When the Big Ten Network released its primetime football schedule for 2013, it was nice to see that the network would be airing 12 games at night for the first time in network history.
Awesome news, right? I mean, who doesn’t enjoy night games? Fans get all day to enjoy their usual pregame “festivities.” The anticipation of kickoff builds with each passing hour. The teams seem a bit more focused. Everything about playing under the lights is special.
But for one Big Ten fan base, the magic of taking part in a primetime kickoff will not be happening next season. The Iowa Hawkeyes are the only member of the Big Ten Conference that will not take part in a night game this coming season, and it will be the first time Iowa will not be playing under the lights since 2008.
Needless to say, many folks around Iowa City are unhappy about this.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2012 season with the schools worst record (4-8) since 2000–Kirk Ferentz‘s second season as head coach–when Iowa ended up 3-9. I’m sure this fact–along with low expectations for the club in 2013–played a major role in the scheduling, but I can’t say that I agree with the Big Ten Network on this one.
The Big Ten Conference prides itself on equality amongst all members, so if this is the case, each school should partake in at least one primetime game on the network each season. It’s only fair, right? While I understand not much is expected out of the Hawkeyes in 2013, you can’t tell me that fact alone should have (if it was) been held against them.
The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off of a 4-8 (2-6 in the Big Ten) season from a year ago, and yet head coach Kevin Wilson and company will be playing three games in primetime on BTN. Expectations may be higher in Bloomington than in Iowa City for next fall, but you can’t tell me that the Hoosiers deserve three night games. No one cares about Indiana football. That’s not a knock on the Hoosiers. I actually think they may be a surprise team in the conference this year. But as far as “moving-the-meter” if national interest is concerned, the Hoosiers don’t hold a candle to the Hawkeyes—regardless of expectations.
Iowa fans have every right to be disappointed with the Big Ten Network’s primetime schedule. But, it is what it is. There is no point in worrying about something you can’t change, just focus on what you actually can control. I would venture a guess and say that as long as the Hawkeyes win football games in 2013, the fans won’t care if the games are played at 3:00 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. The point of the game is to win.
And winning cures all.