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Ohio State moves opener to Thursday

1/14/2010

I've always been a fan of midweek games, which allow teams to showcase themselves nationally for football-starved fans. The Big Ten, to a large extent, has really missed the boat on this movement, choosing instead to keep most of its games in the traditional Saturday structure.

I'm all for tradition, but I love having more games to watch (and cover) on different days of the week.

That's why it was nice to see Ohio State move its 2010 opener against Marshall from Saturday, Sept. 4, to Thursday, Sept. 2. It will mark Ohio State's first regular-season midweek home game since 1997, when the Buckeyes opened against Wyoming.

The kickoff time and TV plan will be announced at a later date, though the game will take place at night.

"This change to a Thursday night opener offers a number of positives for Ohio State," athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. "Summer quarter classes end the week before, so there will be minimal campus impact on students, faculty and staff that day.

"Along with providing maximum national exposure for our Rose Bowl champions, this unique starting date and time allows our team and fans to escape the heat of the day, and breaks up a string of four consecutive Saturday home games to start the season."

It also gives Ohio State two extra days to prepare for its premier nonconference matchup Sept. 11 against Miami at Ohio Stadium.

The Big Ten will have two teams playing on Sept. 2, as Minnesota opens its season at Middle Tennessee. So far, the league only has been willing to schedule midweek games at the beginning or the end of a season. While it would be nice to see some more midweek games sprinkled in, especially for the teams that could use national exposure, this is a good start.