USA Today Sports

TV or not TV . . . for USC, mostly not

Not much good news, if any, in the release today of USC's early television games, not much at all. Too bad. If only USC AD Lynn Swann still worked for ABC.

No Prime Time ABC games. No ESPN game until the end of September and to get that, USC has to play Washington State in the Palouse on a Friday night in a game that will kick off at 10:30 p.m. on the East Coast.

Hey, at least it won't conflict too much with the high school games there so if folks Back East want to get a look at that Sam Guy they're talking about for the Heisman by the fifth week of the season, at least they can catch him on the late night show. If they're allowed to stay up for the second half.

Someone out there really doesn't like USC, or doesn't really care much if they carry the Trojans -- apparently.

Another TV fail for the losing-ground Pac-12 in a September schedule so good the ESPN release today could barely contain itself. "Marquee Games from Every Conference Bolster ESPN's Early Season College Football Schedule" ESPN crowed.

Huh, we asked ourselves. With Fox taking both the USC-Stanford and USC-Texas games, we wondered how that could be with no USC. And there it was.

"Boise State at Washington State," ESPN actually wrote. And there it was. The national "marquee" game for the Pac-12 in an early season that USC fans hoped would cement the Trojans early on in the national consciousness will be watching only Washington State from the Pac-12 on ABC, ESPN or CBS.

And that Sam Guy? He'll be as invisible almost as the nation's top college basketball player, Washington's Markelle Fultz, was all of last season. that starts Week 1 when a Pac-12 that kneecapped Christian McCaffrey's Heisman shot two years by making him a late-night star will be at it again.

And USC gets to open against Western Michigan at 2:15 Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2, in what could be 100-degree heat (only time you'd rather not have an afternoon game in LA) on a Pac-12 Network in barely 15 million homes (compared to the 80-million plus on the ESPNs or even the 60 million plus for the Big Ten and SEC networks.

No question the Pac-12 would scoop up USC that day since the WMU Broncos look like the Monsters of the Midway when compared to the other four available opponents for Pac-12 schools -- Southern Utah, Portland State, Montana State and Northern Arizona. The only decent opponent for a Pac-12 team that day is North Carolina, which takes the Cal game over to the ACC Network.

Might we say this is a perfect Pac-12 start. OK, we will say it. Especially when compared against the games ESPN is touting. Starting with a Florida State team that may be one of the four or so USC will have to compete with to get into the CFB Playoffs. Although with an opener against Alabama and a Week 3 matchup against Miami, the Seminoles get off to as good a start as it's possible to do if you're looking for exposure.

Which is what great programs, smart programs, in smart, competitive conferences, do. Michigan-Florida in Arlington gets Sept. 2 going for ABC which follows with Florida State-Alabama at the Chick-Fil-A game at the new Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta which just happens to be where the CFB Playoff championship game will be played. Hmmmm? Someone thinking ahead there. LSU vs, BYU in the AdvoCare Bowl in Houston closes out opening Saturday.

Week 2? Only one game matters. Oklahoma at Ohio State. Wonder where ESPN's College GameDay will head? So USC hosting Stanford in maybe the most meaningful conference game in the first two weeks of the entire 2017 season will happen in relative obscurity. Or worse.

That OSU-UO game will kick off at 4:30 on ABC right behind the 4 p.m. kick for Clemson-Auburn. USC-Stanford goes at 5:30 on Fox, head up against those two which will already have started. Not an ideal scenario.

But Week 3? USC against Texas? Doesn't that game have a chance? Probably not, not on Fox. No GameDay. ABC has Florida State (again) this time at Miami with a 5 p.m. West Coast kickoff, a half-hour before USC-Texas. And ESPN gets its day going with Notre Dame-Boston College before it gets Louisville-Clemson,

No decision yet, even from the Pac-12 people for the next week on USC at Cal, but the Trojans get back in the game, right, when they finally get on ESPN the next week? OK, as we said it's a Friday night and a 10:30 Eastern kick time. But beggars can't be choosers, to coin a phrase.

But here's the thing that should bother USC fans. The Trojans-Cougs will be the late-night second game following the prime time 7 p.m. kickoff for Duke-Miami. What, you expected something better?

And now here's another problem. Notre Dame Oct. 21 will be on NBC with a 4:30 West Coast kickoff time from South Bend and USC fans will have to pull for the Irish not to suck like last season so that game matters. After that, looking at the rest of a Pac-12 schedule without Washington or Oregon, this could be a long, media-free zone for the Trojans and Sam Darnold to get to the finish line without either Oregon or Washington on the schedule. 

And with the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday, Dec. 1, it's probably going to take a pair of unbeaten teams -- if Washington makes it -- to goose the ratings for that game.

So is there a bright spot here? Sure, this might be the first USC team that could ever get to the postseason with no one knowing almost anything about it. Or having seen it.

Under the radar, indeed. But then by definition, isn't that's what playing in the Pac-12 is all about?

2017 USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 2 – Western Michigan – 2:15 p.m. PT (Pac-12 Network)
Sept. 9 – Stanford – 5:30 p.m. PT (FOX)
Sept. 16 – Texas – 5:30 p.m. PT (FOX)
Sept. 23 – at California
Sept. 29 (Fr.) – at Washington State – 7:30 p.m. PT (ESPN)
Oct. 7 – Oregon State
Oct. 14 – Utah
Oct. 21 – at Notre Dame – 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
Oct. 28 – at Arizona State
Nov. 4 – Arizona
Nov. 11 – at Colorado
Nov. 18 – UCLA

Here is the television schedule for the 2017 Pac-12 football season...

Date Game Time TV

Sat., Aug.26

OREGON STATE at Colorado State 1 p.m. MT CBSSN

STANFORD vs. Rice (1) 7 p.m. PT ESPN

Thurs., Aug. 31

North Dakota at UTAH 4:30 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

New Mexico State at ARIZONA STATE 7:30 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Fri., Sept. 1

WASHINGTON at Rutgers 8 p.m. ET FS1

Colorado State vs. COLORADO (1) 6 p.m. MT Pac-12 Network

Sat., Sept. 2

CALIFORNIA at North Carolina 12:20 p.m. ET ACC Network (syndication)

Portland State at OREGON STATE 11 a.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Western Michigan at USC 2:15 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Southern Utah at OREGON 5:15 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Montana State at WASHINGTON STATE 7:30 p.m. PT FS1

Northern Arizona at ARIZONA 8 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Sun., Sept. 3

Texas A&M at UCLA 4:30 p.m. PT FOX/FOX Deportes

Sat., Sept. 9

Texas State at COLORADO 12 noon MT Pac-12 Network

Nebraska at OREGON 1:30 p.m. PT FOX/FOX Deportes

Hawai’i at UCLA 2 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Weber State at CALIFORNIA 2 p.m. PT Pac-12 Bay Area

Montana at WASHINGTON 5 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

STANFORD at USC 5:30 p.m. PT FOX

Minnesota at OREGON STATE 7 p.m. PT FS1

UTAH at BYU 8:15 p.m. MT ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU

Houston at ARIZONA 7:30 p.m. PT ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU

Boise State at WASHINGTON STATE 7:30 p.m. PT ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU

San Diego State at ARIZONA STATE 8 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Fri., Sept. 15

ARIZONA at UTEP 7:15 p.m. PT ESPN

Sat., Sept. 16

UCLA at Memphis 11 a.m. CT ABC/ESPN2 mirror

Northern Colorado at COLORADO 12 noon MT Pac-12 Network

OREGON STATE at WASHINGTON STATE 2:30 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

OREGON at Wyoming 5 p.m. MT CBSSN

ARIZONA STATE at Texas Tech 7 p.m. CT FSN

Texas at USC 5:30 p.m. PT FOX

Fresno State at WASHINGTON 6:30 p.m. PT Pac-12 Network

Mississippi at CALIFORNIA 7:30 p.m. PT ESPN

STANFORD at San Diego State 7:30 p.m. PT CBSSN

San Jose State at UTAH 8 p.m. MT ESPN2

Fri., Sept. 22

UTAH at ARIZONA 7:30 p.m. PT FS1

Sat., Sept. 23

OREGON at ARIZONA STATE

USC at CALIFORNIA

UCLA at STANFORD

WASHINGTON at COLORADO

Nevada at WASHINGTON STATE

Fri., Sept. 29

USC at WASHINGTON STATE 7:30 p.m. PT ESPN

Sat., Sept. 30

ARIZONA STATE at STANFORD

COLORADO at UCLA

CALIFORNIA at OREGON

WASHINGTON at OREGON STATE

Sat., Oct. 7

ARIZONA at COLORADO

OREGON STATE at USC

STANFORD at UTAH

WASHINGTON STATE at OREGON

CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON

Fri., Oct. 13

WASHINGTON STATE at CALIFORNIA 7:30 p.m. PT ESPN

Sat., Oct. 14

UCLA at ARIZONA

WASHINGTON at ARIZONA STATE

UTAH at USC

COLORADO at OREGON STATE

OREGON at STANFORD

Sat., Oct. 21

ARIZONA at CALIFORNIA

ARIZONA STATE at UTAH

USC at Notre Dame 7:30 p.m. ET NBC

OREGON at UCLA

COLORADO at WASHINGTON STATE

Thurs., Oct. 26

STANFORD at OREGON STATE 6 p.m. PT ESPN

Sat., Oct. 28

WASHINGTON STATE at ARIZONA

USC at ARIZONA STATE

UCLA at WASHINGTON

CALIFORNIA at COLORADO

UTAH at OREGON

Fri. Nov. 3

UCLA at UTAH 7:30 p.m. MT FS1/FOX Deportes

Sat., Nov. 4

ARIZONA at USC

COLORADO at ARIZONA STATE

OREGON at WASHINGTON

OREGON STATE at CALIFORNIA

STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE

Fri., Nov. 10

WASHINGTON at STANFORD 7:30 p.m. PT FS1/FOX Deportes

Sat., Nov. 11

OREGON STATE at ARIZONA

ARIZONA STATE at UCLA

USC at COLORADO

WASHINGTON STATE at UTAH

Sat., Nov. 18

ARIZONA at OREGON

ARIZONA STATE at OREGON STATE

UCLA at USC

UTAH at WASHINGTON

CALIFORNIA at STANFORD

Fri., Nov. 24

CALIFORNIA at UCLA 7:30 p.m. PT FS1/FOX Deportes

Sat., Nov. 25

ARIZONA at ARIZONA STATE

COLORADO at UTAH

OREGON STATE at OREGON TBD ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ABC

WASHINGTON STATE at WASHINGTON

Notre Dame at STANFORD

STANFORD at WASHINGTON STATE

Fri., Dec. 1

Pac-12 Football Championship Game (3) TBD ESPN or ABC

(1) Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia (game is Sun., Aug. 27 in Sydney)

(2) Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.

(3) Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.


USCFootball.com Top Stories