ESPN released its schedule of college lacrosse broadcasts today. One thing is clear: Variety isn't necessarily what the network is looking for in 2014. Of the 29 games that ESPN will broadcast before the start of the NCAA Tournament, 25 -- over 86 percent -- of those games will feature Johns Hopkins or an ACC team. This is as singular as a broadcast schedule can be without being considered state-run television.
From the press release (all rankings are from Face-Off Yearbook):
The regular-season starts Sunday, Feb. 9, with No. 7 Ohio State playing at No. 14 Johns Hopkins at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU. The lead announcing team of Eamon McAnaney, Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra will have the call of the game.
- The men’s schedule includes 12 teams ranked in the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook Top 20 and nine-of-16 teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championship.
- The schedule features four doubleheader Saturdays on ESPNU:•On March 15, No. 2 Syracuse at No. 14 Johns Hopkins at noon, followed by No. 3 North Carolina at No. 1 Duke at 2 p.m.
- No. 4 Notre Dame at No. 2 Syracuse at noon and No. 3 North Carolina at No. 14 Johns Hopkins at 2 p.m. on March 29.
- On April 5, No. 1 Duke at No. 4 Notre Dame at noon and No. 9 Virginia playing at No. 3 North Carolina at 3 p.m.
- No. 6 Maryland at No. 14 Johns Hopkins at 2 p.m., followed by No. 3 North Carolina at No. 2 Syracuse on April 12.
- A rematch of the 2013 NCAA Championship title game and the current top two teams in the nation – No. 2 Syracuse at No. 1 Duke – are set to square off on Sunday, March 23, at 12:30 p.m.
- ESPNU will have the entire ACC Lacrosse Championship from PPL Park in Chester, Pa., airing the semifinals on Friday, April 25, at 5 & 7:30 p.m. and the title game on Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m.
- In addition, ESPNU is the home to the America East and Ivy League title games on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, respectively.
Here's the full slate of games scheduled for ESPNU/3 broadcast:
|February 9||11:30 A.M.||Ohio State at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|February 15||4:00 P.M.||Towson at Johns Hopkins||ESPN3^|
|February 22||11:00 A.M.||Hofstra at Princeton||ESPNU|
|March 1||7:30 P.M.||Syracuse at Virginia||ESPN3@|
|March 7||5:30 P.M.||North Carolina at Princeton||ESPNU|
|March 15||12:00 P.M.||Syracuse at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|March 15||2:00 P.M.||North Carolina at Duke||ESPNU|
|March 16||5:00 P.M.||Virginia at Notre Dame||ESPNU|
|March 22||2:00 P.M.||Maryland at North Carolina||ESPNU|
|March 22||4:30 P.M.||Johns Hopkins at Virginia||ESPNU|
|March 23||12:30 P.M.||Syracuse at Duke||ESPNU|
|March 29||12:00 P.M.||Notre Dame at Syracuse||ESPNU|
|March 29||2:00 P.M.||North Carolina at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|March 30||12:00 P.M.||Virginia at Maryland||ESPNU|
|April 4||7:00 P.M.||Albany at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|April 5||12:00 P.M.||Duke at Notre Dame||ESPNU|
|April 5||3:00 P.M.||Virginia at North Carolina||ESPNU|
|April 8||7:30 P.M.||Lehigh at Princeton||ESPNU|
|April 11||6:00 P.M.||Duke at Virginia||ESPNU|
|April 12||2:00 P.M.||Maryland at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|April 12||6:00 P.M.||North Carolina at Syracuse||ESPNU|
|April 19||12:00 P.M.||Maryland at Notre Dame||ESPNU|
|April 23||7:00 P.M.||Villanova at Johns Hopkins||ESPNU|
|April 25||5:00 P.M.||ACC Tournament Semifinal I||ESPNU|
|April 25||7:30 P.M.||ACC Tournament Semifinal II||ESPNU|
|April 27||1:00 P.M.||ACC Tournament Championship||ESPNU|
|May 3||10:00 A.M.||America East Tournament Championship||ESPNU|
|May 3||12:00 P.M.||Army at Notre Dame||ESPNU|
|May 4||12:00 P.M.||Ivy League Tournament Championship||ESPNU|
^: Tape-delayed to February 16, 2014, at 11:00 A.M. on ESPNU.
@: Tape-delayed to March 2, 2014, at 9:00 A.M. on ESPNU.
Johns Hopkins -- fresh off of a season in which the Blue Jays missed the NCAA Tournament -- will appear eight times on ESPN networks this spring, the most scheduled appearances on the sports behemoth this year. Following Hopkins -- in terms of scheduled appearances -- are Virginia and North Carolina (six), Syracuse and Notre Dame (five), Duke and Maryland (four), Princeton (three), and Ohio State, Towson, Hofstra, Albany, Lehigh, Villanova, and Army (one).
The only regular season ACC conference games that ESPN will not televise are Maryland's trip to Syracuse, Duke's trip to Maryland, and Notre Dame's trip to North Carolina. Only one school -- Virginia -- will have every single one of its league games broadcast on ESPN. Contrastingly, only one school -- Maryland -- will have fewer than four ACC league dates televised on ESPN (and you thought the ACC's disappointment with Maryland for departing the league for the Big Ten in 2014-2015 was limited to restricting the Terps' football and basketball concerns).
Then there's this:
29 games will appear on ESPNU or ESPN3 this season. 46 appeared on one of ESPN's networks last year. That's a pretty steep drop (17 games).— College Crosse (@SexyTimeLax) January 17, 2014
So, anything in that schedule stick out as must-watch television? The comments are yours to discuss.