Thursday, June 2, 2016

Oklahoma/Texas to FS1 could mean a move for the Ohio State/Michigan game soon

For the last 17 seasons, the Oklahoma/Texas Red River Rivalry game in Dallas, TX has been associated with the ABC Network, but with big-time events making the move to cable, this season's installment makes the move to FS1 in a press release from FOX Sports on June 1.

One can only think of a potential Big Ten television contract with FOX receiving a select number of games this summer that would go in effect in 2017.

Let's assume FOX and ESPN/ABC (all games produced by ESPN) are partners in the new deal and both networks grab an equal number games from the Big Ten schedule, a possibility would exist where the coveted Ohio State/Michigan rivalry game could move from broadcast TV to cable through FS1 or ESPN for the first time since 1984 as soon as next season.

Even with the tradition of yesteryear (The 10-year war between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler) to today (Urban Meyer vs Jim Harbaugh), viewing habits have expanded outside of watching the game at home on a TV screen to applications on smartphones and computers where fans can watch the game at different locations.

With the advent of the above mentioned devices, the significance of big games on network television have eroded as the acceptance of viewing games online or on apps on the phone can mitigate the lack of access to games on cable.

Sure, ratings could suffer a bit, but the Bowl Championship Series/College Football Playoff have been cable exclusive on ESPN since the 2010 season and dealt with the same fate early in the transition, but the ability for viewers to watch the games on multiple devices on the WatchESPN app have eased a lot of bitter feelings over time.

While the rivalry games are significant in terms of prestige and potential stakes in the upper-tier postseason bowls, the New Year's contests set the precedent for games like Oklahoma/Texas to move to cable for at least this season.

Fans will continue to watch the games no matter the outlet because college football Saturdays are de facto mini holidays.

So, sit back and plan the schedule now as the season is less than three months away.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.