The Pac-12 and ESPN/ABC announced their early prime time selections for the 2011 season this afternoon. Bruins are going to be on twice with the possibility of others getting added depending on how we start the season. The official site release:
ABC and ESPN will televise UCLA's Sept. 17 game against Texas at the Rose Bowl. The portions of the country that do not receive the ABC telecast will see the game on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 12:30 pm.
ESPN will televise the Bruins' game at Arizona on Thursday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for 6:00 pm PT/MT.
ABC/ESPN still has windows on Nov. 5 (Arizona State), Nov. 12 (at Utah), Nov. 19 (Colorado) and Nov. 26 (USC) that will be filled 12 days prior to the date of the game.
In early June, the Pac-12 will announce additional telecasts and broadcast windows from Fox Sports Net and its licensees FX and Versus. Following that, UCLA will work on its local TV package, although some arrangements will not be final until the two Pac-12 TV partners make their 12-day selections.
Last year ESPN and ABC had chosen 5 UCLA games for television at this time. UCLA cannot complain for lack of exposure because of Bruins' unacceptable 4-8 record from this last season. Dan Guerrero's program didn't do much last year to make it nationally relevant again. The challenges for Bruins for these two matchups will be daunting too.
Texas will come into Rose Bowl looking for blood. Last year's shocker in Austin - it was a shocker at the time - started the Longhorns' unraveling. It also gave the Bruins' a false sense of comfort. The Longhorn numbers will be out in force at the Rose Bowl. They will look for payback for last year and those brutal losses from pre Dan Guerrero era when UCLA football was nationally relevant.
Like everyone else here I am also concerned about that Thursday night matchup. Thursday night football on the road has not been a good spot for the Bruins. Last year the Bruins were humiliated by Oregon and then humiliated themselves with an extra-ordinary sloppy performance against an injury riddled Washington Huskies team in Seattle. They were total nightmares. I am not sure what exactly UCLA gains from a Thursday night game against Arizona on the road. It seems like a recipe for yet another disaster with not a lot of upside.
We can only hope Rick Neuheisel will get our guys ready this off-season and have them prepared to rise above the challenge.