April 24, 2012
Park Ridge, Ill. – Big Ten institutions today released game times and television plans for 14 home football contests to appear in prime time on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or BTN during the 2012 season. Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio State lead the way with three night games each, while Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin each boast a pair of prime time matchups. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern will each take part in one night contest.
The Big Ten non-conference home schedule will be highlighted by eight prime time games, including one or two night games appearing on BTN at 8 p.m. ET in each of the first four weeks of the season. ESPN will kick off the 2012 campaign on August 31 at 8 p.m. ET with Boise State playing at Michigan State, while Indiana’s home opener with Indiana State on Sept. 1 will be broadcast by BTN. On Sept. 8, Northwestern will host Vanderbilt on BTN. Sept. 15 will feature a prime time triple header at 8 p.m. ET with the Spartans hosting Notre Dame on ABC, while BTN will broadcast the Utah State at Wisconsin and Ball State at Indiana games. BTN will produce double header on Sept. 22, with Syracuse at Minnesota and Louisiana Tech at Illinois playing in prime time to wrap up the final full weekend of non-conference action.
The conference schedule kicks off on Sept. 29 with reigning Big Ten Champion Wisconsin beginning its pursuit of a third straight conference title on the road against Nebraska at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The Badgers shared the 2010 Big Ten Championship with Michigan State before winning the title outright last year with a victory in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. Wisconsin is looking to join Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State as the fourth program in history to earn three straight Big Ten crowns.
Entering their second year of Big Ten competition, the Cornhuskers will take part in three prime time games on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Following the Wisconsin matchup on Sept. 29, Nebraska will play at Ohio State at 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 6 before hosting Michigan at 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 27. The Buckeyes will also compete in two prime time road games with matchups at Indiana on Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on BTN and at Penn State on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2. The Nittany Lions’ other night game will take place on Oct. 20, when BTN broadcasts the Penn State at Iowa game at 8 p.m. ET.
The Big Ten will hold the 2012 Football Media Days and 41st annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 26 and 27, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, featuring all 12 head coaches and some of the nation’s top returning players. The 117th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, August 30, when Minnesota plays at UNLV, before Michigan State hosts Boise State on Friday, August 31. The conference’s other 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 1.