The Big Ten Network announced their prime-time schedule today, which features 12 games. This brings the Big Ten’s total of prime-time games up to 18 as ABC/ESPN announced their schedule of the first six night games of the year for Big Ten teams. Historically, the Big Ten has never played prime-time games in the month of November; however, that rule has since been amended. Despite the change in rules, I would not expect to see any teams playing night games that late in the season as both networks have filled their prime-time slots for Big Ten teams.
A quick scan through the schedule brings some bad news for Wisconsin Badger fans. They are devoid of a home night game. Last season, the Badgers played two night games, one at home against current head coach Gary Andersen and his Utah State team and one in Lincoln against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This season, the team plays two prime-time games, the first of which comes on Sept. 28 when the Badgers travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on ABC or on the ESPN family of networks. The second of their two prime-time games comes three weeks later when the Badgers travel to Champaign, Illinois to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on the Big Ten Network.
With a fairly weak home schedule before November, which features only two Big Ten games and non-conference games against the Massachusetts Minutemen and Tennessee Tech, it is not too surprising that the Badgers do not get a home game under the lights this season. This is extremely disappointing regardless as the atmosphere at Camp Randall Stadium at night is truly electrifying. Some of the most memorable moments in recent vintage have occurred under the lights, most recently the Badgers’ thorough beat-down of Nebraska in their first ever Big Ten game in 2011.
While it is unfortunate that Badger fans will not get a chance to see them play at home in prime-time this season, they are one of eight teams to play multiple prime-time games in the Big Ten this season, giving a chance for both the whole fan-base and recruits to watch them play at night.