The Best Games. The Most Games. ESPN Announces Early Season College Football Schedule

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The Best Games. The Most Games. ESPN Announces Early Season College Football Schedule

  • College Football’s Most-Watched Series Returns: ABC’s Saturday Night Football Early-Season Slate Peppered with the CFP National Champions, New Year’s Six Winners
  • ESPN Televises the Most Games of any Single Network in Kickoff Week and Entire 2018 Season
  • The Champs Play Here: Alabama’s First Three Games on ESPN’s Networks, Including Home Opener and First Road Test; Marquee Teams from All 10 FBS Conferences in Season’s First Three Weeks
  • ESPN+ Added to Lineup, Streams More than 20 Games in Season’s First Three Weeks; More than 100 Exclusive Games Throughout the Season  
  • SEC Network Covers its Fifth Football Season; Longhorn Network’s Eighth
  • Six Conference Champions Crowned on ESPN’s Networks
  • FCS Kickoff in Week 0 Propels Season Long Coverage Concluding with NCAA Division I Football Championship

ESPN will celebrate the return of college football with an early season schedule that is unrivaled and unmatched in the industry, featuring marquee teams from all 10 FBS conferences and the nation’s top programs playing key conference and non-conference matchups across ESPN’s networks. ESPN’s first three weeks schedule launches a season-long regular season campaign which culminates with the six conference championship games and leads into a postseason featuring 35 Bowl Games – including the New Year’s Six – and the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T. ESPN will also air every snap of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

ESPN begins the season riding the momentum of a widely successful 2017 campaign, which concluded with the CFP National Championship generating the second largest audience in cable history and the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game with the third largest cable audience ever. Furthermore, ESPN’s entire presentation of the New Year’s Six plus the CFP National Championship was the most-watched in the system’s four-year history. The post season success was a continuation of the regular season superlatives, which included ABC’s Saturday Night Football being the most-watched college football franchise for the second consecutive year.

Welcome Back: ESPN’s Networks Annual Five-Day Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza Celebrates the Return of College Football with Nearly 50 Games
ESPN’s annual five-day kickoff weekend slate (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3) is peppered with the nation’s best teams, including the top 4 teams and seven of the top 8 in’s latest Way-Too-Early Top 25, playing key conference and non-conference games. Across all its networks, ESPN will carry nearly 50 games in the season’s first week.

The defending CFP National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide open their title defense on ABC’s Saturday Night Football vs Louisville (Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET) in the 2018 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando, only the fourth meeting between the two schools and the first in more than 25 years. The season debut of Saturday Night Football will cap a kickoff Saturday tripleheader on ABC, with all three games featuring a New Year’s Six participant from last season. Ohio State hosting Oregon State (noon) will lead into the 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff between Washington and Auburn (3:30 p.m.). The Buckeyes are reigning Big Ten Champions and went on to win the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, while Auburn participated in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Peach Bowl last season.

ESPN Airs the Most Games of Any Network in Week 1 and the 2018 Season
ESPN will air the most games of any network in week 1, a theme that will continue throughout the season. The network’s seven game kickoff weekend slate kicks off in earnest on the season’s first full Saturday with a quadruple-header beginning with the 2018 AdvocCare Texas Kickoff from Houston between Ole Miss and Texas Tech (noon) and continues with the defending SEC Champion and College Football Playoff finalist Georgia Bulldogs hosting Austin Peay (3:30 p.m.).

ESPN’s primetime slate will features familiar faces in new places, as Chip Kelly and Kevin Sumlin make their debuts with their respective programs. Both head coaches will be at home, with Kelly’s UCLA Bruins hosting Cincinnati (7 p.m.) and Sumlin’s Wildcats welcoming in BYU (10:45 p.m.)

Sunday and Monday Primetime Telecasts Featured in Season’s Kickoff Week: Both Matchups Potential Top 25 Showdowns
A signature of kickoff week returns with special primetime telecasts on both Sunday and Monday night of Labor Day weekend, with two potential top-25 showdowns. Miami vs. LSU from AT&T Stadium in Arlington will air on ABC, the network’s third consecutive year airing a Sunday night game during kickoff week. On Labor Day night, Virginia Tech travels to Florida State in a pivotal ACC matchup. This is the 15th year ESPN has aired a Labor Day night matchup.

Additional ESPN Kickoff Week Highlights:

  • Big Ten Opener: For the second consecutive year, a Big Ten matchup begins ESPN’s kickoff week when Northwestern travels to Purdue (Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. on ESPN)
  • 2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: Prairie View A&M vs. North Carolina Central (Sept. 2 at noon on ESPN2) will meet in the annual challenge, which will be played in Atlanta for the first time.

SEC Network Begins Fifth College Football Season
SEC Network begins its fifth season airing football with an abundance of games in the season’s first three weeks, beginning with Texas A&M hosting Northwestern State on the season’s first Thursday (Aug. 30 at 8:30 p.m.). The game marks the debut of new Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher.  The network, combined with its alternate channel, will air six additional games on Saturday, including Florida’s home opener in primetime. A complete look at their schedule is below and more information here.

ESPN+ Streams More than 20 Games in First Three Weeks, More than 100 Exclusive Games Throughout the Season
ESPN+, the first multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN, will stream more than 20 football games during the season’s first three weeks, beginning a season where the subscription service carries more than a hundred exclusive games this season.

ACC Network Extra Streams Clemson’s Home Opener, Five Total Games in Week 1
ACC Network Extra will stream the home openers for Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Virginia during week 1, beginning a season-long slate where the digital network will carry a number of games from ACC stadiums.

Week 2: Penn State-Pitt and Colorado-Nebraska Rivalries Take Center Stage,  Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher Meet Again
ABC will feature two of college football’s oldest rivalries in week 2 as Penn State travels to Pitt (Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.) and Colorado heads to Nebraska (Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m.). ABC’s Saturday Night Football will feature the 99th meeting between the Nittany Lions and the Panthers in a rivalry that was renewed the last two seasons, with both schools winning on their home field. Earlier in the day, the Buffaloes will take on the Cornhuskers for the first time since 2010 and 70th matchup overall.

ESPN’s primetime game will feature Clemson at Texas A&M (7 p.m.), as head coaches Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher face off for the ninth straight year; however, it will be the first ever non-conference matchup between the two national championship coaches, as the matchup will be just Fisher’s second as head coach of the Aggies.

Additional ESPN’s Networks Week 2 Highlights:

  • Sweet Home Alabama: The Crimson Tide return to Bryant-Denny Stadium to host Arkansas State (3:30 p.m. on ESPN2)
  • Sparty Heads West: Michigan State will play its first road game of the year, traveling to Arizona State in a Big Ten-Pac 12 Showdown (ESPN at 10:45 p.m.)

Longhorn Network Airs Texas Football Games for Eighth Consecutive Year
Longhorn Network will televise a Texas football game for the eighth straight year when the Longhorns host Tulsa (8 p.m.). The 24-hour network devoted to the University of Texas is also expected to televise another game this season, with details announced at a later date. More details on LHN’s production can be found here..

Week 3: Top Teams Face Conference and Non-Conference Road Competition
ESPN’s week three slate features many top teams heading on the road, including Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma’s first true road test of the season. The Buckeyes and Crimson Tide will be in primetime, as Ohio State plays TCU from AT&T Stadium in Arlington on ABC’s Saturday Night Football (Sept. 15 at 8 p.m.) and Alabama heads to Ole Miss (7 p.m., ESPN) as both teams begin SEC play. Oklahoma will begin its Big 12 campaign looking to avenge its lone regular season loss last season as it heads to Iowa State (noon, network TBD). In the late afternoon, West Virginia travels to NC State (3:30 p.m., network TBD), playing in Raleigh, N.C. for the first time since 1978.

Additional conference matchups in week three include: Florida State at Syracuse (noon, network TBD) and Washington at Utah (10 p.m., ESPN). Other non-conference matchups set to air: UCF at North Carolina (noon, network TBD) and Middle Tennessee at Georgia (7:15 p.m., ESPN2).

Penn State, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma at West Virginia Highlight ESPN’s Networks Additional Games

ESPN’s has locked in a number of games to beyond the first three weeks of the season, including: Penn State at Indiana on Oct. 20 (time and ESPN network TBD), Notre Dame at Northwestern on Nov. 3 (time and ESPN network TBD), and Oklahoma at West Virginia on Black Friday (Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. on ESPN)


ESPN Televises Six Conference Championship Games, Most in the Industry
ESPN will televise six conference championship games to conclude the regular season, with the Marathon MAC Football Championship on Friday, Nov. 30 and  the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game, American Championship, Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game, Mountain West Championship and Sun Belt Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1.

FCS Kickoff Highlights Week 0 Schedule
The 2018 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff featuring North Carolina A&T vs. Jacksonville State in primetime highlights ESPN’s week 0 schedule. Additional games from both FBS and FCS will be added in the coming weeks.

ESPN’s Networks College Football Current Schedule


Week 0

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Aug. 25 7 p.m. 2018 Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff featuring North Carolina A&T vs. Jacksonville State from Montgomery ESPN


Week 1

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug. 30 7 p.m. UCF at Connecticut ESPNU
Central Connecticut State at Ball State ESPN+
Kennesaw State at Georgia State ESPN+
8 p.m. Northwestern at Purdue ESPN
Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana-Monroe ESPN+
8:30 p.m. Northwestern State at Texas A&M SEC Network
Friday, Aug. 31 6:30 p.m. Monmouth at Eastern Michigan ESPN+
7 p.m. Army at Duke ESPNU
9 p.m. Western Kentucky at Wisconsin ESPN
Sat, Sept. 1 Noon Oregon State at Ohio State ABC
2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech from Houston ESPN
James Madison at NC State ESPNU
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina SEC Network
Villanova at Temple ESPNEWS
12:20 p.m. Furman at Clemson ACC Network Extra
12:30 p.m. Alcorn State at Georgia Tech ACC Network Extra
1 p.m. Massachusetts at Boston College ACC Network Extra
2 p.m. Howard at Ohio ESPN+
3:30 p.m. 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff: Washington vs. Auburn from Atlanta ABC
Austin Peay at Georgia ESPN
Central Michigan at Kentucky ESPNU
Marshall at Miami (Ohio) ESPN+
Albany at Pittsburgh ACC Network Extra
4 p.m. Eastern Illinois at Arkansas SEC Network
Tennessee-Martin at Missouri SEC Network Alternate
6 p.m. Delaware State at Buffalo ESPN3
South Carolina State at Georgia Southern ESPN+
Richmond at Virginia ACC Network Extra
Boise State at Troy ESPNEWS
North Carolina A&T at East Carolina ESPN3
Elon at South Florida ESPN3
7 p.m. Cincinnati at UCLA ESPN
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama ESPN+
Mercer at Memphis ESPN3
Central Arkansas at Tulsa ESPN3
VMI at Toledo ESPN3
Nicholls at Kansas ESPN3
Grambling at Louisiana ESPN3
Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State ESPN+
7:30 p.m. Charleston Southern at Florida SEC Network
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt SEC Network Alternate
Stephen F. Austin at Mississippi State ESPNU
8 p.m. 2018 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando: Louisville vs. Alabama ABC
10:45 p.m. BYU at Arizona ESPN
Sun, Sept. 2 Noon 2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge from Atlanta: Prairie View A&M vs.  North Carolina Central ESPN2
7:30 p.m. Miami  vs. LSU from Arlington, Texas ABC
Mon, Sept. 3 8 p.m. Virginia Tech at Florida State ESPN


Week 2

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Fri, Sept. 7 8 p.m. TCU at SMU ESPN2
Sat, Sept. 8 Noon Arizona at Houston ABC and ESPN2
Mississippi State at Kansas State ESPN
Duke at Northwestern ESPNU
Nevada at Vanderbilt SEC Network
Towson at Wake Forest ACC Network Extra
12:30 p.m. Georgia State at NC State ACC Network Extra
1 p.m. Holy Cross at Boston College ACC Network Extra
2 p.m. William & Mary at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra
3 p.m. Kansas at Central Michigan ESPN+
3:30 p.m. Colorado at Nebraska ABC
Arkansas State at Alabama ESPN2
North Carolina at East Carolina ESPNU
Howard at Kent State ESPN+
Morgan State at Akron ESPN+
Wagner at Syracuse ACC Network Extra
Buffalo at Temple ESPN3
4 p.m. East Tennessee State at Tennessee SEC Network
Southern Illinois at Ole Miss SEC Network Alternate
6 p.m. Savannah State at Miami ACC Network Extra
Maryland at Bowling Green ESPN+
Massachusetts at Georgia Southern ESPN+
7 p.m. Clemson at Texas A&M ESPN
Wyoming at Missouri ESPN2 or ESPNU
Southeastern Louisiana at LSU ESPN2 or ESPNU
Florida A&M at Troy ESPN+
UAB at Coastal Carolina ESPN+
Indiana State at Louisville ACC Network Extra
Texas Southern at Texas State ESPN3
7:20 p.m. Samford at Florida State ACC Network Extra
7:30 p.m. Kentucky at Florida SEC Network
Alabama State at Auburn SEC Network Alternate
Utah at Northern Illinois ESPNEWS
8 p.m. Penn State at Pittsburgh ABC
Tulsa at Texas Longhorn Network
Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio) from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati ESPN3
Nicholls at Tulane ESPN3
10:15 p.m. Connecticut at Boise State ESPN2 or ESPNU
California at BYU ESPN2 or ESPNU
10:45 p.m. Michigan State at Arizona State ESPN


Week 3

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thur, Sept. 13 7:30 p.m. Boston College at Wake Forest ESPN
Fri, Sept. 14 7 p.m. Georgia State at Memphis ESPN
Sat, Sept. 15 Noon Oklahoma at Iowa State ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Florida State at Syracuse ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Miami at Toledo ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
UCF at North Carolina ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
UTEP at Tennessee SEC Network
Murray State at Kentucky SEC Network Alternate
Rhode Island at Connecticut ESPN3
12:20 p.m. East Carolina at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra
12:30 p.m. Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh ACC Network Extra
3 p.m. Ohio at Virginia ACC Network Extra
3:30 p.m. BYU at Wisconsin ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
Boise State at Oklahoma State ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Georgia Southern at Clemson ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
West Virginia at NC State ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Central Michigan at Northern Illinois ESPN+
Southern Miss at Appalachian State ESPN+
4 p.m. Colorado State at Florida SEC Network
North Texas at Arkansas SEC Network Alternate
Eastern Kentucky at Bowling Green ESPN3
6 p.m. Eastern Michigan at Buffalo ESPN+
7 p.m. Alabama at Ole Miss ESPN
Delaware State at Western Michigan ESPN+
Texas State at South Alabama ESPN+
Alabama A&M at Cincinnati ESPN3
Oregon State at Nevada ESPN3
Campbell at Coastal Carolina ESPN3
7:15 p.m. Middle Tennessee at Georgia ESPN2
7:30 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe at Texas A&M SEC Network
Marshall at South Carolina ESPNU
Western Kentucky at Louisville ACC Network Extra
Louisiana at Mississippi State SEC Network Alternate
8 p.m. Ohio State vs. TCU from Arlington ABC
10 p.m. Washington at Utah ESPN


Additional Games

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Sept. 20 7:30 p.m. Tulsa at Temple ESPN
Fri, Sept. 21 7 p.m. Florida Atlantic at UCF ESPN
Harvard at Brown ESPNU
10:30 p.m. Washington State at USC ESPN
Sat, Sept. 22 Noon Boston College at Purdue ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
6 p.m. McNeese at BYU ESPN3
TBD Air Force at Utah State TBD
Thu, Sept. 27 8 p.m. North Carolina at Miami ESPN
Fri, Sept. 28 7 p.m. Princeton at Columbia ESPNU
8 p.m. Memphis at Tulane ESPN2
Sat, Sept. 29 6 p.m. Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan ESPN+
TBD Toledo at Fresno State TBD
TBD Nevada at Air Force TBD
Thu, Oct. 4 7:30 p.m. Georgia State at Troy ESPNU
8 p.m. Tulsa at Houston ESPN
Fri, Oct. 5 6 p.m. Dartmouth at Yale ESPNU
7 p.m. Georgia Tech at Louisville ESPN
9 p.m. Utah State at BYU ESPN2
Sat, Oct. 6 3:30 p.m. Ohio at Kent State ESPN+
Bowling Green at Toledo ESPN+
Miami (Ohio) at Akron ESPN+
TBD San Diego State at Boise State TBD
TBD Fresno State at Nevada TBD
Tue, Oct. 9 8 p.m. Appalachian State at Arkansas State ESPN2
Thu, Oct. 11 7:30 p.m. Texas Tech at TCU ESPN
Georgia Southern at Texas State ESPNU
Fri, Oct. 12 7 p.m. South Florida at Tulsa ESPN
10 p.m. Arizona at Utah ESPN
Sat, Oct. 13 Noon Iowa at Indiana ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
3 p.m. Western Michigan at Bowling Green ESPN+
3:30 p.m. Ohio at Northern Illinois TBD
TBD Hawai’i at BYU TBD
TBD Army at San Jose State TBD
TBD Wyoming at Fresno State TBD
Thu, Oct. 18 7:30 p.m. Georgia State at Arkansas State ESPNU
9 p.m. Stanford at Arizona State ESPN
Fri, Oct. 19 7 p.m. Yale at Penn ESPNU
9 p.m. Colorado State at Boise State ESPN2
Sat, Oct. 20 2 p.m. Bowling Green at Ohio ESPN3
3 p.m. Eastern Michigan at Ball State ESPN+
Western Michigan at Central Michigan ESPN+
TBD Fresno State at New Mexico TBD
TBD Penn State at Indiana ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
Tue, Oct. 23 8 p.m. Troy at South Alabama ESPN2
Thu, Oct. 25 7:30 p.m. Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech ESPN
Appalachian State at Georgia Southern ESPNU
Fri, Oct. 26 7 p.m. Miami at Boston College ESPN
10:30 p.m. Utah at UCLA ESPN
Sat, Oct. 27 TBD Northern Illinois at BYU TBD
TBD San Diego State at Nevada TBD
TBD Hawai’i at Fresno State TBD
Tue, Oct. 30 8 p.m. Kent State at Bowling Green ESPN2 or ESPNU
Miami (Ohio) at Buffalo ESPN2 or ESPNU
Wed, Oct. 31 7:30 p.m. Ball State at Toledo ESPN2
Thu, Nov. 1 7:30 p.m. Temple at UCF ESPN
Fri, Nov. 2 6 p.m. Penn at Cornell ESPNU
7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Virginia ESPN2
Sat, Nov. 3 TBD Notre Dame at Northwestern ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
TBD BYU at Boise State TBD
TBD San Diego State at New Mexico TBD
Tue, Nov. 6 7:30 p.m. Kent State at Buffalo ESPNU
Wed, Nov. 7 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Ohio at Miami (Ohio) ESPNU or ESPN2
7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Toledo at Northern Illinois ESPNU or ESPN2
Thu, Nov. 8 7:30 p.m. Wake Forest at NC State ESPN
Fri, Nov. 9 7 p.m. Louisville at Syracuse ESPN2
10:15 p.m. Fresno State at Boise State ESPN2
Sat, Nov. 10 TBD UNLV at San Diego State TBD
Colorado State at Nevada TBD
Tue, Nov. 13 6 p.m. Western Michigan at Ball State ESPN2
Wed, Nov. 14 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Buffalo at Ohio ESPNU or ESPN2
7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Miami (Ohio) at Northern Illinois ESPNU or ESPN2
Thu, Nov. 15 8 p.m. Tulane at Houston ESPN
Fri, Nov. 16 9 p.m. Memphis at SMU ESPN2
Sat, Nov. 17 TBD New Mexico State at BYU TBD
TBD Yale vs Harvard from Fenway Park in Boston TBD
TBD Air Force at Wyoming TBD
2 p.m. 2018 Florida Classic: Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman from Orlando ESPN Classic
Tue, Nov. 20 7 p.m. Ball State at Miami (Ohio) ESPNU or ESPN+
7 p.m. Northern Illinois at Western Michigan ESPNU or ESPN+
Thu., Nov. 22 7:30 p.m. Mississippi State at Ole Miss ESPN
Fri, Nov. 23 TBD UCF at South Florida TBD
TBD Virginia at Virginia Tech TBD
TBD Houston at Memphis TBD
8 p.m. Oklahoma at West Virginia ESPN
Sat, Nov. 24 TBD Utah State at Boise State TBD
TBD Hawai’i at San Diego State TBD
TBD San Jose State at Fresno State TBD

Please Note: Not all ESPN3 and ACC Network Extra games are exclusive  

Conference Championship Weekend

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Fri, Nov. 30 7 p.m. Marathon MAC Football Championship from Detroit ESPN2
Sat, Dec. 1 TBD Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game from Charlotte TBD
TBD American Championship Game (campus site TBD) TBD
TBD Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game from Arlington TBD
TBD Mountain West Championship Game (campus site TBD) TBD
TBD Sun Belt Championship Game (campus site TBD TBD


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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