May 12, 2011
Big Ten institutions released game times and television plans today for seven home football contests to appear in prime time on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. This schedule includes games for each of the three teams that shared the conference title last season, the first night contest at Michigan Stadium and Nebraska’s first two Big Ten matchups. In all, six Big Ten schools will play in prime time on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, featuring games for Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin. Additional prime time contests to appear on the Big Ten Network will be announced at a later date.
The non-conference home schedule will hit prime time on the opening Thursday, as ESPN will kick off the 2011 campaign on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET with UNLV playing at Wisconsin. The Badgers shared the Big Ten title last season and advanced to their first Rose Bowl Game since 2000. On Sept. 10, Michigan will play under the lights at Michigan Stadium for the first time in school history when the Wolverines host Notre Dame at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. A few weeks later, Purdue will wrap up non-conference play against the Fighting Irish with an 8 p.m. ET game on Oct. 1 to appear on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
The Big Ten schedule begins on Oct. 1 and the newest member of the conference will open the season with a pair of prime time games at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Nebraska will play its first Big Ten contest on the road against Wisconsin on Oct. 1. The Cornhuskers and Badgers will meet for just the sixth time in program history, most recently when Wisconsin earned a 21-20 home victory in 1974. Nebraska will take part in its first Big Ten home game on Oct. 8 when it welcomes Ohio State, the program that has claimed at least a share of the last six conference titles. The Buckeyes will play their first game in Lincoln, Neb., and are 2-0 all-time against the Cornhuskers, including home triumphs in the 1955 and 1956 seasons.
The three teams that shared the 2010 Big Ten Championship will hit prime time in a pair of games at the end of October, both at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. On Oct. 22, Wisconsin will play at Michigan State, which earned a share of its first conference title since 1990 last season. On Oct. 29, the Badgers will hit the road again for a game at Ohio State.
The Big Ten will hold the 2011 Football Media Days and 40th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, 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 116th season of Big Ten football kicks off Thursday, Sept. 1, when Wisconsin hosts UNLV. The conference’s other 11 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 3.