|Fox College Football|
|Also known as||Big Noon Saturday|
College Football on Fox
CFB on Fox
BCS on Fox (2007–2010)
|Genre||College football game telecasts|
|Presented by||Gus Johnson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||19|
|Running time||210 minutes or until game ends|
|Production company||Fox Sports|
|Original network||Fox (1999–present)|
Fox Sports Networks (1999–2019)
Fox College Sports (2006–2019)
|Original release||January 1, 1999 –|
|Related shows||Big Noon Saturday|
Big Noon Kickoff
Fox College Football (or Fox CFB for short) is the branding used for broadcasts of NCAA Division I FBS college football games produced by Fox Sports, and broadcast primarily by Fox, FS1, and FS2.
Initial college football broadcasts on the Fox network were limited to selected bowl games, beginning with the Cotton Bowl Classic from 1999 to 2014. From 2007 to 2010, Fox broadcast the Bowl Championship Series (excluding games played at the Rose Bowl stadium, whose rights were held by ABC under a separate agreement), branded as the BCS on Fox.
In 2012, Fox began to air a regular schedule of Saturday college football games during the regular season. Fox primarily airs coverage of the Big Ten, Big 12, and Pac-12, and holds rights to the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games (with the latter alternating yearly with ESPN/ABC). Since 2020, Fox has aired games from the Mountain West Conference (including Boise State home games, and the Mountain West championship game). Fox also holds rights to the Holiday Bowl.
In order to better compete with national networks like ESPN, since its inception the Fox Sports Networks (FSN) has carried college football games from the then Pac-10 conference and Big 12 conference. These telecasts were distributed to individual Fox Sports Networks and other affiliates. In 2011 FSN added a package of Conference USA football games. Many of these games were aired exclusively, aired as a simulcast, or aired on tape delay on Fox College Sports.
Pac-12 games moved from FSN to Fox, FX and eventually FS1 in 2012. The C-USA left Fox Sports entirely in 2016. FSN affiliates continued to largely hold the third-tier rights to many Big 12 teams until 2020, when ESPN+ acquired the tier 3 media rights to all but two of the conference's members (with the only holdouts being the Oklahoma Sooners, who maintained their contract with Fox Sports Oklahoma, and the Texas Longhorns, who have a long-term deal with ESPN and IMG College to operate its Longhorn Network).
After the sale of FSN to Sinclair Broadcast Group as part of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox (and their subsequent rebranding as Bally Sports in 2021), production duties for FSN's Conference USA broadcasts were assumed by new sister network Stadium in 2020. The Atlantic Coast Conference's syndication package for regional sports networks—which are produced by Raycom Sports, had primarily been carried by FSN channels since 2011, were also retained by Bally Sports.
The Fox network acquired its first college football telecast in 1998, when it obtained the broadcast rights to the annual Cotton Bowl Classic held each January on (eventually, the day after) New Year's Day; the first game to be shown on the network as part of the deal was held on January 1, 1999. Fox renewed its contract to carry the game in 2010, in a four-year agreement that ran through the 2013 NCAA college football season.
Fox lost the rights to the Cotton Bowl to ESPN for the 2015 edition, as the cable network holds the television contract to all six bowl games that encompass the College Football Playoff system under a twelve-year deal worth over $7.3 billion. The Cotton Bowl was the only game among the six that was not already broadcast by ESPN.
From the 2006 through the 2009 seasons, Fox held the broadcast rights to most of the games comprising the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) – including the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl, as well as the BCS Championship Game. Fox paid close to $20 million per game for the rights to televise the BCS games. The network's contract with the BCS excluded any event in the series that was held at the Rose Bowl stadium, such as the Rose Bowl Game and the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, as ABC already had a separate arrangement with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association to serve as the broadcaster for the games.
ESPN, which is majority owned by ABC's corporate parent The Walt Disney Company and serves as the producer for all of ABC's sports coverage, would displace Fox outright as the broadcaster of the BCS beginning in the 2010–11 season. This left the Fox network with only the Cotton Bowl Classic as the sole college football game, to which it held the television rights until the 2013–14 season.
Beginning with the 2011 season, sister cable channel FX began airing a "game of the week" on Saturdays featuring matchups from the Big 12, Conference USA, and Pac-12. The Fox network also obtained the rights to air the Big Ten Conference's new football championship game beginning that season and running through 2016, as part of Fox Sports' partnership with the conference on the Big Ten Network. Fox also acquired bi-yearly rights to the inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship Game, alternating with ESPN/ABC.
Beginning with the 2012 season, Fox added regular season games on Saturdays to its lineup; it broadcast eight afternoon games and twelve nighttime games throughout the season, with the latter telecasts airing as part of a new strategy by the network to carry more sports programming on Saturday nights during prime time. FS1 replaced FX's coverage upon its launch in August 2013, though some overflow coverage has aired on FX occasionally when warranted; since 2017, overflow coverage has been carried on Fox Business Network, which usually carries paid programming on Saturday afternoons of little consequence to pre-emption.
Fox's coverage of the 2015 season opened with a game on FS1 featuring the Michigan Wolverines at the Utah Utes. As the first game featuring new head coach Jim Harbaugh, the season premiere was promoted with a touring "HarBus"—decorated with a sweater and khakis in imitation of Harbaugh's on-field wardrobe—travelling to Salt Lake City for the game, accompanied by a group of "HarBros" dressed like Harbaugh. The tour concluded at Salt Lake City's Grand America Hotel for game day; the bus itself was barred from entering the University of Utah's campus.
On July 12, 2016, the San Francisco 49ers announced that they had taken over the Foster Farms Bowl (now known as the Redbox Bowl), and had reached a four-year deal to move the game to Fox and Fox Deportes beginning in 2016. It was also reported by Sports Business Journal that Fox was pursuing a share of the Big Ten's primary football rights. Fox began streaming select college football games in 360-degree video for the 2016 season. The following year, FS1 also acquired rights to the Holiday Bowl, ending a long-standing relationship between the game and ESPN.
On July 24, 2017, the Big Ten Conference announced that Fox and ESPN had acquired rights to its games under a six-year deal beginning in the 2017 season. The contract also includes an extension of Fox's contract to operate Big Ten Network through 2032. The deal gives Fox the first choice of games on most weeks, including marquee games such as the Michigan/Ohio State game—which had been a fixture of ABC's college football schedule for over a half-decade. The game will remain in its traditional noon slot on the last day of the Big Ten's regular season.
Fox promoted its addition of Big Ten football with promotional campaigns focusing on each team; a Children of the Corn-themed commercial focusing on the Nebraska Cornhuskers was pulled after complaints by the school.
Prior to the 2019 season, Fox lost its rights to future Big 12 championship games to ESPN as part of an expansion of its rights to the conference. Fox declined to bid on the 2019, 2021, and 2023 games.
In the 2019 season, Fox introduced a new flagship Noon ET window known as Big Noon Saturday. The games are accompanied by a pre-game show, Big Noon Kickoff. A Fox executive stated that the network's highest-rated games were often those with a Noon kickoff, and that the network also wanted to avoid competition from other highly-viewed windows such as the SEC on CBS and ABC's Saturday Night Football. The new emphasis on early games proved successful: in the first weeks of the 2019 season, Fox had the highest-rated game in the timeslot on multiple occasions. This pattern continued into subsequent seasons, with Big Noon Saturday overtaking the SEC on CBS as having the highest average viewership in the 2021 season, and the Michigan/Ohio State game (which saw Michigan end an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry) being the highest-rated regular-season game of the 2021 season, and most-watched regular-season game since the Alabama–LSU game in 2019.
Due to the early kickoff times, the package has faced criticism for having undue impacts on teams not based in the Eastern Time Zone (ET), including from University of Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione (who felt that a Noon ET kickoff for a 2021 game against Nebraska, marking the 50th anniversary of their 1971 "Game of the Century", would diminish its profile), and Stanford head coach David Shaw (who, in particular, criticized Fox Sports for scheduling noon kickoffs involving visiting Pac-12 teams). In August 2021, University of Oklahoma president Joe Harroz cited criticism of Big Noon Saturday when discussing the Sooners' proposed move to the SEC, arguing that the Big 12 conference would be "last in line" in negotiating new media deals, and that "our fans talk about that. It also matters to student-athletes. When those who go before you, in terms of negotiations for 2025 and beyond, if those premiere slots are already taken up, it impacts things in a material way. It translates into disadvantages in recruiting the top talent, disadvantages for our student-athletes and a detriment to the fan experience."
On January 9, 2020, the Mountain West Conference announced that its next top-tier basketball and football contracts would be split between CBS Sports and Fox Sports under a six-year deal, with Fox replacing ESPN. Fox will hold rights to 23 games per-season, including the conference championship and all Boise State home games (since 2012, as part of concessions to remain in the conference, the Mountain West has allowed Boise State's home games to be sold as a separate package from the remainder of its media rights). CBS Sports Network will remain the main broadcaster for the conference outside of these games.
On August 18, 2022, Fox renewed its rights to the Big Ten under a seven-year deal beginning in the 2023 season. Under the new contract, Fox, CBS, and NBC will hold rights to Noon, 3:30 p.m. ET, and prime time games respectively. There will be a larger number of games on the Fox broadcast network, and an option to air "premier" Big Ten games in other timeslots after USC and UCLA move to the conference in 2024. Fox will air four Big Ten championship games in odd-numbered years over the length of the contract.
|Lead||Gus Johnson||Joel Klatt||Jenny Taft|
|Secondary||Tim Brando||Spencer Tillman|
Aaron Goldsmith (fill-in)
|Mark Helfrich (2020)
Brock Huard (2021)
All rankings are from that week's AP Poll, and that week's CFP rankings.
|Rank||Date||Matchup||Network||Viewers (millions)||TV Rating||Significance|
|1||November 27, 2021, 12:00 ET||#2 Ohio State||27||#5 Michigan||42||Fox||15.89||8.1||The Game|
|2||November 24, 2018, 12:00 ET||#4 Michigan||39||#10 Ohio State||62||13.20||7.5|
|3||November 30, 2019, 12:00 ET||#1 Ohio State||56||#13 Michigan||27||12.42||7.5|
|4||November 25, 2017, 12:00 ET||#9 Ohio State||31||Michigan||20||10.51||6.1|
|5||October 28, 2017, 3:30 ET||#2 Penn State||38||#6 Ohio State||39||9.87||5.8||Rivalry|
|6||November 23, 2019, 12:00 ET||#8 Penn State||17||#2 Ohio State||28||9.43||5.8|
|7||October 30, 2021, 12:00 ET||#6 Michigan||33||#8 Michigan State||37||9.29||5.1||Rivalry|
|8||September 11, 2021, 12:00 ET||#12 Oregon||35||#3 Ohio State||28||7.73||4.2|
|9||November 28, 2015, 7:30 ET||#6 Notre Dame||36||#9 Stanford||38||7.32||4.3||Legends Trophy|
|10||October 12, 2019, 12:00 ET||#6 Oklahoma||34||#11 Texas||27||7.25||4.5||Red River Showdown|
|Year||Conference||Matchup||Viewers (millions)||TV Ratings|
|2011||Big Ten||#15 Wisconsin||42||#11 Michigan State||39||7.8||4.6|
|2012||Big Ten||Wisconsin||70||#14 Nebraska||31||4.9||3.0|
|Pac-12||#17 UCLA||24||#8 Stanford||27|
|2013||Big Ten||#10 Michigan State||34||#2 Ohio State||24||13.90||7.9|
|2014||Big Ten||#13 Wisconsin||0||#5 Ohio State||59||6.13||3.5|
|Pac-12||#7 Arizona||13||#2 Oregon||51||6.00||3.7|
|2015||Big Ten||#5 Michigan State||16||#4 Iowa||13||9.8||5.7|
|2016||Big Ten||#7 Penn State||38||#6 Wisconsin||31||9.19||5.2|
|Pac-12||#8 Colorado||10||#4 Washington||41||5.67||3.4|
|2017||Big Ten||#8 Ohio State||27||#4 Wisconsin||21||12.92||7.3|
|Big 12||#11 TCU||17||#3 Oklahoma||41||5.90||3.8|
|2018||Big Ten||#21 Northwestern||24||#6 Ohio State||45||8.66||5.0|
|Pac-12||#17 Utah||3||#11 Washington||10||5.06||2.6|
|2019||Big Ten||#1 Ohio State||34||#8 Wisconsin||21||13.55||7.6|
|2020||Big Ten||#14 Northwestern||10||#4 Ohio State||22||8.03||4.6|
|Mountain West||Boise State||20||#24 San Jose State||34||1.42||0.9|
|2021||Big Ten||#2 Michigan||42||#13 Iowa||3||11.66||6.2|
|Mountain West||Utah State||46||#19 San Diego State||13||816K||0.5|
Further information: List of Fox Sports announcers § College_football