Earlier this month, the Big Ten Network announced its slate of Big Ten night games in 2015. Now, we have the ABC/ESPN family of networks' choices for prime-time kickoffs.
It includes seven games at league stadiums this fall. The exact network will be announced at a later date for six of the games; TCU-Minnesota will be on ESPN.
Here is the list (all times ET):
TCU at Minnesota, 9 p.m.
Oregon at Michigan State, 8 p.m.
Penn State at Ohio State, 8 p.m.
Ohio State at Rutgers, 8 p.m.
Michigan at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Michigan State at Nebraska, 7 or 8 p.m.
Minnesota at Ohio State, 7 or 8 p.m.
The Nov. 21 game between Michigan State and Ohio State is conspicuously absent. But the Buckeyes are playing under the lights four times this year, including their opener on Labor Day at Virginia Tech. Ohio State also will be playing at night in three straight games from Oct. 17 through Nov. 7 (the Buckeyes are off on Oct. 31). So it's understandable why the school might have had its fill of prime time for the year.
This schedule shows Minnesota's raised profile nationally. The Thursday night opener against TCU, which is likely to start the year ranked No. 2, should be quite an event. Michigan also will be a night game at TCF Bank Stadium, while the Gophers go the 'Shoe a week later in prime time. And Minnesota-Iowa is at night this year. A couple of upsets on these stages would do wonders for the program.
Speaking of Minnesota-Ohio State, the night of Nov. 7 could be outstanding with Michigan State also visiting Nebraska in the prime-time window. The Spartans' Week 2 showdown against Oregon was a no-brainer for a night kickoff and it should be epic.
No night games at Michigan this year, which isn't a surprise. Wisconsin is absent, other than a BTN game against Hawaii early in the year. No ESPN/ABC night games at Beaver Stadium, either, though Rutgers is playing at Penn State in prime time on BTN on Sept. 19.
All in all, there will be three November night games in the Big Ten this season. It's a welcome change and the league could probably stand to do even more.