The ACU Wildcats will have four televised football games this season, according to the Southland Conference, which on Tuesday released the league's network schedule for the upcoming 2014 season.
The Wildcats will be featured on the SLC Television Network and ESPN3 three times this fall: at Troy on Sept. 13 (ESPN3), at home against Incarnate Word on Sept. 20 (SLC-TV Game of the Week), and at McNeese State on Oct. 18 (ESPN3). The game that will be broadcast on the SLC-TV Network will be carried on KIDZ MyAbilene (15.2 over-the-air and channel 16 on Suddenlink).
The Wildcats' season-opener on Wednesday, Aug. 27, is the season's second college football game (following the Aug. 23 game between Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington), but will be the first to feature an NCAA Division I FBS team (Georgia State). That game – set for a 6 p.m. (central time) kickoff – is scheduled to be broadcast to a national television audience on ESPNU.
The SLC-TV Network and ESPN3 will feature 15 exclusive broadcasts of all 11 Southland football teams in 2014. The matchups will be featured on more than 25 regional affiliates across Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as to a nationwide audience on ESPN3 and ESPN GamePlan. Five of the telecasts will be shown nationally and exclusively by ESPN3.
“We look forward to another great season of Southland football on the award-winning regional network and ESPN3,” Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “With the growth in affiliate coverage, Southland football is a proven television commodity, and we are excited to continue tell the great stories of competitive excellence and academic achievement within the league.”
The SLC-TV Network, now in its second season of HD broadcasts, will feature a regional broadcast slate of 3 p.m. games beginning with a matchup of league newcomers, as UIW visits Abilene Christian on Sept. 20. Next, Nicholls will travel to Central Arkansas on Sept. 27, and in the third week, the defending Southland Conference champion and NCAA quarterfinalist Southeastern Louisiana plays host to Northwestern State on Oct. 4.
McNeese State visits Sam Houston State on Oct. 11, in a matchup of two 2013 NCAA playoff teams. Sam Houston will also play the following week in a road tilt at Northwestern State on Oct. 18. Southeastern Louisiana will play at Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 25, and SFA is back on the network a week later for the “Battle of the Piney Woods” rivalry against Sam Houston State on Nov. 1 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Lamar visits Central Arkansas in the Nov. 8 telecast, and McNeese State travels to Southeastern Louisiana for the Nov. 15 broadcast. The final week of the regular season is reserved for a “wild card” selection, as the Southland TV Network will determine which game to broadcast based on the championship race and other factors. The Nov. 22 possibilities include Central Arkansas at Sam Houston State, Northwestern State at Stephen F. Austin, and Lamar at McNeese State.
Southland Conference Television Network broadcasts will be available on local channels across the region, as well as new affiliates outside the league’s footprint. The full list of stations will be updated prior to each game at southland.org/television.
In addition to the Southland TV Network slate, ESPN3 will deliver five exclusive game broadcasts, including Central Arkansas at Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 4, UIW at Northwestern State on Oct. 11, Abilene Christian at McNeese State on Oct. 18, Nicholls at Houston Baptist on Oct. 25, and Houston Baptist at Lamar on Nov. 1.
The season’s first broadcast will take place as part of Southland Conference Football Media Day in Lake Charles, La., as ESPN3 presents a preview special in prime time. The show is set for Wednesday, July 23, at 7 p.m. Central. Hosts Lincoln Rose and Erin Cofiell will have interviews with head coaches and student-athletes from all 11 football-playing institutions.
The SLC-TV Network has won seven Telly Awards, the most recent for its live production of Sam Houston State vs. Southeastern Louisiana football in 2013. In addition, SLCTV has earned a pair of College Sports Media Awards honors, receiving recognition for best live game coverage in 2009-10 and 2012-13.
Southland teams will also participate in 11 other non-conference telecasts, including the first game of the 2014 season on Aug. 23, when Sam Houston State plays at Eastern Washington on ESPN.
Information for this story provided by Abilene Christian Athletics.