With OSU-CAL now a sell out, what about HD?

YEARS AGO, ABC used to broadcast some of their college football games nationally. That has become a thing of the past, technically speaking. With the Oregon State-Cal game now sold out, some Beaver fans without a ticket, and/or perhaps living outside the Beaver State, are likely wanting to know if they can catch it on TV and/or or in HD. From coverage maps to reverse mirrors, here's the 411.

First, let's delve into the "national broadcast" myth as it relates to coverage. ABC has not broadcast a single college football game nationally this year -- everything is instead regionally televised on the network. For some games, they are still considered "national" because those games are available on either ABC or ESPN in some markets, and this "reverse mirror" means it is considered a "national broadcast" -- such as when Oregon State played Penn State earlier this season.

In general, ABC has broadcast this season between 2-4 games during the 12:30 pm PT time slot, and then another 2 games during their 5 pm PT time slot.

On the plus side, more college football games than before.

On the downside, for starters, if you're not in the Western half of the country this week, you might not get to see the Beavs on TV this Saturday -- although the coverage area is beyond the West Coast and does extend through nearly all of Texas.

Also, for reasons passing understanding, ABC has generally presented only two of the 3-4 weekly 12:30 games in HD on the ABC network, often with a reverse mirror on ESPN in some cases, depending on the region. Both of the 5 p.m. games on ABC are generally both broadcast in HD.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN for the Beavs this week?

Of the five games broadcast regionally by ABC/ESPN in the 12:30 and 5 p.m. time slots this Saturday, there are four of them are offered in HD. The only game that is not offered in HD is...... Cal at Oregon State.

There's better news as far as coverage, with a crooked line extending from most of Texas up through most of Oklahoma and Kansas, over to Colorado and up to Montana, and then everything West of that. Confused, or just a Duck fan? No worries, we have visual aids:

TO SEE THE ABC and ESPN coverage maps and if the Beavs are on ABC in your area, (and for a brief mention on reverse mirrors and regionalization if you wish), head to the just released coverage maps on the HDSportsguide page for Nov. 15 by clicking here.

(Also, a proven source of solid information on college football broadcasts in HD is found here.)

The Beavs' game will go to 31 percent of the country, while the other two games, North Carolina-Maryland and Minnesota-Wisconsin, both in HD, will go to 43 and 26 percent of the U.S., respectively.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER options if you're outside the ABC coverage area and want to watch the Beavers on Saturday?

To watch the game online, you'll have to have a specific Internet Service Provider. If you use Verizon, you may well be in luck. But while generally all games on the ABC and ESPN family of networks are advertised as being available at espn360.com, the majority of people online in the U.S. cannot access them on the web. Why?

Without getting into the whole "net neutrality debate", in brief, the majority of ISP's, including Comcast and Cox, have not signed contracts with espn360.com (in part because they don't want to pass on the expense to their customers and thereby increase your bill) so unless you are on a specific ISP that has contracted with ESPN, you're out of luck.

Finally, if you live outside the coverage area showing the Beavs on Saturday -- and you don't mind forking over some coin -- you may be able purchase one week of ESPN's GamePlan for, according to their page, $21.95. The specifics may vary according to whether you're a satellite or cable customer so you'll want to contact your carrier. There's more information here and here.

In the meantime, this Beaver will be trying to understand why in the year 2008, the ABC network only offers a few of their 12:30 games in HD instead of say, oh I don't know, ALL OF THEM. I'm sure there's an explanation...reasonable or otherwise.

As mentioned earlier, all tickets for this Saturday's tilt between No. 23 Oregon State and California were sold out as of Wednesday evening. Kickoff is slated for 12:37 p.m. After Cal, the Beavs travel to Tucson to take on Arizona and then finish the season at home against Oregon. That game is also sold out with, at last check, some club level tickets still available, they are priced at $ 350 for the Civil War.

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