Kickoffs set to start ESPN’s college football slate

With less than 100 days until the start of the college football season, the bulk of the September schedule has been finalized, as ESPN on Wednesday announced the dates and times for the first three weeks of the season along with the network’s bowl season schedule.

Week 1 begins Thursday, Aug. 31, with Florida at Utah (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) as the headliner and kicks off five straight days of games. The opening week runs through Labor Day and includes LSU facing Florida State in the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, Sept. 3 (7:30 p.m., ABC), and Clemson at Duke on Monday, Sept. 4 (8 p.m., ESPN).

Saturday, Sept. 2, will feature an emotional return for the Virginia football team, which will be playing its first game since the deaths of three teammates Nov. 13, 2022, in a campus shooting. Virginia, which canceled its final two games of the 2022 season as it mourned D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., will face Tennessee at Nissan Stadium in Nashville (noon, ABC).

As previously announced, Texas at Alabama (7 p.m., ESPN) on Sept. 9 will highlight Week 2. It will be their final game as nonconference opponents before the Longhorns and fellow Big 12 co-founder Oklahoma join the SEC in 2024. Last year, Alabama escaped Texas with a 20-19 win after a 33-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

Week 2 also includes Notre Dame at NC State (Noon, ABC) followed by Texas A&M at Miami (3:30 p.m., ABC). In Week 3, the Backyard Brawl between border rivals Pitt and West Virginia in Morgantown will be featured on Sept. 16 on ABC (7:30 p.m.).

ESPN wasn’t the only network this week revealing dates and times for marquee games, as CBS Sports on Tuesday announced its “SEC on CBS” broadcast windows. CBS will again broadcast the annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville, Florida, on Oct. 28. The final season of the SEC on CBS will debut Sept. 16 with South Carolina at defending national champion Georgia. The SEC TV package will move to ESPN in 2024.

The four-team CFP returns for Year 10, with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game set for 5 p.m. on Jan. 1 (ESPN), followed by the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl at 8:45 p.m. (ESPN). The College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T is also set for ESPN on Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The New Year’s Six bowls kick off Dec. 29 with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at 8 p.m. on ESPN. On Dec. 30, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is at noon followed by the Capital One Orange Bowl at 4 p.m., both on ESPN. New Year’s Day games on ESPN begin with the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl at 1 p.m.

ESPN will present the ACC, American, Big 12, MAC, Pac-12, Sun Belt and SWAC championship games the first weekend of December. The Pac-12 championship game will have the ABC spotlight on Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. The Big 12 championship game kicks off Championship Saturday action from Arlington, Texas, at noon, with the ACC championship game closing out the day at 8 p.m. from Charlotte, North Carolina.

ESPN platforms will also showcase Saturday’s championship play from the MAC (noon, ESPN), American (4 p.m., ABC or ESPN), Sun Belt (4 p.m., ABC or ESPN) and SWAC (4 p.m., ESPN2).

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