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ESPN OPENS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WITH THE SPORT`S BEST SCHEDULE

  • ABC’s Saturday Night Football Must-See First Three Weeks:
    • 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama
    • 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State
    • 15 Miami at No. 2 Florida State 
  • Five-Day Week 1 Slate:
    • Big Ten’s Best Teams – No. 1 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan
    • Defending National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers
    • Non-Conference Top 25 Showdowns: ACC vs. Big 12 and Big Ten vs. SEC
    • ABC’s Sunday Night Prime Time Game; ESPN’s Labor Day Night Game

ESPN opens the 2017 college football season with the best schedule of any network, a five-day slate (Aug. 31- Sept. 4) featuring No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama, the Big Ten’s best teams — including No. 1 Ohio State and No. 5 Penn State, the defending College Football Playoff National Champion No. 7 Clemson Tigers and top 25, non-conference showdowns: ACC vs. Big 12 and Big Ten vs. SEC. The opening weekend slate sets the table for ESPN’s season schedule, which is loaded with high-stake games from all 10 FBS conferences.

“Our opening week schedule demonstrates ESPN’s leading position in college football,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “The marquee games and teams we air over Labor Day weekend begin a season-long campaign where ESPN will have the deepest schedule featuring the nation’s best teams, all culminating with exclusive coverage of the College Football Playoff.”

ABC’s Saturday Night Football First Three Weeks
ABC’s Saturday Night Football2016’s most-watched college football franchise on any network – begins 2017 with must-see matchups in the season’s first three weeks featuring top-ranked blue bloods, including two straight non-conference top 10 matchups and one of college football’s longest in-state rivalries.

The first 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama (Sept. 2 at 8 p.m.), the most-anticipated matchup of the season’s opening week, opens the 12th season of ABC’s Saturday Night Football.  Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will host the game and bookend the college football season as the brand new, state-of-the-art stadium will also host the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game (Jan. 8 on ESPN).

In the season’s second week, ABC’s Saturday Night Football airs No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State (Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.) from Ohio Stadium, continuing ESPN’s tradition of televising big games from the Big Ten.  The Sooners-Buckeyes meet for just the fourth time ever, with Ohio State winning the last two matchups (1983, 2016). It will be Oklahoma’s first trip to Columbus in 40 years, when the Sooners beat Ohio State 29-28.

In week 3, ABC’s Saturday Night Football airs its first of many conference games, as the Seminoles host their longtime in-state, ACC rival, No. 15 Miami Hurricanes (Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.). This season’s matchup will be the 62nd meeting all-time, with the Hurricanes holding a slight advantage in the series (31 wins, 30 losses). The Seminoles have won the last seven meetings.

“To me, FSU-Bama and OU-Ohio State are the two best non-conference games of the season and all three games will have immediate CFP implications,” said ABC Saturday Night Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. “Looking at this slate of games – and knowing what games Saturday Night Football could have in the following weeks — it has become the premier franchise in the sport. I am ready for the season to start yesterday.”

ESPN’s Networks Open The Season with the Big Ten’s Best – No. 1 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 11 Wisconsin, and No. 14  Michigan

Before the aforementioned Sooners-Buckeyes’ critical non-conference matchup in week 2, ESPN’s networks televise the season opener for the Big Ten’s top teams. The No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes begin their season, and conference schedule, at Indiana (8 p.m.) on Thursday, Aug. 31, on ESPN. The following night, Friday, Sept. 1, the 2016 West Division Champions and No. 11-ranked Wisconsin host Utah State (9 p.m.) on ESPN.

On the sport’s first full Saturday of the season (Sept. 2), the reigning Big Ten Champions, No. 5  Penn State, host Akron (noon) and No. 14 Michigan plays the defending SEC East Champion Florida Gators (3:30 p.m.) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both games will air on ABC leading into the previously mentioned Saturday Night Football matchup.

The Badgers, Buckeyes, Nittany Lions and Wolverines all played in New Year’s Six bowls last season.

Defending National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers and No. 12 LSU Bookend Opening Saturday Quadruple-Header on ESPN
The defending College Football Playoff National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers, open their season hosting Kent State (noon) Saturday, Sept. 2, on ESPN, the first of four games on the network on opening Saturday.  The 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff between BYU and No. 12 LSU (9:30 p.m.) from Houston is the nightcap, with NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte  (3 p.m.) and Appalachian State at No. 13 Georgia (6:15 p.m.) leading into the Cougars- LSU Tigers matchup.

Top 25 Big 12-ACC Showdown on Special ABC Sunday Night Telecast
For the second straight year, ABC televises a special Sunday night prime-time game to commemorate the season’s first week: a top-25 matchup between the Big 12 and the ACC when No. 20 West Virginia plays No. 22 Virginia Tech from FedExField in Landover, Md.

ESPN’s Traditional Labor Day Night Game Closes Out Week 1
ESPN will conclude its opening week slate with its traditional Labor Day Night Game, this year featuring the second 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Tennessee-Georgia Tech in an SEC-ACC matchup.  The Volunteers-Yellow Jackets matchup is also from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as ESPN will produce the stadium’s first two college football games in a 48-hour span.

ESPN/ABC’s Week 1 Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug. 31 8 p.m. No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana ESPN
Fri, Sept. 1 9 p.m. Utah State at No. 11 Wisconsin ESPN
Sat, Sept. 2 Noon Akron at No. 5 Penn State ABC
Kent State at No. 7 Clemson ESPN
3 p.m. NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte ESPN
3:30 p.m. No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 21 Florida from Arlington, Texas ABC
6:15 p.m. Appalachian State at No. 13 Georgia ESPN
8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama from Atlanta ABC
9:30 p.m. 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: BYU vs. No. 12 LSU from Houston ESPN
Sun, Sept. 3 2:30 p.m. 2017 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: South Carolina State at Southern ESPN2
7:30 p.m. No. 20 West Virginia vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech from Landover, Md. ABC
Mon, Sept. 4 8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech from Atlanta ESPN

 

ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Week 2

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 9 7:30 p.m. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State ABC

 

ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Week 3

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 16 8 p.m. No. 15 Miami at No. 2 Florida State ABC

Additional games for ESPN’s networks weeks 0, 1, 2, and 3 schedule will be announced at a later date
Rankings are from
Mark Schlabach’s post spring games Top 25 on ESPN.com

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; Derek.Volner@ESPN.com and @DerekVolner

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