CBS College Sports Network will kick off its first full Saturday of college football coverage on Sept. 12 with a quadruple-header.
Beginning at noon (ET), Duke will visit Army, followed by Louisiana Tech at Navy at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday night, CBS College Sports Network will present Kansas at UTEP at 7:30 p.m., with Oregon State-UNLV, the nightcap at 11 p.m.
All told, the network, which has already aired a trio of contests, has a 43-game slate for 2009, with all of its contests presented in high-definition for the first time. It features such top Mountain West Conference and C-USA teams as No. 18 Utah (preseason rankings), No. 17 TCU and No. 24 BYU and the University of Houston. There are also games involving University of Virginia and Louisville in the mix.
Executive vice president and general manager Steve Herbst calls this year's offering "our best and deepest lineup yet."
Through a new five-year pact with the Army Athletic Association, CBS College will televise five Army contests, as well as Navy home games and several Air Force (via its Mountain West affiliation) tilts as it positions itself as the home of service academy football.
That will be capped with an" Armed Forces Appreciation Day" on Oct. 10, when it airs Vanderbilt at Army at noon (ET), Navy at Rice at 3 p.m. and TCU at Air Force at 7:30 p.m.
CBS College is eyeing an original project for Oct. 9 to key the action on the field the following day. The network is developing a Day in the Life, a documentary chronicling service academy-student athletes and how their routines differ significantly from their counterparts at other schools.
The network has also bolstered its announce team, adding veteran play-by-play man Dave Ryan and former USC and New York Giants defensive back Jason Sehorn to the call the Army action.
For his part, CBS Sports's Randy Cross will call the Navy games, and serve as an analyst on CBS College's Inside College Football preview show, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
That will be the lead-out from The Tony Barnhart Show at 9 p.m., when "Mr. College Football" hosts the one-hour talk show, with a hand from CBS College Sports studio analyst Brian Jones. Barnhart's first guests on Sept. 8: USC and Ohio State coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Tressel, and Utah Sen. Orin Hatch, a proponent for changing the Bowl Championship Series format.
This campaign marks Barnhart's 33rd year covering college football. Last year, he stepped down from his full-time position at the Atlanta Journal Constitution after 24 years, but continues to write his blog, "Mr. College Football on ajc.com. He has been a contributor on College Football Today, CBS's studio show, since 2004, alongside Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman.
"Tony has such a great understanding of the college game; he's a real expert with great sources," said Herbst. "His show is going to be fun and hard-hitting. It adds more credibility to what we do."
Former San Diego State and NFL defensive tackle Akbar Gbaja-Biamila -- whose name means "big man come save me," according to Herbst -- will work as the game analyst for various Mountain West Conference and Conference USA games.
On Saturdays, former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer, who will also serve as studio analyst on the network's various college football shows, will be on hand for CBS College's presentation of the SEC Tailgate show and SEC Post-Game Show Presented By Geico that will flank its broadcast brethren's SEC Game of the Week.
On the distribution front, CBS College has expanded its base in Houston via an upgrade to Comcast's Digital Preferred level of service from the operator's sports tier. At this juncture, the network plans to air at least five Rice and University of Houston games this season, starting with Tulsa visiting the former on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m.
Roll all the new elements together and Herbst believes CBS College Sports is going to enjoy a strong football season.
"The studio programs, returning from hiatus, are coming back strong, and with our game schedule and original programming like Day in the Life, it rounds out schedule nicely," he said.
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