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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Badgers to open season on Thursday night

By Adam Rittenberg

You know my feelings about midweek football games -- love 'em, wish the Big Ten would do more -- so I'm pretty fired up about this.

Wisconsin made it official Thursday and announced it will open the season against UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 1. The game had been originally scheduled for Sept. 3.

Kickoff time and TV plans will be announced at a later date, but the game will take place under the lights.
"To be able to open up the college football season at home, in front of our tremendous fans at Camp Randall Stadium in a Thursday night game, something that has only been done here one other time, will be very special," head coach Bret Bielema said in a prepared statement. "It will be great national exposure for our program and a terrific way to kick off the 2011 season."

Couldn't agree more with the coach. Night football is great. Night football at Camp Randall Stadium is special, and this seems like a great way for Wisconsin to start the new season. Can you tell I'm lobbying to be sent to cover this game? Bristol, can you hear me?

Wisconsin last played a Thursday night home game in 2000 against Western Michigan, also the season opener.

The Big Ten is pretty rigid about maintaining a Saturday presence but allows some flexibility at the beginning and the end of seasons. Ohio State opened the 2010 season with a Thursday night home game against Marshall, while Minnesota traveled to Middle Tennessee the same night. Indiana hosted its 2009 opener on a Thursday night.

Good move. Hope to see more.