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Press Release

ESPN OPENS THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WITH THE SPORT`S BEST SCHEDULE

  • ABC’s Saturday Night Football Must-See First Three Weeks:
    • 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama
    • 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State
    • 15 Miami at No. 2 Florida State 
  • Five-Day Week 1 Slate:
    • Big Ten’s Best Teams – No. 1 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan
    • Defending National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers
    • Non-Conference Top 25 Showdowns: ACC vs. Big 12 and Big Ten vs. SEC
    • ABC’s Sunday Night Prime Time Game; ESPN’s Labor Day Night Game

ESPN opens the 2017 college football season with the best schedule of any network, a five-day slate (Aug. 31- Sept. 4) featuring No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama, the Big Ten’s best teams — including No. 1 Ohio State and No. 5 Penn State, the defending College Football Playoff National Champion No. 7 Clemson Tigers and top 25, non-conference showdowns: ACC vs. Big 12 and Big Ten vs. SEC. The opening weekend slate sets the table for ESPN’s season schedule, which is loaded with high-stake games from all 10 FBS conferences.

“Our opening week schedule demonstrates ESPN’s leading position in college football,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. “The marquee games and teams we air over Labor Day weekend begin a season-long campaign where ESPN will have the deepest schedule featuring the nation’s best teams, all culminating with exclusive coverage of the College Football Playoff.”

ABC’s Saturday Night Football First Three Weeks
ABC’s Saturday Night Football2016’s most-watched college football franchise on any network – begins 2017 with must-see matchups in the season’s first three weeks featuring top-ranked blue bloods, including two straight non-conference top 10 matchups and one of college football’s longest in-state rivalries.

The first 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama (Sept. 2 at 8 p.m.), the most-anticipated matchup of the season’s opening week, opens the 12th season of ABC’s Saturday Night Football.  Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will host the game and bookend the college football season as the brand new, state-of-the-art stadium will also host the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game (Jan. 8 on ESPN).

In the season’s second week, ABC’s Saturday Night Football airs No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State (Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.) from Ohio Stadium, continuing ESPN’s tradition of televising big games from the Big Ten.  The Sooners-Buckeyes meet for just the fourth time ever, with Ohio State winning the last two matchups (1983, 2016). It will be Oklahoma’s first trip to Columbus in 40 years, when the Sooners beat Ohio State 29-28.

In week 3, ABC’s Saturday Night Football airs its first of many conference games, as the Seminoles host their longtime in-state, ACC rival, No. 15 Miami Hurricanes (Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.). This season’s matchup will be the 62nd meeting all-time, with the Hurricanes holding a slight advantage in the series (31 wins, 30 losses). The Seminoles have won the last seven meetings.

“To me, FSU-Bama and OU-Ohio State are the two best non-conference games of the season and all three games will have immediate CFP implications,” said ABC Saturday Night Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. “Looking at this slate of games – and knowing what games Saturday Night Football could have in the following weeks — it has become the premier franchise in the sport. I am ready for the season to start yesterday.”

ESPN’s Networks Open The Season with the Big Ten’s Best – No. 1 Ohio State, No. 5 Penn State, No. 11 Wisconsin, and No. 14  Michigan

Before the aforementioned Sooners-Buckeyes’ critical non-conference matchup in week 2, ESPN’s networks televise the season opener for the Big Ten’s top teams. The No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes begin their season, and conference schedule, at Indiana (8 p.m.) on Thursday, Aug. 31, on ESPN. The following night, Friday, Sept. 1, the 2016 West Division Champions and No. 11-ranked Wisconsin host Utah State (9 p.m.) on ESPN.

On the sport’s first full Saturday of the season (Sept. 2), the reigning Big Ten Champions, No. 5  Penn State, host Akron (noon) and No. 14 Michigan plays the defending SEC East Champion Florida Gators (3:30 p.m.) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both games will air on ABC leading into the previously mentioned Saturday Night Football matchup.

The Badgers, Buckeyes, Nittany Lions and Wolverines all played in New Year’s Six bowls last season.

Defending National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers and No. 12 LSU Bookend Opening Saturday Quadruple-Header on ESPN
The defending College Football Playoff National Champion, No. 7 Clemson Tigers, open their season hosting Kent State (noon) Saturday, Sept. 2, on ESPN, the first of four games on the network on opening Saturday.  The 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff between BYU and No. 12 LSU (9:30 p.m.) from Houston is the nightcap, with NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte  (3 p.m.) and Appalachian State at No. 13 Georgia (6:15 p.m.) leading into the Cougars- LSU Tigers matchup.

Top 25 Big 12-ACC Showdown on Special ABC Sunday Night Telecast
For the second straight year, ABC televises a special Sunday night prime-time game to commemorate the season’s first week: a top-25 matchup between the Big 12 and the ACC when No. 20 West Virginia plays No. 22 Virginia Tech from FedExField in Landover, Md.

ESPN’s Traditional Labor Day Night Game Closes Out Week 1
ESPN will conclude its opening week slate with its traditional Labor Day Night Game, this year featuring the second 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Tennessee-Georgia Tech in an SEC-ACC matchup.  The Volunteers-Yellow Jackets matchup is also from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as ESPN will produce the stadium’s first two college football games in a 48-hour span.

ESPN/ABC’s Week 1 Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug. 31 8 p.m. No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana ESPN
Fri, Sept. 1 9 p.m. Utah State at No. 11 Wisconsin ESPN
Sat, Sept. 2 Noon Akron at No. 5 Penn State ABC
    Kent State at No. 7 Clemson ESPN
  3 p.m. NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte ESPN
  3:30 p.m. No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 21 Florida from Arlington, Texas ABC
  6:15 p.m. Appalachian State at No. 13 Georgia ESPN
  8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama from Atlanta ABC
  9:30 p.m. 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: BYU vs. No. 12 LSU from Houston ESPN
Sun, Sept. 3 2:30 p.m. 2017 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: South Carolina State at Southern ESPN2
  7:30 p.m. No. 20 West Virginia vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech from Landover, Md. ABC
Mon, Sept. 4 8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech from Atlanta ESPN

 

ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Week 2

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 9 7:30 p.m. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State ABC

 

ABC’s Saturday Night Football: Week 3

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 16 8 p.m. No. 15 Miami at No. 2 Florida State ABC

Additional games for ESPN’s networks weeks 0, 1, 2, and 3 schedule will be announced at a later date
Rankings are from
Mark Schlabach’s post spring games Top 25 on ESPN.com

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Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; Derek.Volner@ESPN.com and @DerekVolner

Team Alert

John Harris on the LSU Spring Game: Canada’s Offense is No Joke

Mother nature might have played as big a role as any player or coach on Saturday in Baton Rouge for LSU’s annual spring game. Before the storm hit, though, the purple and gold assemblage got a chance to see what SEC defenses will learn in due time.

Matt Canada’s offense is no joke.

Shift, motions, tackle over, shovel pass RPOs, tackle eligible passes and numerous other wrinkles had some LSU fans wondering what, in fact, they were watching. And, as it’s only the spring game, LSU’s new energetic offensive coordinator has plenty in his back pocket for the regular season.

The days of true two back, 21 and 22, I-formation personnel are all but gone on the Bayou. The Tigers will throw a litany of formations and play schemes that SEC defenses have NEVER seen from LSU. There are split plays where one side of the formation runs one play and the other side runs another. Canada’s innovation will have heads spinning for a while and it may take a while for it to completely click.

When it does, though, whooo boy, look out.

Oh, did I mention that LSU has arguably the best running back in the nation? I didn’t? Where are my manners? When defenses focus completely on star back Derrius Guice, there will be lanes and openings for a myriad of other offensive stars, including receiver/slot/speed sweeper D.J. Chark, now donning Leonard Fournette’s number seven. Guice, though, stands to gain the most, in some sense, because he won’t spend his entire day ramming his 5-11, 212 lb. body into eight or nine man stacked boxes. He’s going to have as much space to exploit as any back in the country and that’s not a good thing for SEC foes. He’s also going to get more involved in the passing game as he did on the first drive of the game, catching a flat route well ahead of coverage, down to the half yard line. A false start penalty cost LSU’s gold team the touchdown, but it was a sign of things to come with Guice, like Pitt’s James Conner last year, as a key receiver in this scheme.

And, no, your TV wasn’t play fast forward either; the Tigers now play as fast as any team in the conference, sprinting up to the line of scrimmage after first downs and nearly every other play. Now, there’s a difference in playing fast and playing fast effectively. A team can’t just focus on the speed of play, but the efficiency and execution while playing fast. Canada learned that he can combine the innovation of his playbook with pace of play and make it dangerous combination for SEC defenses.

It’s going to be fun in Baton Rouge this season, that’s for sure, and it starts at NRG Stadium September 2nd, 2017.

By: John Harris

Press Release

2017 ADVOCARE TEXAS KICKOFF SINGLE-GAME TICKETS AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19

LSU AND BYU TO FACE OFF THIS SEPTEMBER AT NRG STADIUM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

HOUSTON – Single-game tickets for the 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff featuring Louisiana State University and Brigham Young University will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT on Wednesday, April 19.

Ticket prices for the game range from $45-$350. Fans interested in purchasing tickets can do so by calling 832-667-2390 or by visiting TicketMaster.com. A limited number of single-game suites are also available for purchase by calling 832-667-2160 or by following the link here.

The AdvoCare Texas Kickoff is annually one of the premier neutral-site games in the country. The 2017 game is the fifth edition of the nationally televised Labor Day weekend college football event created by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. LSU and BYU will play at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

The 2017 Kickoff game will mark the first ever match-up between these two schools and will continue the tradition of championship caliber opponents facing off at NRG Stadium. This will be LSU’s second time appearing in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff. Their first visit, a 28-24 victory over Wisconsin in 2014, is the most attended college football game in NRG Stadium history. This will mark BYU’s first time playing in the event. For more information on the game visit AdvoCareTexasKickoff.com.

CONTACTS:

Allie LeClair
832-667-2050
allie.leclair@houstontexans.com

Katie Karsh
832-667-2085
katie.karsh@houstontexans.com

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Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment is an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since its founding, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including Copa America Centenario, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the “Battle of the Piney Woods” rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted major concerts featuring country superstars including George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, FCS opening-weekend game, 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Baton Rouge, La.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational (Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.

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ESPN Media Contact: Rachel Margolis Siegal at 860-766-2798 or rachel.m.siegal@espn.com

Team Alert

TEXAS BOWL SETS RECORD SINGLE-YEAR DONATION TO DEPELCHIN CHILDRENS CENTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 3, 2017

HOUSTON – The Texas Bowl presented a check for $180,000 to DePelchin Children’s Center this week, setting a record single-year donation to the charity. The donation came from the proceeds of the 2016 Texas Bowl.

The Texas Bowl presented the $180,000 check to Jenifer Jarriel, the President and CEO of the DePelchin Children’s Center. The gift was the largest in Bowl history and marked the sixth time that the Bowl contributed $100,000 or more to DePelchin. Donations have previously exceeded $100,000 in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“We are thrilled to present DePelchin Children’s Center with the largest single-year donation since our alignment in 2006,” Chairman of the Texas Bowl Don Faust, Jr. said. “The relationship between the Texas Bowl and DePelchin is extremely important to our volunteers, staff and board members and we are honored to provide a significant financial contribution to the charity each year.”

DePelchin Children’s Center was named as the Bowl’s official charitable beneficiary in 2006. In its historic tenth anniversary year in 2015, the Bowl surpassed $1 million in total donations to DePelchin and has generated millions of dollars in promotional support and publicity to date.

“We are incredibly thankful for this record breaking $180,000 donation from the Texas Bowl to DePelchin,” DePelchin President and CEO Jenifer Jarriel said. “Not only does this donation provide much needed financial support, but this partnership provides our families with experiences throughout the year that will last a lifetime.”

Founded in 1892 by Kezia Payne DePelchin, DePelchin Children’s Center is an accredited foster care and adoption agency serving the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and working to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. DePelchin’s approach to caring for kids integrates at-risk prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system.

The agency was originally founded as an orphanage and has grown and changed over its 125 year history to continue to meet the needs of the Houston community. Today, DePelchin Children’s Center offers support for children and families throughout the Greater Houston area and across Texas, including Austin, San Antonio, Brownwood and Lubbock.

Last year’s Texas Bowl matched Kansas State and Texas A&M in the third year of the Bowl’s partnership with the Big 12 and the SEC. The game between the Wildcats and the Aggies was among the Top-5 most-attended bowls in the country for the third consecutive year as Kansas State rolled to a 33-28 victory over Texas A&M.
The Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff have grown to become two of the most popular annual college football games in the country and have combined to create an economic impact of close to $100 million annually for the city of Houston.

The Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment.

CONTACTS:
Allie LeClair, (832) 919-0655
Katie Karsh, (610) 755-8682

About the Texas Bowl
The Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first 11 years as it is the 4th most-attended bowl overall since 2014. The bowl generates nearly $50 million annually for the Houston economy and has donated over $1,200,000 in financial support and millions more in promotional support to DePelchin Children’s Center, the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.