The Big Ten today announced its 2011 college football primetime lineup on the ESPN/ABC family of networks, and Penn State failed to make the cut for the first time in a while. The Nittany Lions will still get at least one night game on the Big Ten Network, but will not appear on any of ESPN's national TV networks.
Via Adam Rittenberg at the ESPN Big Ten Blog, here's the conference primetime schedule.
UNLV at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Notre Dame at Michigan, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Nebraska at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Notre Dame at Purdue, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Ohio State at Nebraska, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Wisconsin at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Wisconsin will play a whopping four night games across the family of networks. I can't remember the last time any Big Ten team played that many. Sort of seems like overkill to me, regardless of how well the Badgers played last season in winning the conference's Rose Bowl berth.
But hey, when you go 7-6 and don't have the darndest idea who your quarterback is going to be, this is what happens. Few inside the Penn State sphere are confident the Lions have their crap together heading into this football season, so why should those looking to please advertisers by delivering marquee football games?
The good news, if you're a night game kind of person, is that Penn State will still play a game at under the lights, and with Iowa, Nebraska and Alabama on the home schedule, there's a decent chance it'll be a big one. As you may have heard, FOX recently reeled in Gus Johnson from CBS and he's slated to announce two games for the Big Ten Network. Given the amount of night games the other schools are getting, the odds are pretty good the Big Ten will ensure he has a big game to work with by sending him to Happy Valley.
Of course, I'm just speculating, but there's still a chance everyone ends up happy in the end. And if they don't, well tough. This is what happens when you go 7-6.