The Big Ten announced six prime time football games that will be aired on the Big Ten Network this fall today. This coupled with an earlier six games announced by ESPN/ABC last weekend will be the majority of the night games in the Big Ten this season. However, this list does not include games that the Big Ten does not control such as road games, and a few other notable games that will still be announced.
What games are those you ask? Well in the initial press release and article that ESPN's Big Ten blog wrote, both the Gophers' Thursday night opener against Eastern Illinois, and Michigan State's Friday night opener against Jacksonville State were both listed as being Big Ten Network Prime Time games. Suddenly, they aren't listed any longer and are back to TBA status? I'm guessing both will end up being BTN aired games anyways, but interesting that they were initially listed and now are not. As of right now, five Big Ten schools do not have a prime time game this season on ABC/ESPN or BTN. They are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Purdue. As stated, this will most likely change as the Gopher's Thursday night opener will be aired on BTN...its just a matter of when it is announced. Again, this list also does not include games that the Big Ten has no control of, so while Wisconsin will play LSU Saturday August 31st in Houston at 8 Pm on ESPN, because it is not a Big Ten controlled game, it is not on this list.
The other major surprise, or maybe it shouldn't be after all, is that the Big Ten's two new teams, Rutgers and Maryland are getting the red carpet rolled out for them when it comes to prime time televised games. Rutgers gets two home prime time games to show the bright lights of Piscataway I guess, and Maryland will host the latest Big Ten night game ever when the Spartans come to College Park on November 15th. As you can read here, the Michigan State media is not pleased with that development.
Ahh yes. November Big Ten night games. This is a thing now. While they just dip their big toe in with two November games, the aforementioned MSU/Maryland game on November 15th, and Illinois at Ohio State on November 1st, you can expect more to come if these go well. As Adam Rittenberg puts in in the ESPN Big Ten Blog story on the games, one reason for not a full onslaught of Big Ten night games is the heavy emphasis on divisional games late in November, and the Big Ten not wanting anything to go off-kilter in games that can determine who will be playing for the Big Ten Championship in a few weeks. Will this change in the future? Only time will tell.
So here is the list of as of now scheduled Big Ten games to be aired on ABC/ESPN and the BTN so far. Also after each game will be a .gif reaction shot of how we feel about that game being a prime time game, and not relegated to an 11 am kickoff like plenty of Gopher games will undoubtedly be once again. So with no further adieu:
September 6th: Virginia Tech At Ohio State- ESPN
Not too bad, but would have been even better circa 2003.
September 13th: Penn State at Rutgers- BTN
The first ever Big Ten game for the Scarlet Knights.
September 20: Miami at Nebraska-ESPN/ABC/ESPN2
Arguably the best game of them all, and for sure the best not involving two Big Ten Teams.
September 27th: Cincinnati at Ohio State-BTN
The Battle for Ohio football supremacy. Ok I guess.
September 27th: Illinois at Nebraska- BTN
Nebraska is decent, Illinois....not so much.
October 4: Michigan at Rutgers-BTN
It has already been named Rutgers' annual Blackout game.
October 4: Nebraska at Michigan State- ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
This may be our winner. And a Gopher bye week. Yais!
October 11: Penn State at Michigan-ESPN/ESPN2
Another quality offering. Doing good ESPN.
October 18: Nebraska at Northwestern-BTN
These two schools have played some epics lately. Could we see another?
October 25: Ohio State at Penn State- ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
Another potential good game. Urban vs Franklin. Probable White Out.
November 1: Illinois at Ohio State-ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
Well....it was a nice run ESPN. Then you go and do this.
November 15: Michigan State at Maryland-BTN
And we end with this. Ew. Just no.
So that's it. What do you guys think about the prime time tv games? Go ahead and comment below. Here's my final grade: