Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten has released its 2009 TV schedule for prime-time football games, which features 14 contests during the first eight weeks of the season. As stated last week, the Big Ten has a policy preventing conference games from being played at night in November unless they take place indoors.
Here's the full rundown with TV for the games:
Sept. 3 (Thursday)
Eastern Kentucky at Indiana, 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Missouri vs. Illinois, 3:40 p.m. ET, ESPN
Northern Illinois at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Illinois State at Illinois, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Air Force at Minnesota, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
USC at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Iowa at Penn State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN
Notre Dame at Purdue, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN
Ohio State at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Michigan at Iowa, 8 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN
Illinois at Indiana, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Iowa at Michigan State, 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Michigan State at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Penn State at Northwestern, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2
My quick thoughts on the schedule:
Penn State fans undoubtedly will be disappointed with only one night game, as Beaver Stadium under the lights is one of the top home-field advantages in college football. The Lions will have several other games finish under darkness, including a road game at Northwestern and, most probably, a Nov. 7 home game against Ohio State.
Indiana has to be pleased with three prime-time TV games, including two at home, coming off a 3-9 season.
Iowa and Indiana have the most night-time appearances with three. Illinois plays two true night games and opens with an afternoon contest against Missouri on Sept. 5. Kinnick Stadium will be LOUD on Oct. 10.
Minnesota gets the benefit of two prime-time games at the new TCF Bank Stadium, but the opener against Air Force falls at the same time as Ohio State-USC. That's a bit of a tough break for the Gophers.
My favorite night games on this list are USC-Ohio State (duh), Iowa-Penn State, Michigan-Iowa, Iowa-Michigan State (brrr) and Michigan State-Minnesota (really brrr).