CBS to air first two Mountain West football championship games

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comAugust 19, 2013 

CBS will televise the inaugural Mountain West football championship game on Dec. 7 and next year's title game. CBS holds an option for the 2015 game as well.

The 2013 game will kick off at 8 p.m. Mountain, making it the final game on college football's final full regular-season Saturday.

The Mountain West announced a multiyear contract with CBS on Monday. A kickoff time for the 2014 game will be set before the season begins. CBS' decision on picking up the 2015 game will be made by February of that year, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said.

Thompson alluded to the late kickoff during his remarks at the conference's annual media days in late July.

"We hope to have a 3.5-hour window that we’re trending towards right now, that we would play the game not against a lot of competition," Thompson said. "If we do decide to play it at night, it might be the last 30 minutes of football in the whole college regular season. The last taste is the second half of the Mountain West championship game. That’s one option."

Army and Navy will play a week after the title games.

The game will air after the Southeastern Conference championship game on CBS. The Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC are also scheduled to hold their championship games on Dec. 7. The SEC game will kick off at 2 p.m. Mountain on CBS. The Pac-12 game will kickoff at 5:45 p.m. or 6 p.m. Mountain on ESPN or ABC, according to the conference. The Big Ten game will kickoff at 6:17 p.m. Mountain on FOX.

"We're thrilled to extend our relationship with the Mountain West and broadcast their inaugural football championship game," Dan Weinberg, senior vice president of programming for CBS Sports, said in a release. "It's a great addition to our college football programming and we look forward to providing fans with a full day of championship coverage for many years."

Said Thompson in the release: "The new Mountain West football structure, which will culminate in an exciting match-up between two divisional champions, is one of many recent initiatives for the Conference as we enter our next era. We are pleased that CBS Sports will serve as a tremendous platform for this marquee event, providing an opportunity to showcase the caliber of Mountain West football."

The Mountain West is looking for a sponsor for the title game.

"Learfield is our rightsholder," Thompson said, "and they are very optimistic they can get a title sponsor for the game."

The Mountain West, which added San Jose State and Utah State on July 1, will have 12 football-playing schools for the first time in conference history. That allowed the league to divide into two six-team divisions (Mountain and West) and hold a championship game. The game will be played at the home stadium of the division winner that is ranked highest in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

Boise State is in the Mountain Division.

The title game could have Bowl Championship Series implications. Boise State is ranked No. 19 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls in the preseason.

CBS Sports Network is the Mountain West's primary television partner. It will air 23 games with Mountain West teams in 2013. CBS will air Air Force vs. Navy, in addition to the title game.

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