right ankle Nov. 10 against Louisiana Lafayette and sat out last weekend's 23-0 win over Jacksonville State. Jacoby Brissett started in his place and completed 14 of 22 passes for 154 yards.

Driskel was on the sideline during the game without a walking boot, worked out Sunday and was cleared to practice Tuesday.

"He looked fine," Muschamp said. "We did everything we normally do. There was nothing limited within the package of what we did with him, with the way we normally prepare for any game. So again, he looked very good yesterday, and unless something just unheard-of happens in practice today or tomorrow, he ought to be ready to go Saturday."

Smaller Big East?

The struggling Big East Conference lost its fifth member in the last 18 months with Rutgers bolting for the Big Ten on Tuesday. Now the league could lose one of its two most prominent remaining football programs.

Louisville or Connecticut could join the Atlantic Coast Conference — which is seeking a replacement for Big Ten-bound Maryland.

Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Boise State and San Diego State are due to make the Big East a 12-team league next season, with Navy football arriving in 2015. But this week's news was another blow to the league's fight to remain relevant.

Etc.

Auburn Coach Gene Chizik declined to comment on reports that the NCAA is investigating alleged improprieties involving the football program. The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported Wednesday that NCAA investigators have interviewed at least one assistant coach and several players this week as the Tigers prepare for their season finale Saturday against No. 2 Alabama. The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, reported the investigation included but is not limited to the signing of running back Jovon Robinson, who was ruled ineligible amid allegations of academic improprieties. ... Duke has agreed to a contract extension with Coach David Cutcliffe, who has the Blue Devils bowl-eligible for the first time in nearly two decades. The new deal will run through June 2019, though terms were not released.

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