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Pac-12 announces early schedule

20h

You know the college football season is officially creeping closer through those lazy summer days when the conferences release early-season schedules, with times and broadcast slates. So, yeah, the news Monday from the Pac-12 felt pretty good.

Some highlights from the release (all times ET):

  • Sept. 3 (Thursday) Michigan at Utah, 8:30 p.m. Fox Sports 1

  • Sept. 4 (Friday) Washington at Boise State, 10:15 p.m. ESPN

  • Sept. 5 Virginia at UCLA, 12:30 p.m. Fox

  • Sept. 12: Oregon at Michigan State, 8 p.m. ABC

  • Sept. 19: California at Texas, 7:30 Fox

  • Oct. 17: USC at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. NBC

That first, extended weekend is pretty sweet, particularly when you look nationally (Louisville-Auburn, BYU-Nebraska, Notre Dame-Texas and Wisconsin-Alabama).

Pac-12 Networks will air 34 Pac-12 home games, while ESPN and Fox Sports will combine to televise 45 games from Pac-12 sites, including the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Good news with the championship game: It will be played on Saturday evening -- Dec. 5 on ESPN or ABC -- not Friday night.

Another interesting setup that might get mixed reviews: The Civil War and Apple Cup will be played on Friday, Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. They will kickoff at either 12:30 or 1 p.m. PT on Fox or Fox Sports 1.

Mark Helfrich just texted, inviting everyone to Thanksgiving dinner!

Also, the early-season schedule features four 11 a.m. games, a time slot the Pac-12 Network uses to distinguish really lousy nonconference games.

From the release: "While television selections for the first three weeks of the 2015 season have been made, as well as all Thursday and Friday games throughout the season, all remaining television game selections and start times, starting with week four (Saturday, September 26) and running through the final week of the regular season (Saturday, November 28) will be made 12- or six-days in advance."