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Could UCF-Memphis Be on ABC Primetime?

Plus: Knights-Pirates gets lackluster rating

UCF vs East Carolina Football Photo by Conor Kvatek/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

With the UCF Knights coming off back-to-back wins on ABC with wins at Georgia Tech and East Carolina, could the Knights’ next road game at Memphis also end up on ABC? Better yet, could it be on in primetime?

If you look at the College Football slate on October 17th, there are some of better games on. Remember, no SEC games can air on ABC, as CBS owns rights to them. So games like Texas A&M at Mississippi State, LSU at Florida, and Kentucky at Tennessee will not air on ABC.

So what options do we have for games on ABC? Here is the list:

  • Pittsburgh at Miami
  • Oklahoma State at Baylor
  • UCF at Memphis.

Oklahoma State at Baylor is the only Big 12 game scheduled that Saturday for either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or FS1, since Fox has the MLB playoffs that day. If ABC ends up with the rights to the game, that will be the biggest threat to UCF-Memphis when it comes to the ABC primetime slot.

Regardless, UCF-Memphis should end up as an ABC game in some time slot, especially if both teams are undefeated going in - More on that later. But now the question is can, UCF-Memphis be the ABC’s primetime game slot?

I do not believe the Miami Hurricanes will be on ABC primetime on October 17th. The Hurricanes have already been on that slot twice with their wins at Louisville on September 19th and against Florida State on September 26. The Hurricanes’ game at Clemson on October 10th is also the ABC primetime game as that was announced on Monday, which is a no-brainer.

So I think Miami will end up with 3:30 p.m. on ABC on October 17th. Of course, if Miami pulls the upset at Clemson, they know Miami is a proven TV draw and they may feel they can compete with Georgia at Alabama, which will be the CBS primetime game.

Assuming UCF blows past Tulsa, Memphis has a big game at SMU on Saturday. The result of that game could have a role in the decision for what time the UCF-Memphis game will air. A Memphis win, and both teams will be ranked and undefeated going into October 17th. That could be attractive enough to put in primetime on ABC especially being a matchup of two teams that have won the last three AAC championships combined and are among favorites to win it again this season. IF Memphis loses to SMU, the game will possibly air at noon or 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

Another thing to keep an eye on is ESPN College GameDay. Right now GameDay I would bet on being at Georgia-Alabama game that morning. However Alabama has to host Texas A&M this Saturday and Georgia has a home game at Auburn. If Georgia or Alabama loses, that could put UCF-Memphis undefeated showdown in play for GameDay along with Oklahoma State-Baylor. It also could mean Chris Fowler & Kirk Herbstriet could end up scheduled to call UCF-Memphis.

So there’s a lot to follow this weekend, which could help determine the UCF-Memphis timeslot, with possibly a slot on primetime on ABC and the site for College GameDay that Saturday all at stake.

UCF-ECU TV Numbers Down on ABC

UCF’s 51-28 win on Saturday was watched by 998,000 viewers on ABC, according to ShowBuzzDaily.com. That is down from last year’s game in the same time slot between Wisconsin-Northwestern, which drew 3 million viewers. The game being a blowout did not help the TV numbers, as well as stiff competition from Big 12 and SEC openers with Kansas State’s upset win at Oklahoma getting 2.6 million viewers in the same timeslot on FOX, and Florida’s win at Ole Miss getting 2.665 million viewers on ESPN. Keep in mind that UCF-ECU was not supposed to be on ABC originally as it was replacing the Notre Dame-Wake Forest game which was postponed due to Notre Dame having positive test results for covid 19.

In comparison. UCF’s win at East Carolina in 2014 (“Hail Perriman”) that aired on Thursday, December 4th, 2014 was watched by 1.040 million viewers, which is most watched Knights-Pirates game to date.

One positive from the UCF win at East Carolina was the fact that the game ended up making the “Bad Beats” segment on Scott Van Pelt’s Monday Night SportsCenter, starting at 2:28 mark.

One year ago, UCF was on ESPN2 beating Connecticut, which drew 322,000 viewers. This Saturday, the Knights are scheduled to be on ESPN2 for the home opener against Tulsa at 7:30 p.m.