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Clarification on Big Ten night game schedule

4/10/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It turns out Jay Paterno was right about no more Big Ten night games in November, but this isn't new ground for the league.

According to Mark Rudner, the Big Ten's associate commissioner for television administration, the Big Ten has a long-standing provision in its TV contracts that no November league games will be moved into prime time. 

"The only exception to this would be for games played indoors," Rudner wrote in an e-mail. "Minnesota's prime-time game in the Metrodome against Iowa to end the 2008 season appears to be the last such exception with the Golden Gophers now moving to their new open-air football stadium."

This means the Ohio State-Penn State game will kick off at either noon ET or 3:30 p.m. ET, almost certainly the latter. This undoubtedly will disappoint Penn State fans, who create one of the best night-time environments in all of sports at Beaver Stadium.

At least the game will end under the lights, just like the Penn State-Michigan State game last year.

I love night-time college football, and this policy takes the panache off of premier late-season Big Ten contests. Weather is clearly a concern, and most of the late-afternoon contests still have a great electricity to them. The Iowa-Penn State game on Nov. 8 and the 2006 Michigan-Ohio State game didn't lose any luster from kicking off at 3:30 p.m.