Alabama Football: Game Time vs. Michigan Is Another Example of Poor Programming

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 22, 2012

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Quan Bray #4 of the Auburn Tigers is tackled by Robert Lester #37 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

You can start getting your plans for opening weekend set, because another game time has been set.

Alabama will take on Michigan from Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas at 8 p.m. ET, in a game that will be televised on ABC, Alabama announced on Tuesday.

If you're bored, or you just want something to do during breaks, you can flip over to ESPN, which will be showing the Auburn vs. Clemson game starting at 7 p.m. ET.

ABC and ESPN—both part of The Walt Disney Company—will be competing against each other with the two biggest games of the weekend, in games with teams involved in the nation's fiercest rivalry.

It makes sense to the networks, but it doesn't make sense to anybody else.

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03:  A general view of play between the Oregon Ducks and the LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's nothing new, though.

Last year, LSU vs. Oregon and Boise State vs. Georgia—the two biggest games of opening weekend—kicked off at the exact same time on ABC and ESPN, respectively. Two seasons ago, the TCU vs. Oregon State matchup in the Cowboys Classic on ESPN went up against the LSU vs. North Carolina game at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on ABC.

It's not an accident, it's a strategy.

ESPN and ABC like to counter-program college football with more college football because it enhances the brand and limits the chances of airing a blowout in prime time. It sounds backwards, but it works. Interest in college football has never been higher.

But for the casual fan watching on television, the fan attending the big game on opening weekend and for the writer covering SEC football, it's horribly annoying.

I know, I know. Fans and writers can always watch one later on a DVR, get two TVs in one room or watch one game while sitting in the press box of the other. It's just not the same.

On other weekends when there are compelling matchups all over the schedule, you can't avoid conflicts. But on opening weekend, when there are only a few games that jump off of the page as "must-see events," I just don't get it, and I never will.

Can you imagine Auburn vs. Clemson at 3:30 p.m. ET leading up to Alabama vs. Michigan at 8 p.m. ET? That would be one amazing day of football.

Don't get me wrong, it's still an amazing day of football regardless. College football is second-to-none. But it could be so much better if the premier games of the opening Saturday of college football season were staggered.


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