The Southeastern Conference on Thursday released starting times of some early-season football games selected for television, including two rise-and-shine contests for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Georgia's first two league games, at South Carolina on Sept. 11 and home against Arkansas on Sept. 18, will kick off at noon on ESPN or ESPN2. Each of those was a night game last season, and the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks haven't kicked off at lunchtime since tailback Robert Edwards accounted for five touchdowns in Georgia's 42-23 win at Athens in 1995.
CBS officially announced that its weekly schedule of 3:30 p.m. telecasts will begin Sept. 18 with Florida's trip to Tennessee. This is the only league rivalry CBS has shown every year since becoming the primary network for SEC games in 1996, having replaced the annual Arkansas-LSU game the day after Thanksgiving with Alabama-Auburn last year.
Tennessee's Sept. 11 home game against Oregon was announced several weeks ago as a 7 p.m. start on ESPN2.
Defending national champion Alabama's home game Sept. 11 against Penn State will be shown on ESPN at 7, and the Crimson Tide's trip to Duke on Sept. 18 will be televised by ABC at 3:30. Alabama has had 10 games televised nationally each of the past two seasons, with nobody in college football having more.
ESPN's schedule of Thursday night telecasts begins with South Carolina hosting Southern Miss on Sept. 2 and Auburn visiting Mississippi State on Sept. 9. ESPN also will televise Auburn hosting Clemson on Sept. 18, which will kick off at 7.
The Oct. 2 lineup is coming into focus with Georgia's game at Colorado being televised by Fox Sports Net at 4:30. That's the same day CBS has its day-night doubleheader of Tennessee at LSU at 3:30 and Florida at Alabama at 8.
Also included in the schedule released Thursday is the Georgia-Florida game Oct. 30 in Jacksonville, which will be televised annually by CBS at 3:30 throughout the length of the network's 15-year contract with the SEC. The league championship game in Atlanta will be televised Dec. 4 by CBS at 4 p.m.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...