If you remember, it was about a year ago when it leaked out that the Big Ten would begin to play a few football games a year on Friday nights. Several of the big schools (OSU, Michigan, etc) have equivocally come out and say no way no how are we playing on Friday. However, the vast majority of the schools including Minnesota have not come out that strongly. Thus, we get what happened Friday. The Big Ten announced that the Gophers game against the Indiana Hoosiers originally scheduled for Saturday October 29, 2018 has been moved back to Friday night October 28th at TCF Bank Stadium.
One of Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle’s main concerns about playing on Friday night is the overlap with high school football. Luckily, it appears that intentionally or not the Big Ten and Minnesota have found a time that will have minimal impact on the Minnesota High School Football schedule. If the MSHSL schedule stays on the same schedule as 2017 as it is expected to do, Friday the 28th falls on the first week of the state high school playoffs in Minnesota. However, the Minnesota playoff set up has the majority of the states teams in Class 5A and below playing their first game on Tuesday of that week with the Section semi-finals being played on Saturday. Only the 6A class is scheduled to play their sectional quarterfinals on that date, but with the over a year notice its very possible that a majority of those games could be moved to Saturday as well.
With a year notice, hopefully Gopher fans can plan on taking that Friday afternoon off to tailgate/bargate and enjoy a night game on what can be a beautiful time of year. Only three days before Halloween means Goldy’s costume game will be on point, and the students should be ready to have a good time.
The date change also means a national TV broadcast on either FS1 or BTN most likely. You will still have your regular season NHL and NBA conflicts, but the game falls on the travel date between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series so you won’t have that to worry about. It will be another great opportunity for the nation to see PJ Fleck and the Gophers Row the Boat.
All in all, yeah it kind of sucks that Big Ten games are being played on Friday’s...but this is about the best Friday the Gophers could play next season and it really could be a pretty good time.