Another large list of game times were released today by the Big Ten, making you realize just how much longer we have to wait until the often anti-climatic week one. There are a couple pieces I'd like to cover, but we'll start with the updated Penn State schedule:
08/30 Coastal Carolina (noon) Big Ten Network
09/06 Oregon State (3:30pm) ABC
09/13 at Syracuse (3:30pm) ABC
09/20 Temple (noon) Big Ten Network
09/27 Illinois (8pm) ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
10/04 at Purdue (n/a) n/a
10/11 at Wisconsin (8pm) ESPN/ESPN2
10/18 Michigan (4:30pm) ESPN/ESPN2
10/25 at Ohio State (8pm) ABC/ESPN/ESPN2
11/08 at Iowa (n/a) n/a
11/15 Indiana (n/a) n/a
11/22 Michigan State (n/a) n/a
So Coastal Carolina and Temple will be played a noon...
by far my least favorite start time. The whole ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 thing is a bit moot because just about every household in America is getting all of those channels and they also (I believe) all broadcast in HD. While games on ABC appear to denote a higher level of popularity, I find that the game on any non-HD set looks pretty awful, perhaps because of the conversion through your local cable provider's distribution station (anyone who actually knows what they are talking about, feel free to explain this to us).
The BTN will also take at least one league game, meaning either Purdue, Iowa, Indiana or Michigan State will be on the Network. MSU is unlikely because of it possibly being Paterno's last stand. Being able to talk about his legacy/future during every huddle is not something the Disney networks are likely to pass on.
The rest of the BTN games are uneventful except for the "heated" Iowa-Iowa State game as well as the last college football game to be played in that Minneapolis basement known as the Metrodome (Iowa @ Minnesota).
Vegas is also slowing turning out some Week One odds, a stark reminder of how many bad match-ups we are going to have to sit through for the first four weeks or so. Coastal Carolina at Penn State is one of the highest I've seen (+37), although Chattanooga at Oklahoma is at a rather impressive +47.5. The only line released that indicate some type of competitive matchup involves the James Madison-Duke game, with the home team favored by two points. Ouch. Although I guess this makes a little more sense now.
Odds weren't released for every game, however, and there are quite a few I'm excited about. The Oregon State at Stanford game (actually a couple of days early: Thursday, August 28th) will be an interesting look at our first BCS opponent. Hawaii at Florida probably won't be much of a game but will be watchable for storyline reasons (it is a 2,550 mile flight from the island to LA, then another 2,400 to Gainsville). App State at LSU falls into a similar category. Southern Cal at Virginia is a game between two power conferences and a good preview for this year's Game Of The Century: OSU @ USC.
The most interesting non-PSU game appears to be either Utah at Michigan or Illinois vs Missouri in St. Louis. The former will be our first hint at whether RichRod will be able to hold it together during his transition year (this is probably a win-win for us 3rd party spectators). The latter is definitely the best pure matchup of the day and will give us an idea as to whether the Mendenhalless-Illini will be able to make any noise nationally.
All of these games will obvious get their due attention here at BSD as the season inches closer; this is just a reminder that football is in fact on the way. A 47 point blowout in Norman is still football, and I take a comfort in that.