Monday, April 13, 2015

Quick Notes on 2015 BTN Night Game Schedule

Big Ten schedule

* Compared to previous years, no game times were set with today's schedule release.  My assumption is that these will be coming later in the spring, possibly at the time when the conference's early season television schedule is set.

* Two schools were not part of this schedule: Ohio St. and Purdue.  Purdue, a school without permanent lights, has maintained that they would prefer not to play any night games on BTN at this time as the schools are on the hook for the bill for temporary lights, where Ohio St. now has permanent lights and should be a top five team entering the year.  I would expect the Buckeyes to have at least one home night game on ABC or ESPN.

* A notable game that was not part of this release, but one that will be a night game: TCU at Minnesota on Thursday 9/3.  There are two reasons the game may not be part of this release:
  • BTN was trying to differentiate between non-Saturday and Saturday night games
  • The game is going to air on ESPN
In my opinion, I believe the game is going to be on ESPN with TCU potentially a top five team coming into the season.

* Usually BTN and ABC/ESPN try, when possible, to not have night games on the same date.  Last year there was one date where both sides had a night game (10/4/14).  There are currently seven Saturdays that do not have night games on BTN (9/5, 10/17 - 11/7, 11/21 & 11/28).

I would not expect a Big Ten night game on 9/5 nor on 11/28 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  If I were to guess six night games that they would select and not conflict with an existing BTN night game, here's what I think they'll pick up:

10/17: Penn St. at Ohio St.
10/24: Penn St. vs. Maryland (at M&T Bank Stadium)
10/31: Rutgers at Wisconsin
11/7: Rutgers at Michigan & Michigan St. at Nebraska
11/21: Michigan St. at Ohio St.

* Besides ABC/ESPN's night game schedule and the early season schedule, the Big Ten is unique that they also set their game times for homecoming games.  TV networks aren't necessarily set for the games, just the time.  Here are twelve of the fourteen homecoming games as I wasn't able to find homecoming dates for Maryland and Rutgers.

Ohio at Minnesota
Southern Miss at Nebraska
Kansas at Rutgers

Purdue at Michigan St.

Illinois at Iowa
Northwestern at Michigan
Maryland at Ohio St.
Indiana at Penn St.

Rutgers at Indiana
Iowa at Northwestern
Purdue at Wisconsin

Wisconsin at Illinois

Illinois at Purdue


Tony said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. Interesting thought about the TCU - Minnesota game.

Might ESPN want to bookend the 2015 opening weekend with the Top 2 teams on the road (2 TCU at Minnesota, 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech)?

Unknown said...

On 11/7 I think it's a slam dunk that Michigan St @ Nebraska would be the night game. Rutgers @ Michigan smells like noon all the way to me.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

Josh, I saw you had two similar comments, so I assume the other one doesn't need to be posted.

Re: Rutgers at Michigan - I looked at the two Saturdays that didn't have a night game on BTN in October & November, excluding OSU which I don't think will be at night. The other choice was Michigan St. and I figured that one, while it has a decent amount of appeal to it, I think it could fall into the same boat as OSU where Michigan could have concerns re: crowd control between the two fan bases. I'm not saying that one side or another is a bunch of troublemakers. Not at all. But I do know a concern re: a potential OSU game at night is an all-day tailgate and I'm playing it a bit safe and saying that UM may not want to deal with that when hosting MSU either.

Hope that makes some sense.