ATLANTA (CNN/SI) The top teams from two of America's top football conferences will have a chance to play in eleven nationally telecast prime time games under a new contract with TBS Superstation and Turner Sports. TBS announced Monday it has reached an agreement to air games originating at Big 12 and Pac-10 campuses starting this fall.
TBS, available in 85 million homes, will carry 11 Saturday night (7 p.m. EST) games per season from 2002-2006, alternating the second pick of each conference's games (after ABC) with Fox Sports Net.
"Both the Big 12 and Pac-10 consistently rank as national powers in college football. This multi-year agreement demonstrates our commitment to provide compelling, top-notch sporting events to our viewers," said Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Sports.
"We are very excited to be adding the top-quality sports programming that these two great conferences offer to our Saturday night fall line-up. Along with the national following of their respective teams, the deal will also provide us with additional opportunities to promote TBS Superstation in key West Coast markets," said Dennis Quinn, executive vice president and general manager of TBS Superstation.
Big 12 and Pac-10 teams represented six of the top 10, and eight of the top 20 ranked teams in the nation in the final AP rankings in 2001. The prime time slot will likely go to teams capable of attracting a national audience and those that have scheduled high profile intersectional matchups. It will also mean more evening kickoffs for top games and will open the door to increased recruiting opportunities for selected teams.
The deal marks a return to college football for TBS, which has aired college football packages and bowl games dating back to 1982. Previous Superstation packages included NCAA football (1982-1983); Prime Time College Football -- which included the Big Ten, Pac-10, ACC and Independents -- from 1985-1986; and SEC football (1984-1991).