Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Some Thoughts on Big Ten Football Fridays

First, you need to read Teddy Greenstein's report, which has statements from a handful of schools regarding their willingness to play on Fridays.  Wisconsin has also revealed its desire to only host on the Friday before Labor Day, and not every time.  Michigan St. has hosted their Labor Day weekend opener on Friday nights four times since 2011 and Illinois's opener vs. Kent St. in 2015 was originally a Friday night games before being moved to the next day due to poor weather.

As we know, September and October are the desired months, which does make me wonder if Nebraska vs. Iowa, played on the Friday after Thanksgiving the past several years and scheduled for Black Friday again in 2017, is part of the six games in the report though it has not been a night game.  That might alleviate some of the angst over the report.

Ohio St. at Indiana was scheduled as the season opener for both schools on Saturday 9/2 and might be worth a move, as it falls in line with AD Gene Smith comment of being amenable to Friday night road games when class is not in session (actually class is in session, they'll be willing to host only when on break during fall semester).  Michigan St. is actually off that week and won't open their season until the following Saturday.  Two games on Friday 9/1/17 will air on BTN and another on (nope, no BTN) FS1 or ESPN.  Remember that ESPN has a few neutral site games that they air plus US Open tennis on ESPN2 on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, so their space is a bit limited.

Won't bother to guess the network, but I get the feeling this request could be more in line with the needs of FS1, though the games in October could be for BTN as FS1's schedule could be fluid due to the needs of the MLB postseason.  FS1 still has a lot of commitments to the Pac-12 and Big 12, though the requirements for FS1 games from the Big 12 are a lot lower than they are for the Pac-12.  FOX also wants to keep UFC after the current rights deal expires and FS1 airs a lot of UFC programming on Saturday nights through 2018.  FS1 also has MLB on Saturdays through September, which also takes up valuable programming space.

Why isn't November in scope?  Besides high school football playoffs in most states, heading back to FS1, they also have NASCAR Truck Series races three Friday nights in November, plus one Friday in September.  ESPN is also limited due to the start of NBA play plus college basketball.

Another quirk of sorts:  There's less non-conference games to choose from with the conference going to a nine game conference schedule starting in 2016 and generally, less weeks to choose them from.

I'll take a terrible stab at the six games, assuming that Nebraska vs. Iowa isn't part of this.

9/1: Ohio St. at Indiana
9/1: Buffalo at Minnesota (this one, per FBSchedules.com, is already scheduled for Thursday 8/31)
9/8: Western Kentucky at Illinois
9/8: Towson at Maryland
10/6: Penn St. at Northwestern
10/21: Purdue at Rutgers

11 comments:

daniel anderson said...

I wonder if FOX could schedule some of the NASCAR Truck Series races for the early evening(e.g. 5 or 5:30) followed by CFB.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

I think its less likely. Remember that these events include practice and qualifying sessions for both of NASCAR's other stock car series, plus the truck series typically runs their qualifying session right before they race. One of these events is also in Phoenix, which is two hours behind Eastern Time at that point in the year.

Serge said...

Matt, please check a post on BTN's site (sorry, no link at hand)... According to it, these six Friday games are all in primetime during Sept/Oct and destined to air on ESPN/FOX nets (no BTN though)... 3 conference and 3 non-conference... Also, 2 of these games will be on Labor Day Friday...

Those are the reported facts... Speculation from me is these games will be split 3+3 between FS1 and ESPN(2), with a slim chance a good matchup might slip onto Big FOX in early October (to alleviate possible MLB playoffs conflicts on FS1).

All in all, good move by B1G to open up its scheduling options (albeit slightly)... I wonder if this is what Comm. Delaney was talking about RE: more primetime games... I still expect ABC/Big FOX to split the top games every Saturday next fall, one at 3:30/4p and the other in primetime, alternating... I also expect 2 Black Friday games each season (noon, 3:30), one for each partner...

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Thanks. I did read it and glossed over the part about none being on BTN. Will edit above & provide link.

Chucky said...

The academic calendar that you linked to is actually from Oregon State.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Thanks Chucky. Have fixed it, which puts the Ohio St. at Indiana game out of reach.

Just batting 1.000 with this post.

Darrell McKown said...

Seems like this is more helpful to FOX than ESPN (and indirectly the Big 12). ESPN is losing about 30 B1G games next season, so they should have plenty of space. FOX, on the other hand, has to create space for 28 games (25 B1G games and the three Big 12 games currently on championship weekend). Seems like FOX can add about ten games by opening a mid-afternoon window on the broadcast network, but FS1 is pretty full with their various commitments. I suspect they don't want to push UFC to FS2, so the default is going to have to be several more Big 12 games on FSN (or maybe FS2 is they can and want to do that).

nufan said...

Penn State @ Northwestern on 10/6/2017 is Northwestern's Homecoming, so that's likely out for Friday: http://www.alumni.northwestern.edu/s/1479/02-naa/naa/naa-interior-2.aspx?sid=1479&gid=2&pgid=21164

Bowling Green @ Northwestern slated for 9/16/2017 could be a good candidate. It happens before classes start during Northwestern's New Student Week (they typically bring the entire freshman class into the game that happens at the end of that week).

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Depends. That one would move to same night as NASCAR truck race from Chicagoland, which might take out FS1 as TV option. ESPN still available though.

agentofamour said...

Televising race car drivers "practicing" is such a stupid waste of time and resources. Is that the best that they can come up with to fill air time?

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Seems to draw reasonably well. At times better than actual games, depending on the racing series.