Monday, May 2, 2016

Brief notes on 2016 Big Ten ESPN Primetime Selections

* If you haven't had a chance to see the seven games selected by ESPN for airing on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, here you go.  The start time for both Michigan road games (at Rutgers, at Iowa) will start at either 7pm or 8pm ET.  My assumption is that the 8pm start is for ABC with the 7pm start for either ESPN or ESPN2.

* Brett McMurphy passed along five games last week that would air on BTN at night.
I would assume that there will be a couple more.  Six schools were not featured in the ESPN list.  Of those six, two were part of McMurphy's tweet: Minnesota & Illinois.  This leaves the following schools yet to be accounted for: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan St. and Purdue.  While there isn't a stated promise to get every Big Ten school one conference controlled night game, I believe they do strive for that.  For example, in 2015, Purdue did not play a Big Ten controlled night game.  Neither did Illinois, though they were scheduled to play Kent St. on Friday 9/4 on BTN until Mother Nature intervened to the point that it had to be played on Saturday afternoon.

Purdue appears to have an aversion to hosting Big Ten primetime games on BTN, due to having to front the expenses for temporary lighting.  Games on ABC & ESPN are another story (no idea how that works with a potential new rightsholder in FOX Sports in future seasons).

Michigan St. faces Indiana in Bloomington and Purdue heads to College Park (Maryland's homecoming game, more on that in a moment), both on 10/1, which is one of the weeks ESPN did not select a Big Ten night game, so one of those games could be selected for BTN to air.  ESPN and BTN will occasionally air concurrent primetime games from the Big Ten, so there's a chance a selection could be made for one of the October weeks where ESPN has already selected a game.  Also, not listed in McMurphy's list is Furman at Michigan St., which seems like it would be destined for BTN.

While probably unlikely, a possible way to fill in those four schools on 9/24 and 10/1 to get each of them one night game:

9/2 - Furman at Michigan St.
9/24 - Wake Forest at Indiana
10/1 - Purdue at Maryland

* The Big Ten also sets aside its homecoming games and prefers to have the start times for those weekends set in advance of the season.  Those games are:

9/26 - Ohio at Minnesota
10/1 - Northwestern at Iowa, Illinois at Nebraska, Rutgers at Ohio St., Purdue at Maryland
10/8 - Maryland at Penn St.
10/15 -  Nebraska at Indiana, Iowa at Purdue, Northwestern at Michigan St., Illinois at Rutgers
10/22 - Indiana at Northwestern, Illinois at Michigan
10/29 - Minnesota at Illinois
11/12 - Illinois at Wisconsin

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