Unless you happen to be a Purdue fan, get out your calendars and markers as some additional times have been filled in on the Big Ten’s 2012 schedule.
The conference announced Tuesday that a total of 14 conference and nonconference games will be televised this season in primetime across the various ESPN network platforms (six) as well as the Big Ten Network (eight).
Leading the nighttime way for the conference are Nebraska, Ohio State and Indiana (?) with three primetime games apiece, followed by two each for Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern will each take part in one night contest, although the Wolverines’ season opener against defending BcS champion Alabama at Jerry’s World is all but a certainty to be televised under the lights. Additionally, the annual Michigan-Notre Dame game will be played at night — on NBC — in South Bend, although that game wasn’t included in the release.
As hinted above, the Boilermakers are the only Big Ten school that is not currently scheduled to play a night game.
One of the two Spartans’ night games will be the season opener vs. a Kellen Moore-less Boise State in East Lansing, televised on ESPN Aug. 31 at 8 ET. MSU’s other night game will be its annual rivalry game with Notre Dame.
“We’re excited about the prime-time match-up against Boise State in the season opener,” head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. “The Michigan State-Notre Dame rivalry is special, and those games routinely go down to the wire.
“The Spartan Stadium atmosphere is electric for night games, and recently, we’ve had some incredible finishes.”
As far as must-see TV is concerned, Oct. 27 is it hands down if you’re a fan of Big Ten football. That Saturday, Ohio State travels to Penn State for a 6 p.m. ET kickoff, while Nebraska hosts Michigan at 8 ET. Additionally, the MSU-Wisconsin rematch of both last season’s epic regular season game plus the conference’s first-ever title game will be played the same day, although it will inexplicably have a mid-afternoon start.
After hosting its first-ever game in the Big House that kicked off under the lights last season, the Wolverines will play both of its 2012 night games on the road, although, again, the neutral site opener against the Tide is already at least penciled in as a primetime affair.
Below is the complete list of Big Ten primetime games, as released by the conference:
Boise State at Michigan State
Indiana State at Indiana*
Vanderbilt at Northwestern*
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Utah State at Wisconsin*
Ball State at Indiana*
Syracuse at Minnesota*
Louisiana Tech at Illinois*
Wisconsin at Nebraska
Nebraska at Ohio State
Ohio State at Indiana*
Penn State at Iowa*
Ohio State at Penn State**
Michigan at Nebraska
(*televised on the Big Ten Network)
(**6 p.m. ET start; all other games will start at 8 p.m. ET)