ESPN Opens College Football Season with Best Schedule of Any Network

ESPN opens the 2017 COLLEGE FOOTBALL season with the best schedule of any network, a five-day slate (Aug. 31- Sept. 4) featuring No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama, the Big Ten's best teams - including No. 1 Ohio State and No. 5 Penn State, the defending COLLEGE FOOTBALL Playoff National Champion No. 7 Clemson Tigers and top 25, non-conference showdowns: ACC vs. Big 12 and Big Ten vs. SEC. The opening weekend slate sets the table for ESPN's season schedule, which is loaded with high-stake games from all 10 FBS conferences.

"Our opening week schedule demonstrates ESPN's leading position in college football," said Nick Dawson, ESPN vice president of programming and acquisitions. "The marquee games and teams we air over Labor Day weekend begin a season-long campaign where ESPN will have the deepest schedule featuring the nation's best teams, all culminating with exclusive coverage of the COLLEGE FOOTBALL Playoff."

ABC's Saturday Night Football First Three Weeks
ABC's Saturday Night Football - 2016's most-watched COLLEGE FOOTBALL franchise on any network - begins 2017 with must-see matchups in the season's first three weeks featuring top-ranked blue bloods, including two straight non-conference top 10 matchups and one of college football's longest in-state rivalries.

The first 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama (Sept. 2 at 8 p.m.), the most-anticipated matchup of the season's opening week, opens the 12th season of ABC's Saturday Night Football. Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will host the game and bookend the COLLEGE FOOTBALL season as the brand new, state-of-the-art stadium will also host the 2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL Playoff National Championship game (Jan. 8 on ESPN).

In the season's second week, ABC's Saturday Night Football airs No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State (Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.) from Ohio Stadium, continuing ESPN's tradition of televising big games from the Big Ten. The Sooners-Buckeyes meet for just the fourth time ever, with Ohio State winning the last two matchups (1983, 2016). It will be Oklahoma's first trip to Columbus in 40 years, when the Sooners beat Ohio State 29-28.

In week 3, ABC's Saturday Night Football airs its first of many conference games, as the Seminoles host their longtime in-state, ACC rival, No. 15 Miami Hurricanes (Sept. 16 at 8 p.m.). This season's matchup will be the 62nd meeting all-time, with the Hurricanes holding a slight advantage in the series (31 wins, 30 losses). The Seminoles have won the last seven meetings.

"To me, FSU-Bama and OU-Ohio State are the two best non-conference games of the season and all three games will have immediate CFP implications," said ABC Saturday Night Football analyst Kirk Herbstreit. "Looking at this slate of games - and knowing what games Saturday Night Football could have in the following weeks - it has become the premier franchise in the sport. I am ready for the season to start yesterday."

ESPN/ABC's Week 1 Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug. 31 8 p.m. No. 1 Ohio State at Indiana ESPN
Fri, Sept. 1 9 p.m. Utah State at No. 11 Wisconsin ESPN
Sat, Sept. 2 Noon Akron at No. 5 Penn State ABC
Kent State at No. 7 Clemson ESPN
3 p.m. NC State vs. South Carolina from Charlotte ESPN
3:30 p.m. No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 21 Florida from Arlington, Texas ABC
6:15 p.m. Appalachian State at No. 13 Georgia ESPN
8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Alabama from Atlanta ABC
9:30 p.m. 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: BYU vs. No. 12 LSU from Houston ESPN
Sun, Sept. 3 2:30 p.m. 2017 MEAC/SWAC Challenge: South Carolina State at Southern ESPN2
7:30 p.m. No. 20 West Virginia vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech from Landover, Md. ABC
Mon, Sept. 4 8 p.m. 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech from Atlanta ESPN

ABC's Saturday Night Football: Week 2

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 9 7:30 p.m. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 1 Ohio State ABC

ABC's Saturday Night Football: Week 3

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sept. 16 8 p.m. No. 15 Miami at No. 2 Florida State ABC

Additional games for ESPN's networks weeks 0, 1, 2, and 3 schedule will be announced at a later date

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