After the 2014 ESPN/ABC primetime college football TV slate was announced last week without mention of Wisconsin, Tuesday brought further exclusion with the release of the Big Ten's selection of night games. The Badgers are one of five teams without a conference primetime game along with Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Purdue.
Remember, Wisconsin does have its Aug. 30 season-opener vs. LSU scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN. Alas, the remainder of the season seems destined to be filled with early kickoffs, including those grumble-inducing "where are the students" 11 a.m. game times.
Ohio State and Nebraska lead the conference with four primetime games apiece, across all networks. The Buckeyes in particular luck out, with three of those night games coming in Columbus. Penn State has three primetime games, while Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois all have two apiece.
Wisconsin's exclusion from the primetime slate is certainly confounding, and taking into account Iowa's similar position, it seems as though the weak (on paper) West Division is hurting UW. This lengthy piece from ESPN's Big Ten blog notes that Wisconsin best home games, Nebraska and Minnesota, both fall in the second half of November and the "bad weather" was possibly/probably a deterrent. But come on, if you were to pick three Big Ten schools and fanbases capable of handling inclement weather at a football team, it'd be this trio, right?
Here's the full BTN primetime slate, with ESPN's below.
Saturday, Sept. 13
8 ET - Penn State at Rutgers.
Saturday, Sept. 27
6 ET - Cincinnati at Ohio State.
9 ET - Illinois at Nebraska.
Saturday, Oct. 4
6 ET - Michigan at Rutgers.
Saturday, Oct. 18
7:30 ET - Nebraska at Northwestern.
Saturday, Nov. 15
8 ET - Michigan State at Maryland.
Virginia Tech at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Miami at Nebraska, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Nebraska at Michigan State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Penn State at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2
Ohio State at Penn State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2
Illinois at Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, ABC or ESPN or ESPN2