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Why Were There Three SEC Games On TV At Once?

tv-remotesWow.  Opening up the inbox today it was clear that many, many, many of you wondered why the heck three SEC teams always have to duke it out with one another for television bowl ratings on New Year’s Day.  “Why do they put the Gator, Outback and Capital One bowls on at the same time?”

There are two main reasons for the placement of those SEC/Big Ten bowls:


1.  The BCS bowls all air with zero competition from the other bowls.  With the Rose Bowl going at 5pm ET and the Orange Bowl owning the primetime slot, the kickoff options for the SEC’s New Year’s Day bowls are limited.  They basically have a window from about 11am ET to 1pm ET in which to kick off.

2.  The media term for what the SEC and Big Ten do on January 1st is “roadblocking.”  Basically, if a college football fan wants to watch a game on New Year’s Day — as in actual day part of the day — that fan will be forced to watch the SEC battle the Big Ten.  He’s roadblocked into it.  Oh, sure, there’s now something called The Heart of Dallas Bowl during that window as well, but there aren’t many folks who’ll seek that one out.


So while an SEC or Big Ten fan might prefer having his favorite league’s games spread out, that’s really not an option unless one of those three games moves off of New Year’s Day altogether.  And no one wants to do that.  Also, the conferences themselves like knowing that when people think “New Year’s Day football” they automatically think “SEC versus Big Ten” by default.  That’s great branding and it’s great for recruiting.

That said, starting in 2014 you’ll have to get used to a whole new lineup of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day bowl games with new start times and new conference tie-ins.  Yay?


Aaron Morrow
Aaron Morrow

What are the proposals for non-BCS bowl schedules in the playoff era?

I don't think the SEC-Big Ten bowls will counterprogram on New Year's Day.  The current rumors I've heard are the Orange Bowl starting at noon or 1PM, the Rose Bowl at 4:30 or 5PM, and the Sugar Bowl at 8 or 8:30PM.  The two leagues have ties to all three, and I can't imagine any network paying big bucks for a Hangover Bowl starting at 8 or 9AM.


We'll probably do some combination of filling up the Saturday in between NYD and the NCG, or schedule some prime time games in between NYD and the NCG.


I am probably not the typical college football fan, but I prefer it to stay as is.  I got to flip between all three games yesterday without having to burn the entire day.  I watched a sum total of around ten minutes of the Sugar and Rose bowls, so at least in my living room, the strategy backfired.  If I had more interest in the Sugar bowl teams, things would have been different, but...


Am I the only one?


FYI, I asked this of the B1G conference office last year.  They claimed they wanted all the B1G bowls to lead into the Rose and increase interest in that.  Their answer never made sense until I saw you explain this months ago. 


As a side note, I really wish the 6 BCS bowls would be spread over 3 days with each day having an open window for non-BCS games.  Say noon 12/30 (BCS at 4:30 and 8pm), 8pm NYE (BCS at noon and 4:30pm), and noon NYD (BCS at 4:30 and 8pm).  Who wants to watch a BCS game with an 8pm kickoff on NYE?


 @I4Bama  As a B1G fan, I'd rather get a better shot at watching more of our games.  I was stuck watching games that I didn't care as much about for almost a week leading up to that one day.  Then,  I couldn't keep up with all of the games I cared about.

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