11 AM kickoffs occur every week in the SEC and every team is going to have to go through one at some point. It’s just the nature of the beast. Just look at the TV schedule for November 4th. Several teams even involving conference games are having to go through it:
So in reality it’s a good thing that MSU’s non conference game against UMass is the same weekend as Alabama LSU because of the deal that CBS made with ESPN in 2011 in order to get “the game of the century” to be a night game. For one they wanted this slot to have the same exclusivity they enjoy as they do when they host a 2:30 game. This is to get the entire SEC to watch. Now keep in mind the SEC Network Deal in 2014 also affects this as well. The SEC Network is now allowed to air a game at 3:00 at the same time as the CBS Game. But that’s the only exception.
So what does this mean? Well the MSU fan base seems to have trouble figuring out how the TV selection process works. I just went through the exception which is the Alabama LSU game week, but here is how the process works: CBS gets first pick, then ESPN gets 2nd pick and from there ESPN and the SEC decide the rest of the slots to fill up the 3 SEC Network Game slots and any additional slots like ESPN2 or ESPNU. If CBS has a doubleheader, they do not get the first two picks. They get the 3rd or 4th pick which is why you saw them pick South Carolina and Georgia because ESPN gets 2nd pick and they chose Auburn and Texas A&M. Like I said before November 4th is a special week, so because of the 2011 ESPN/CBS deal the prime time game is moved to 11 AM. Which plays into 2016 because ESPN chose Texas A&M Mississippi State as their #2 game. It would have been a night game if it was any other week. And that is probably not what MSU fans want to hear, but hey it was a great win by the Bulldogs that day!
So what is my point by going through the entire TV process? This game isn’t terrible. How many more MSU fans would show up to see UMass whether it was 6:00 or 11:00? I wouldn’t think it’s a big difference because it’s a nonconference game against a winless opponent. This isn’t LSU, Alabama, or Auburn we are talking about at 11 am and that is perfectly ok to have an 11 am game. If you listen to Dan Mullen he likes 11 am games, and I agree with him in the sense that these non conference games against boring competition are the right time for them. You get done around 3 or 4 and get to spend the rest of your day watching college football or whatever else. It’s a win win for everyone. Really MSU got lucky because they only will have to endure two 11 am kickoffs this season because Ole Miss is already a night game and Alabama will most likely be a night game or it will be the 2:30 CBS game. With the weather being nice and cool at 11 am, November is actually a great time to have the early game. Because as we all know, we are getting to the time of year where night games become pretty cold and us Mississippians know there is no equilibrium when it comes to weather. It’s either too hot or too cold. And that’s the way I like it.