Big Ten Announces Prime Time Games

Submitted by Brian on April 15th, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Press release, yo!

Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference office released the game times and television plans for 14 home football contests today to appear during prime time on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network. At least one Big Ten contest will be featured during prime time in the first two weeks of non-conference play and on the first six Saturdays of conference action. The prime-time schedule will include three games each for Illinois, Indiana and Iowa and a pair of outings each for Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State.

The non-conference home schedule will hit prime time with three contests the opening week of the year, beginning with a Thursday night matchup between Indiana and Eastern Kentucky to kick off the 2009 campaign on Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. Two prime-time tilts will be featured on the opening Saturday, Sept. 5, with Illinois facing Missouri at 3:40 p.m. ET on ESPN and Wisconsin hosting Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.

The second Saturday of non-conference play will be highlighted by a rematch between four-time defending Big Ten Champion Ohio State and USC, a game the Trojans won last year at home. The Buckeyes and Trojans will square off at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Big Ten Network will also feature a pair of contests to kick off at 7 p.m. ET the same night, including Illinois hosting Illinois State and Minnesota taking on Air Force in the first game at the Gophers’ new TCF Bank Stadium.

The Big Ten schedule begins on Saturday, Sept. 26, with Iowa hitting the road to face reigning Big Ten Champion Penn State, after the Nittany Lions shared last year’s title with Ohio State. The Iowa-Penn State contest will be played at 8 p.m. ET on ABC or ESPN. The conference’s final non-conference prime-time game will also take place that night when Purdue hosts Notre Dame at 8 p.m. ET on ABC or ESPN.

The month of October will feature six prime-time outings, including four games on the Big Ten Network, one contest on ABC or ESPN and another matchup on ESPN or ESPN2. The complete prime-time schedule for the 2009 campaign appears below.

The Big Ten will hold the 2009 Football Media Days and 38th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Monday and Tuesday, July 27-28, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, featuring all 11 head coaches and some of the conference’s top returning players. The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off beginning with every team in action on Sept. 3 or 5.


Sept. 3              Eastern Kentucky at INDIANA, 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Sept. 5              Missouri vs. ILLINOIS, 3:40 p.m. ET, ESPN

                        Northern Illinois at WISCONSIN, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Sept. 12            Illinois State at ILLINOIS, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

                        Air Force at MINNESOTA, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

                        USC at OHIO STATE, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Sept. 26            IOWA at PENN STATE, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN

                        Notre Dame at PURDUE, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN

Oct. 3               OHIO STATE at INDIANA, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Oct. 10             MICHIGAN at IOWA, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN

Oct. 17             ILLINOIS at INDIANA, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Oct. 24             IOWA at MICHIGAN STATE, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Oct. 31             MICHIGAN STATE at MINNESOTA, 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

                        PENN STATE at NORTHWESTERN, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2



April 15th, 2009 at 12:36 PM ^

I don't personally care whether or not Michigan plays a night home game, in fact if they played at least one in 2010 to showcase the new stadium, I would sell a kidney to be there. I understand the traditionalists that say we don't break with traditions at Michigan. Their other mantra is "Sit Down". I'm not young, nor am I old, so I can see the merits to both sides of the debate whether or not to play night games at Michigan Stadium.

I read a post on another site inwhich the author tried to say that a night game at Michigan Stadium would just increase the chances of a drunken student rampage through AA. I think this is opinion is nestled in the corners of the Bell Curve insomuch as assumes that the masses will still arrive at 7:30am for an 8pm game and consume 12 hours worth of beer and meat products. I don't think you can equate Michigan's fans with those of MSU or OSU with regads to rioting, couch burning or other nefarious acts. I have had the fortune of seeing many college football games across the country and Michigan does have some of the better fans and probably the most cerebral student section in the country. That being said, I doubt they even distill enough Yukon Jack to turn the average UM fan into some of the more raucous fans in the Big 11.

I think Michigan Football is at a crossroad insomuch as we seen as much change around the program than any other single time in the history of the program. New head coach, stadium renovations, a 3-9 season, 40K people at the Spring game, 20 guys on the team under 5'-8'', and all of the other changes I'm forgetting. A night game may just be another part of the evolution of Michigan football into a more modern football program. That is not to say you throw out 100 years of history or tradition, but you certainly can augment that history and tradition with new ones. I believe that a program that is not growing and adapting to the times is really slowly dying. You can always keep on eye on the future will keeping a foothold on the past. In fact, I would argue that during the late 60's Michigan was on the forefront of college football and some of the ideas and ways Don Canham used to make Michigan into a household name were very innovative for the times. Have we become so slave to our past that we forget that at our core we were the pioneers of modern college football?

If a couple of night games a year keeps RR from having to twitter blurbs about how rocking Journey is, then I am all for it with the clarification that it be done with some thought and salute to the past. For example, I would not be infavor of playing Notre Dame, MSU, or OSU at night, but I would think we could find a way to jazz up some less prominent games, such as Northwestern, Indiana, or one of the meh non conference games.


April 15th, 2009 at 1:34 PM ^

Nice Post.

I'd like a night game, only because it would be a new experience for this life long season ticket holder.

But, I dont really want them to be a regular occurence either. Once a year might even be too much. Agreed on the concept of enhancing one of the lesser foes on the slate....although all the times UM had to go to S.B. at night--0-3 all in heartbreaking fashion--I would not mind hosting those Jokers in Ann Arbor under the lights.

Anyway, hey, I got to ask Wolv54, did I meet you Saturday? I didn't catch anyone's actual user names!! I was told after the fact one of the somebodies there was you....if so, nice meeting you! And, uh, which one were you!?!?!


April 15th, 2009 at 1:56 PM ^

Wearing the short sleeves? I was told, at some point, you were ATL Blue!

Or, the big guy with the pony tail?

Regardless, it was cool meeting you, even if I couldn't remember who you were based on user name!


April 15th, 2009 at 6:11 PM ^

I was wearing short sleeves and a sleeve-less fleece jacket. Apparently, I did not review the entire weather forecast before leaving the south to trek up to the land of ice and snow. I have no ponytail as I shave my head bald and I'm from Atlanta, but I don't know who ATL Blue is; it ain't me. It was nice meeting you and the other guys too.


April 16th, 2009 at 11:47 AM ^

I agree 100%. +100

I understand the concerns about 100,000 + at night, but I think it can be done. A night game in 2010 would be a great way to showcase the new stadium! Plus those first 2 or 3 games are hot as hell, and I have got sick twice, even though I drank plenty of water. One thing though, I think having one for MSU, ND, Iowa, Wisky, or Penn St. would be sweet. It would give more advantage to us against a tougher opponent.


April 15th, 2009 at 3:49 PM ^

Maybe I'm off base here but these are just the night games that are scheduled as of now. Should say Michigan or OSU head to Happy Valley highly ranked and facing a highly ranked PSU team, I'd guess ABC/ESPN would be inclined to make that one of their saturday night games.


April 17th, 2009 at 12:43 AM ^

I don't understand this at all. I would love to see Mich/MSU or Mich/OSU as a night game. I love tailgating, drinking massive amounts of alcohol and eating as many brats as i can fit in my mouth as much as the next guy. I have to be honest though waking up at 7am on a Saturday is not my idea of a good weekend. What's the big deal about a night game between our rivals? I for one would love to see MICH destroy OSU on ESPN in prime time with the whole nation watching. Every year when the game is at noon I'm pumped for weeks talking shit to anyone i see wearing red and/or gray for weeks leading up to the game. I drink all night annually burn a teddy bear with some kind of osu insignia on it and usually fall asleep around 4 am usually in a drastic effort to get back to my bed (often fail). An 8pm primethime espn game would be awesome tailgating would be better, the game atmosphere would be crazy. Someone tell me white out night games at PSU don't look fucking crazy awesome rediculous. I went to a white out game a PSU 2 years ago and it was the best game in any sport I have ever been too. I'm sorry you are all conservative traditionalists there a new era of M fans, and night games for big games is inevitable. The MSU and OSU games should be played at night!