The regular season-concluding Liberty-Coastal Carolina is getting national broadcast treatment from ESPN. Coastal Carolina announced Wednesday via its official website that the finale, originally scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21, is moving to Thursday, Nov. 19, to be showcased on ESPNNews.
From the official statement:
“We are thrilled to showcase one of the most important FCS games of the year on ESPNEWS,” said Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander. “We are grateful for the support of our long-time partner ESPN, and their recognition of the high quality of play in the Big South Conference. This game always has bearing on the Conference championship and postseason play, so it should be a tremendous night on national television.”
Considering this is a de facto Big South Conference championship game and key to FCS Playoffs positioning, Liberty-Coastal Carolina certainly deserves national exposure. The move to a national telecast is also another positive step in growing the Football Championship Subdivision.
ESPN has made two stops to Fargo to air College Gameday live from North Dakota State. The Bison are also featured in the Week Zero showcase game, which was introduced last year and is getting special treatment this year.
Of course, Mickey Mouse is also the puppeteer pulling the strings of college football, so you’ll have to excuse my conspiracy theorist alter-ego for interjecting. That this particular game is getting a national telecast immediately piqued me interest because, while both Liberty and Coastal Carolina are legitimate contenders for the FCS championship, they’re also rumored candidates for FBS membership.
Both have come up in the ongoing discussion of Sun Belt expansion. Coastal’s president went so far as to say CCU would accept a Sun Belt invite if it’s extended.
The Sun Belt is a broadcast partner of ESPN, modest as that alliance might be. I can’t help but wonder if the Liberty-Coastal Carolina telecast is a test-run to gauge the marketability of either program on TV.
Regardless, this should be an excellent game. Last year’s meeting, also the regular-season finale, was decided by just one point. In 2013, Joe Moglia’s high-powered offense outlasted Liberty in a 55-52 shootout.