ESPN will open the 2014 college football season with Sam Houston State at Eastern Washington in the new FCS Kickoff on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The only college game of the day, and the first contest of the season, will match traditional Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) power programs that finished the 2013 season in the FCS Coaches poll (No. 3 Eastern Washington and No. 13 Sam Houston State) and are expected to be in the preseason FCS Coaches top 25 poll.
Sam Houston State defeated Eastern Washington 49-34 last season, handing the Eagles its only regular-season loss to an FCS opponent in 2013.
“FCS conferences and member institutions are an important part of the overall fabric of collegiate athletics and ESPN’s programming schedule,” said Brent Colborne, ESPN director of programming and acquisitions. “We regularly talk with our league partners on opportunities for increased exposure and expansion of our content offerings. The FCS Kickoff is one result that will further showcase the quality and depth of FCS football to our national audience.”
Sam Houston State of the Southland Conference at Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference will be the first game of an extensive schedule of FCS coverage across multiple ESPN platforms in 2014. The 2013 season included 58 regular-season games exclusively on ESPN3; all 23 games of the FCS Championship on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3; College GameDay Built by The Home Depot originating from North Dakota State; and multiplatform coverage of matchups against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.
ESPN’s coverage of the FBS – the most extensive among media networks with more than 400 games – will begin with matchups across multiple platforms on Thursday, Aug. 28, and conclude with exclusive telecasts of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Schedule details are being finalized.