The Pac-12 Network announced its first 16 broadcasts of the 2012 season on Thursday. This very early slate spans Weeks 1 through 3, and some of Week 4.
Two of Arizona's first three contests will appear on the new network: Sept. 8 vs. Oklahoma State, and Sept. 15 vs. South Carolina State.
The Week 3 match-up with SCSU is an unsurprising choice, joining other Pac-12 vs. Championship Subdivision contests pitting Arizona State vs. Northern Arizona; Northern Colorado at Utah; Nicholls State at Oregon State; Southern Utah at Cal; Sacramento State at Colorado; and Tennessee Tech at Oregon.
UA hosting Oklahoma State is more of a surprise as the one of only two contests featuring two Bowl Championship Series conference teams. The other is Stanford's meeting with lowly Duke that same week.
Given how the last two Wildcat-Cowboy meetings have gone though, perhaps TV brass is onto something. OSU blasted UA 36-10 in the 2010 Alamo Bowl, then nine months later handed the Wildcats a 37-14 shellacking on an ESPN broadcast, that felt more lopsided than its final score.
Cal has the most September appearances on the fledgling network. The Golden Bears appear there three times, including the only conference game announced thus far when Cal travels to USC on Sept. 22.
For UA, relegation to the Pac-12 Network for those two games is a vast departure from 2011. The Wildcats were on national TV three times in the season's first month. The change is to be expected coming off a 4-8 campaign.
But this is a huge win for Wildcat fans outside of the Grand Canyon State, who in years past faced struggles seeing such Tier 3 broadcasts. The Pac-12 Network is a key to the nearly $21 million per school split brokered in the conference's new multimedia deal. A game like the Week 3 pairing with SCSU in particular may have landed as a tape delayed FOX broadcast, or syndicated airing exclusive to Tucson.
The Pac-12 Network officially launches on Aug. 15. Viewers can find its availability here.