The first of the primetime football game announcements have started to leak into the press. According to Brett McMurphy, Big Ten Network will air 5 primetime games in September.
.@BigTenNetwork primetime: 9-1 OregonSt at Minnesota; 9-3 FresnoSt at Nebraska; 9-10 UNC at Illinois, ISU at Iowa; 9-17 Duke at N’western— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 28, 2016
- Minnesota vs. Oregon State: Gophers/Beavers on BTN has to be the least shocking news in this tweet. Obviously the Gophers were going to kickoff in primetime given that the game is on a Thursday and the last season's records for both programs certainly didn't suggest ESPN was going to be interested in covering it. The only real way this game ended up on a four letter channel was if it showed up on ESPNU. Frankly, Minnesota fans are better off with the game on BTN.
- Illinois vs. UNC: Looking at the Week 2 slate of games, this one called out for BTN in primetime as well. It's a matchup between two Power 5 teams which is exactly the sort of thing that BTN looks for in a primetime matchup. Thankfully for them, one of those teams is Illinois which means ESPN/ABC aren't going to touch it.
The big surprise
- Iowa vs. Iowa State: Honestly? I sort of thought this was one of those games that always got played in the afternoon based on tradition or something. If I was an Iowa fan I'd be super excited they decided to move an intrastate rivalry game to primetime. This game hasn't been in true primetime in at least a decade (if ever). The 2013 game at Iowa State kicked off at 5pm, which sort of counts I guess? But that was also a road game for Iowa so I'm willing to ignore it. If I'm a member of the University of Iowa leadership or police I'm not looking forward to all of the drunken arrests though.
PRIMETIME ¡EL ASSICO! IS THE BEST ¡EL ASSICO!
- Nebraska vs. Fresno State: Yay? Happy for my friends in Lincoln with tickets I guess. Otherwise I know I'm not watching this one.
- Northestern vs. Duke: NERD FIGHT IN PRIMETIME. Yay.
What's next for primetime announcements?
If you're a fan of night games at TCF I'd get ready to hear that this is the only one Minnesota will host in 2016. Big Ten Network's plans for the rest of the year's primetime games should also hit the internet soon. You could possibly see the Gophers pick up another primetime game on BTN but I wouldn't expect it to be a home game (at Nebraska would be my guess). I expect that ESPN/ABC will announce their primetime slate in the next couple of weeks. Looking at Minnesota's schedule you can pretty much assume the Gophers won't be a part of that announcement.