On Wednesday, CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC revealed their early college football schedules for the 2023 season.
Glancing over the schedules, it’s clear how much the college football world has changed over the last year.
CBS, juggling the Big Ten, Mountain West, and SEC this season, has perhaps the most interesting schedule of any network this season. Nearly all of the company’s Mountain West schedule airs on CBS Sports Network, but there are three September games on CBS proper. That leads to three doubleheaders with the Big Ten on September 2nd, September 3rd (yes, a Sunday doubleheader), and September 9th. CBS then airs a Big Ten/SEC doubleheader on September 23rd.
The network then goes dark on the Big Ten until October 28th, where an unnamed Big Ten game at noon leads into Georgia-Florida. CBS will air a tripleheader on November 4th, starting with another unnamed Big Ten game at noon and back to back SEC games (also unannounced). The CBS Big Ten schedule concludes on Black Friday with Iowa-Nebraska leading into Missouri-Arkansas. The SEC will continue on in its traditional 3:30 PM ET window on CBS this season, and also has a doubleheader on October 14th. All games airing on CBS proper can be streamed on Paramount+.
NBC announced the early chunk of their Big Ten schedule, and some fans will inevitably be riled up. Each of the first three weeks of the season features a game airing exclusively on Peacock, with six more coming over the rest of the season. East Carolina-Michigan is the Peacock game in Week 1, and Delaware-Penn State will be the streaming exclusive game in Week 2. In Week 3, Washington-Michigan State has been bounced to Peacock, with Syracuse-Purdue airing on NBC proper. West Virginia-Penn State and the much-maligned Charlotte-Maryland matchup air in primetime on NBC in the first two weeks of the season.
As usual, NBC airs all Notre Dame home games, including the Week 4 matchup with Ohio State and the Week 7 USC game, both in primetime. NBC has also tabbed the Week 11 Michigan State-Ohio State game and the Black Friday Penn State-Michigan State game for primetime slots. All games airing on NBC proper can be streamed on Peacock.
Fox’s early schedule leans on the Big Ten far less than expected in the early going. Colorado features in the first two Big Noon games of the season, visiting TCU in Week 1 and hosting Nebraska in Week 2. Rice-Texas is the only other Week 1 Fox game, but Week 2 features a quadrupleheader, with Iowa-Iowa State, Oregon-Texas Tech, and Stanford-USC following Nebraska-Colorado. A Big Ten matchup returns to Big Noon in Week 3 with Penn State-Illinois, followed on Fox by Western Kentucky-Ohio State and TCU-Houston.
The rest of Fox’s Big Noon schedule is a blank slate until November. Week 11 features Michigan-Penn State and Week 13 features, unsurprisingly, Ohio State-Michigan.
ESPN’s schedule over the first three weeks of the season is large enough to give you a headache. ABC’s Week 1 tripleheader is Virginia-Tennessee, Boise State-Washington, and North Carolina-South Carolina (along with LSU-Florida State on Sunday), and the Week 2 tripleheader is Notre Dame-NC State, Texas A&M-Miami, and Wisconsin-Washington State. Week 3 includes Florida State-Boston College, Alabama-South Florida, and Pitt-West Virginia.
Despite its overwhelming size, ESPN’s schedule is probably the most familiar to fans. Games are spread across six networks and ESPN+ (and the various brands on ESPN+, like ‘Big 12 Now’), and you pretty much know what you’re getting at this point.
Overall, it’ll take some getting used to the Big Ten’s package split across three broadcast networks, two cable networks (BTN and FS1), and a streaming platform (Peacock). Next season, with a consistent CBS timeslot, it’ll probably be easier, but this season, it seems like we’ll be leaning on network schedules a bit more than usual.