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October 31, 2007An Arizona State-Oregon game that could end up deciding the Pac-10 title and possibly a national-championship game participant didn't just catch football fans off-guard.
TV networks were just as stunned.
ESPN scrambled Monday for the rights to televise the top-five matchup nationally after it was scheduled only for broadcast in Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of southern California.
ABC/ESPN is required to pick prime-time Pac-10 games and league homecoming games before the season begins. The network chose UCLA at Arizona (the Wildcats' homecoming) and Oregon State at USC (a prime-time game) for this weekend. Fox Sports Net, which also holds rights to Pac-10 games, selected its prime-time game for the weekend (Washington State at California) before the season started, too.
Obviously, no one expected that Arizona State-Oregon would be such an important game.
So, six days before kickoff, ESPN reached an agreement with the Pac-10 and Fox Sports Net to televise the game nationally on ESPN. The move makes a key game in the Pac-10 race and national picture (not to mention Heisman campaigns for Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart) available for national consumption.
We sort out all the big games this weekend in the Five to Watch.
All times Eastern.
David Fox is a national college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.