Northwestern says no to Sunday game

DESTIN, Fla. -- Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson and school officials had signed off on a request by ESPN to move the season opener against Northwestern to Sunday afternoon (Sept. 5), which would have given both teams the national spotlight.

But Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald didn't want to do it, meaning the game will remain on Saturday.

A Northwestern official told ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg that Fitzgerald's reasoning was that he didn't want to create a short week for his team on the opening weekend and have to travel back on Sunday night. Northwestern has Illinois State at home that following weekend, while Vanderbilt has LSU at home.

Northwestern was OK with playing on Thursday night or Friday night the previous week, but didn't want to go over into Sunday to play the game.