The early season and special dates calendar for the Big 12 conference came out on Tuesday morning and while there was one expected development in regards to the games that the Longhorn Network will carry, there was one surprise.
In the former category, the still-fledgling network will carry the New Mexico State opener on August 31 at 7 p.m. CT. In the latter category? The season's third contest against Ole Miss on September 14 will start at the same time on the same network, which one AP writer commented could make it the most-watched illegal stream of the year for college football fans, a statement that could certainly hold true if ESPN can't come to more carriage agreements before the season.
Ole Miss fans may have a better shot of watching the game than many Texas fans, at least those located in the Mississippi area:
Ole Miss & ESPN are working on TV accommodations for Rebel fans for the Texas game.— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) June 4, 2013
The LHN has made viewership accommodations for local television networks in the past so opposing fans have at least some access to the games.
A third game should also air on the school's network, most likely the home contest against Kansas on November 2.
The team's lack of success over the last three seasons, compounded by struggles in the other two major sports, haven't exactly made the proposition a better investment for carriers . Meanwhile, ESPN doesn't look likely to make off their demands just to get the network out there.
So, cue the hue and cry against the network once again.
The good news is that the high profile of the game pitting a potentially rising Texas team against what is unquestionably a rising Ole Miss team under Hugh Freeze could help push carriers to think a little bit more about coming to an agreement with ESPN. And any viewer ire should, as always, be directed towards the carriers since Texas athletics has nothing to do with negotations and ESPN isn't going to chance their stance because of public pressure. The carriers could possibly be another story, however.
In other programming news, the second game against BYU in Provo is an ESPN2 telecast that kicks at 6 p.m. CT and the Thanksgiving battle against Texas Tech won't be the only Thursday game this year, as ESPN is picking up Texas-Iowa St. on October 3 at 6:30 p.m. CT.