ABC is beginning the 2019 college football season with some marquee programs.
ESPN announced the first three prime-time games for the network on Wednesday. Week 1’s prime-time game (Aug. 31) is Auburn’s matchup with Oregon in Dallas. In Week 2 (Sep. 7), LSU will play at Texas. The third week’s game is Clemson at Syracuse.
The Auburn-Oregon game will give some casual fans their first chance to see Oregon QB Justin Herbert, who returned to the Ducks for his senior year. Herbert could be one of the first two or three quarterbacks drafted in the 2020 NFL draft.
While Week 3’s game may not have the mass appeal that the first two games have, the defending national champion Tigers suffered their most recent regular-season loss at Syracuse in 2017.
All three games start at 7:30 p.m. ET. Most of ABC’s prime-time games have previously started after 8.
ESPN’s announcement comes after Fox said earlier in the week that it was shifting its college football priorities to earlier in the day. The network said at its fall reveal announcement on Monday that the best game of the weekend would air at noon ET on the network.
Fox will have its best game of the day will be at noon every Saturday.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) May 13, 2019
While there are numerous college football fans who despise noon kickoffs when attending games in person, Fox moving its marquee games up in the day is a win for hardcore college football fans and could be a win for Fox itself. Viewers could have appointment viewing in each of the noon ET, 3:30 and 7:30 time slots. Fox, meanwhile, could get more viewers as noon games are typically less attractive matchups than those that air in prime time.
In case you were wondering, the 2019 college football season officially kicks off in 101 days when Florida plays Miami and Arizona plays Hawaii on Aug. 24.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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