In reply to: Syracuse could well be at night, too posted by ShermanOaksND
And the current contracts likely predated the existence of the Pac-12 Network, although the guarantee needs to be written into all future contracts.
As a practical matter, this won't be a concern. The top Pac-12 games are split between Fox and ABC/ESPN. There's no realistic chance of any ND game falling all the way to the Pac-12 Network, just like ND hasn't been and likely never will be relegated to the Big Ten Network. By comparison, the Air Force game was stuck on CBSSN because they had first dibs under the Mountain West TV contract.
CBS had the rights to the game, but for it to be on CBS proper, given the SEC deal, it had to be on at noon ET (impossible since the game was in Colorado) or prime time (which the game clearly was not worth).
"CBS proper" never was a realistic option. CBS has shown one or two AFA games (against Army or Navy) at noon ET (10 am MT), but ND never would've agreed to that. And there was an obvious motive to put as many attractive MW games on CBSSN as possible (e.g., USC at Hawaii) in order to boost their subscriber base. In fact, CBS showed no more than one regular season MW game last year (I think AFA at Navy), plus the conference championship game (at 10 pm ET).
The MW does have plenty of games on ESPN now, which wasn't the case under some prior contracts. But CBS/CBSSN still have first dibs on a certain number of games, and ND-AFA was undoubtedly at the top of their list. My main point was that this is essentially the opposite of the situation with the Pac-12, where the Pac-12 Network is below both Fox and ABC/ESPN on the pecking order.