Sam Houston's 2011 season opener with Western Illinois and the Bearkats' annual "Battle of the Piney Woods' rivalry game with Stephen F. Austin will be two of the 11 football contests featured in regional telecasts on the Southland Conference Television Network this fall.

The league office announced the 2011 schedule for the network's football coverage Wednesday. This year's schedule includes 10 games on the Southland's network of affiliated television stations, plus an additional broadcast licensed exclusively for regional cable network Cox Sports Television.

"We're very pleased to announce another season of outstanding football broadcasts," Southland Conference commissioner Tom Burnett said. "The Southland Network has provided welcome and compelling programming over the last three years, and the "in-house" concept of our broadcast effort has been mimicked by other conferences as a unique and effective way to promote institutions and their student-athletes."

The network will open its broadcast schedule Thursday, Sept. 1, when Sam Houston State plays host to Western Illinois. The second telecast will be the Southland opener between Northwestern State and Nicholls State Sept. 24. Lamar, which rejoins the Southland for football in 2011, makes its debut on the network Oct. 1 when it visits Southeastern Louisiana.

"The Battle of the Piney Woods" between Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin played at Houston's Reliant Stadium Oct. 8 will be televised for the second consecutive year. The remainder of the Southland Network schedule will feature McNeese State at Central Arkansas Oct. 15, the first telecast on Central Arkansas' new multi-colored turf at Estes Stadium. The UCA at Lamar game Oct. 22 will also be featured on the Network, and the McNeese State at SFA tilt Oct. 29 will close out the month.

The Southland Network will televise three games in November, including Central Arkansas at Northwestern State Nov. 5. The final two regular-season Saturdays have been designated for "wild card" broadcasts based on how the Conference race is shaping up. The Nov. 12 game will be one of three possible matchups: Lamar at Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana at Stephen F. Austin or Northwestern State at Sam Houston State. The Nov. 19 contest will feature either McNeese State at Lamar or Stephen F. Austin at Northwestern State, the annual "Battle for Chief Caddo" rivalry game.

The Southland Network has given CST exclusive broadcast rights of the Thursday, Nov. 17 game between Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana, also known as the "River Bell Classic," set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The network will also televise the championship matches of the Southland Conference soccer and volleyball tournaments as part of its fall broadcast schedule. The soccer championship will be televised Sunday, Nov. 6 and the volleyball championship will be televised Sunday, Nov. 20.

A complete list of Southland Television Network affiliates will be announced prior to the season.

2011 Southland Conference Television Network Football Broadcast Schedule

Thu., Sept. 1

Western Illinois at Sam Houston State

6 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 24

Northwestern State at Nicholls State*

3 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 1

Lamar at Southeastern Louisiana*

3 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 8

Sam Houston State at Stephen F. Austin*#

2 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 15

McNeese State at Central Arkansas*

3 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 22

Central Arkansas at Lamar*

3 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 29

McNeese State at Stephen F. Austin*

3 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 5

Central Arkansas at Northwestern State*

3 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 12

Wild Card Game*

3 p.m.

Thu., Nov. 17

Nicholls State at Southeastern Louisiana*

7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 19

Wild Card Game*

3 p.m.

All times Central; schedule subject to change;
*Southland Conference Game
#Reliant Stadium, Houston
Wild Card games will be announced 7-10 days prior